We serve immigration clients nationwide. Contact Us to schedule a consultation with one of our lawyers today.

How the Optional Practical Training Program Can Help Foreign Students Get A Job

How the Optional Practical Training Program Can Help Foreign Students Get A Job

The Optional Practical Training (OPT) Program allows noncitizens who are in the United States on an F-1 student visa to work in the U.S. for up to three years if they meet eligibility requirements. OPT offers temporary employment to qualified international students with F-1 student visa status who are enrolled in or completing a degree program in the United States. International students in the OPT program can apply for up to 12 months of OPT employment authorization before completing their academic studies and/or after completing their academic studies.

F-1 Student Visa
F visas are non-immigrant student visas that allow international students to pursue grammar school, high school, college and other educational and training programs in the United States. F-1 students must maintain a full course of study to maintain eligibility.

Many international students want to gain U.S. work experience to help them get a job in the United States after graduation.

OPT Eligibility Requirements

Pre-completion OPT allows international students to hold a job while they are still enrolled in school and allows them to work part-time while classes are in session and full-time during school breaks.

Post-completion OPT allows students to work part-time or full-time after graduation.

• Both recent graduates and current international students are eligible for OPT programs.

• International students with F-1 status must have completed at least one academic year of full-time studies at a college, university, conservatory or seminary in the United States.

• International students do not need to have a job offer to apply for OPT.

• OPT applicants must meet all documentation requirements and deadlines, including filin. Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization and Form I‑20, Certification of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status with USCIS.

• OPT applicants need to pay all applicable fees, including a USCIS filing fee, a biometrics fee and any fees imposed by their college or university.

STEM OPT Extension

International students who have earned a degree in some science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields can apply for a 24-month extension of their post-completion OPT employment authorization if:

• they are an F-1 student who received a STEM degree included on the approved STEM Designated Degree Program List

• they are employed by an employer who is enrolled in and is using E-Verify

• they received an initial grant of post-completion OPT employment authorization based on their STEM degree

A student visa immigration attorney can help you apply for an F-1 student visa and to attend a school with a degree program that qualifies for the Optional Practical Training Program, and avoid the simple mistakes or missed deadlines that can lead to your application being denied.

Contact an Experienced  Cook or DuPage County Student Visa Attorney

It can be confusing for international students to apply and receive their student visas in a timely manner to attend their course of study. Mario Godoy and the other experienced immigration attorneys at the Godoy Law Office can assess your situation and advise you on your best options to apply for a student visa. Call today at 630-912-0322.  

Lead Counsel Rated
Illinois State Bar Association
American Immigration Lawyers Association