Optional Practical Training (OPT)

What is OPT?

Optional Practical Training (OPT) is one type of work permission available for eligible F-1 students. It allows students to get real-world work experience related to their field of study.

  • Any work under OPT must be directly related to the student’s major.
  • OPT is not tied to degree program requirements.
  • Once used, OPT is only available again at a higher degree level. For example, if you use OPT for a master’s degree, you may get OPT again if you enroll in a doctoral degree. However, you do not get OPT again if you enroll in another master’s degree or lower level.
  • While on OPT, you will remain in F-1 status.
  • There are three types of OPT, each with its own eligibility and reporting requirements: (1) Pre-Completion OPT, (2) Post-Completion OPT, and (3) STEM OPT Extension.