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Optional Practical Training (OPT)

Optional Practical Training is designed to provide you with an opportunity to gain actual employment experience in your chosen profession for a maximum of one year (12 months). Its purpose is to "round of" or complement your academic work. If you have completed any optional practical training prior to completion of studies, this time will be deducted from the maximum of 12 months allowed. Less than 12 months of full-time curricular practical training does not deduct OPT time. Please discuss this topic with an International Student Advisor if the difference is not clear to you.

  1. Must be in F-1 status for at least (9) months of continuous full time enrollment
  2. Must directly related to student's field of study
  3. Must have filed the Petition to Graduate, and must have approval from their academic department before applying
  4. Must be processed between 90 days before graduation and 60 days after graduation, keeping in mind it takes 90 days to process and the last day to start working is 60 days after graduation
  5. Must be authorized by the Center for International Studies and Programs
  6. Only one OPT may be used at each degree level
  7. 1 year of full-time CPT will cancel your OPT opportunity
  1. Review the Eligibility Requirements
  2. You must have filed the Petition to Graduate with Records Office
  3. Fill out the forms and gather evidence for the OPT Application Guide
  4. Turn packet into CISP
  5. Retrieve packet and new I-20 working five days latter
  6. Mail the OPT packet to USCIS
Note: you must keep up your health insurance while on OPT


Send to The Center for International Studies and Programs a validation report every six months (even if there has been no change) starting from the date the STEM extension starts and ending when your F-1 status ends or the STEM extension ends, whichever is first. The validation report must include your:

  1. Full legal name
  2. SEVIS ID number
  3. Current local address in the U.S.
  4. Name and address of the current employer
  5. Date you began working for the current employer
  6. The I-983
    1. Status of current employment/practical training experience
    2. Beginning a new practical training opportunity with a new employer during the 24-month extension
    3. Any time there is a "material change" in the terms and conditions of the original I-983
    4. End of employment
Please send this report in an email to including “24-Month STEM OPT Extension Validation Report” in the subject line.

*Additional items for STEM 24 month Extension:
  • Copy of Transcripts or degree
  • Copy of EAD card
  • Copy of I-797 notice of OPT approval
  • Form I-983
  • QQuestion 17 is the E-Verify information and must be completely filled in
NOTE: If you need a Social Security Number, please apply for a social security letter at the same time.


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