Practical Training for International Students
Practical training is an opportunity for international students to obtain real-world work experience working for an U.S. employer. It is also a great opportunity to apply knowledge and skills students learned in school. Optional practical training (OPT) must be related to the student's major area of study and requires at least nine months being in F-1 status. OPT is available in the following instance:
After Completion of the Degree
A maximum of 12 months of OPT can be authorized for the entire duration of a student's F-1 status, no matter how many degrees are completed. In other words, if a student engages in 12 months of practical training after getting a Master's degree, he/she will not be eligible for any after completion of a Ph.D. program.
Students should remember that once OPT is granted, it cannot be recaptured even if the student decided not to use it or is unable to find a training opportunity.
If you plan to travel outside the United States during your practical training, you will need a valid passport and visa to re-enter along with your Employment Authorization Document (EAD) and your I-20 (which must be endorsed for re-entry by the Registrar).
Students in F-1 Status may work up to twenty hours per week on-campus during the academic year (or during summer sessions if registered for a course). Students may work full-time on campus during the summer or vacation periods if they were full-time students the previous semester, intend to register as full-time students the following semester, and are not enrolled in courses. Full-time on-campus employment authorization for students may only be obtained by engaging in optional practical training (F-1).