F-1 Students

Optical Practical Training

If you are an F-1 student who will be completing a program of study, you may be eligible for 12 months of Optional Practical Training (OPT). OPT is employment related to your major field of study prior to or shortly after graduating.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is responsible for granting authorization for OPT. You are eligible for 12 months of OPT for each higher education level you complete. For example, you are eligible for 12 months of OPT after completing a bachelor's degree, and then for another 12 months of OPT after completing a master's degree. If your major field of study is in a science, technology, engineering, or a mathematics (STEM) field, you may be eligible for an extension of OPT. Earning a degree from KSI will qualify students for a 17-month extension of OPT.

Eligibility Criteria for OPT

  • You are currently in F-1 status.
  • You have been enrolled in a full course of study for one academic year (three quarters, including final exams weeks) or will complete one academic year by the date the OPT approval begins.
  • You have not exceeded 12 months of full-time Curricular Practical Training (CPT) authorization. (Part-time CPT does not affect OPT eligibility.)
  • You do not need a job offer first; you can apply for OPT without a job offer.

OPT authorization that begins after completion of your academic program is called “post-completion” OPT. This is the most common type of OPT. Post-completion OPT is full-time, and it can begin:

  • after you complete your degree or exchange program
  • after you complete all course requirements for your degree, excluding thesis or equivalent

While approved for OPT, you are still in F-1 status and must report address changes and employment information to the Administrative Office.

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