Post-Completion Optional Practical Training (OPT)

Optional Practical Training (OPT) is a benefit of the F-1 visa for temporary employment authorization granted by United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). An F-1 student may be authorized up to a total of 12 months of full-time practical training after completing each level of education (i.e., you may have 12 months of OPT at the bachelor’s level and another 12 months of OPT at the master’s level).


  • You must have been enrolled on a full-time basis for one full academic year.
  • Your OPT employment must relate to your major. While on F-1 OPT, the work you will perform must directly relate to your major area of study.
  • No previous OPT at the same academic level.
  • Master’s and Ph.D. students may define program completion as the day when all coursework is completed. Students may apply for post-completion OPT if all they have is thesis or dissertation remaining. However, students must complete their degree requirements within the 12 month OPT period.  If this is the case, you should ensure your employer knows that you are still working towards finishing your thesis, and might need to travel back to campus.
  • Be in good academic standing with the university
  • Have a valid passport
  • Have not had more than 12-months of full-time CPT
  • Be physically present in the U.S., in F-1 status at the time of application

When and How to Apply

Employment, Study and Reporting Requirements

Travel During OPT

Obtaining or Renewing a Driver's License

OPT is Ending