This page discuss the 12-month OPT work authorization. For information about the 24-month STEM extension of OPT, click here or select STEM OPT Extension on the side navigation to the left (not available on mobile).
Most F-1 students use Optional Practical Training (OPT)
to work after graduation. This is a benefit of F-1 status that allows you to work for up to 12 months. Even if you don’t have a job offer yet, you can still apply for OPT. You may only work within the dates on your OPT EAD card.
The two most common types of post-completion OPT are:
- 12-month OPT based on Graduation: Apply for this type if you plan to graduate this semester and want to start working after graduation
- 12-month OPT based on Completion of Coursework: Apply for this if you're a thesis or dissertation student and want to start OPT before you graduate.
- All required coursework (minus research credits) must be completed.
- You must have an updated degree plan that shows you have enough credits to graduate.
- You must have a defense date set (it is okay if this date changes later).
- If you are currently doing CPT, ISSS cannot process the OPT until your CPT is done.
It's possible to do pre-completion OPT as well, but Curricular Practical Training (CPT)
is usually the better option. Make sure you are not eligible for CPT before attempting to apply for pre-completion OPT.