Post-Completion Optional Practical Training

Optional Practical Training (OPT) is temporary employment authorization under an F-1 visa granted by United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). An F-1 student may be authorized for up to 12 months of full-time practical training after completing each level of education—for example, 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 PhD students may define program completion as the day when all coursework is completed. Students may apply for post-completion OPT if all that remains is their thesis or dissertation. However, students must complete their degree requirements within the 12-month OPT period. If you are still working toward finishing all your degree requirements, be sure your employer knows you might need to travel back to campus.
  • You must be in good academic standing with the University.
  • You must have a valid passport.
  • You have not had more than 12 months of full-time Curricular Practical Training (CPT).
  • You are physically present in the US and in F-1 status at the time of application.

You Need to Know