OPT Overview

Optional Practical Training (OPT) is a benefit of the F-1 visa that allows international students the opportunity to work for one year* in the United States, most often following graduation.  Students must apply for Optional Practical Training.  The International Programs Team is here to guide you through the application process.

*The following resources pertain only to the standard Post-Completion OPT program.  If you are inquiring about pre-completion OPT contact [email protected]

Spring 2021 OPT Filing Dates

Steps for OPT Application

Confirm your eligibility with our OPT Eligibility Checklist.

You may submit an OPT Recommendation Request to the International Programs Office as early as 90 days before your program end date.  OPT recommendation requests require academic advisor review.

All OPT applicants must schedule an OPT Advising Appointment with a DSO.  At this advising appointment, advisors will discuss the following:

  • Student's OPT recommendation request
  • USCIS OPT application requirements
  • Requirements for maintaining status while on OPT
  • OPT Application timeline
  • LC State Career and Employment services

Prepare all required materials for the USCIS OPT application.

While not required, the International Programs Offices highly recommends meeting with a DSO for a final review of your completed application materials.  Our International Advisors will help proofread and organize your complete application.

Submit your completed application packet and fee to USCIS.  Application wait times vary between 3 weeks and 4-5 months.  We recommend submitting early.

We suggest using the time during which your application is pending for conducting a job search.  Our team of career advisors in the Student Employment and Career Center will help you connect with local, regional, and national employers.