International Services

 

Optional Practical Training

Optional practical training 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.

While a Designated School Official (DSO) recommends OPT in SEVIS, it is the student who must apply for the work permit with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS). If the OPT is approved, USCIS will issue an Employment Authorization Document (EAD). The student must not begin working before the start date on the EAD. This employment option allows students to get real-world work experience directly related to the individual’s major area of study listed on the form I-20. Students are eligible to receive 12 months for each higher education level of study; i.e. bachelors, masters, PhD.

What is Optional Practical Training?

  • Type of temporary work permission available for eligible F-1 students
  • Ability to get real-world work experience directly related to the individual’s program of study listed on the form I-20
  • 12 months available for each higher education level of study; i.e. bachelors, masters, ph.d.
  • Requested by the student and authorized by USCIS.

Eligibility Requirements

  • Standard OPT is available for a cumulative maximum of 12 months per educational level
  • Full-time OPT is deducted from the 12-month cumulative limit at the full-time rate;
  • Part-time pre-completion OPT is deducted from the 12-month cumulative limit at a 50% rate.
  • Full-time employment can be requested for pre-completion OPT during official school breaks, and for students who have completed all requirements for their degree except for thesis or dissertation.
  • A 24-month extension of post-completion is available to certain STEM degree recipients.
  • Student must have been lawfully enrolled full-time for one full academic year before being eligible for OPT
  • Students in English language training programs are not eligible for OPT
  • No offer of employment is required for standard OPT
  • Offer of employment from a registered E-Verify Employer is required for STEM OPT Extension
  • For standard post-completion OPT and STEM OPT, a student must be adequately employed to avoid limits on unemployment
  • Prior use of full-time Curricular Practical Training for one year of more eliminates eligibility for OPT

Employment  Categories

  • Regular paid employment in a position directly related to the student’s program of study consisting of at least 20 hours per week.
  • Students may work for multiple employers, as long as it is directly related to the student’s program of study.
  • Payment by multiple short-term multiple employers.
  • Work for hire. This is also commonly referred to as 1099 employment where an individual performs a  service based on a contractual relationship rather than an employment relationship
  • Self-employed business owner.  The student should be able to prove the proper business licenses and is actively engaged in a business related to his or her degree program.
  • Employment through an agency.
  • Volunteers or unpaid interns: Students may work as volunteers or unpaid interns, where this practice does not violate any labor laws. The work should be at least 20 hours per week for students on post-completion

Application Process

  • Attend a workshop on how to file the form I-765
  • Familiarize yourself with the instructions and use of the form
  • Request letter of completion from the academic department
  • Request DSO endorsed OPT I-20 from eCampus Portal
  • Gather all previous CPT and OPT authorizations
  • Obtain 2 USCIS approved photo per requirements
  • Obtain appropriate payment in the form of check or money order
  • Complete I-765 USCIS application per requirements
  • It is the student’s responsibility to file the I-765 OPT application directly with USCIS. International Services recommends students file this process with USCIS 90 days prior to the program completion date
  • USCIS is responsible for the review and adjudication of the application and all correspondence will be between the USCIS and Student
  • Once approved and the student receives the Employment Authorization Document EAD, the student may begin employment and report all required information to the Portal
  • Work can begin only after receiving EAD issued by USCIS, and on or after the start date on the EAD
  • Special rules govern applications for the STEM OPT extension

Filing for OPT: Additional Information

» STUDY in the STATES, Optional Practical Training
» U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, I-765 Application for Employment Authorization
» STUDY in the STATES, OPT Student Reporting Requirements
» How To File the I-765 Application for Employment

Already Filed for OPT: Additional Information

» Check your Case Status Here
» Check Processing Times with USCIS Here
» SEVP Portal / Student and Exchange Visitor Program Portal
» SEVP Portal Help

 

For further information, please contact:

International Services
p – 516.877.4990
e – is@adelphi.edu

 
 
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