Eligibility for Training-Related Employment in the U.S.

Optional Practical Training (standard post-completion 12-month)

Optional Practical Training (OPT) is defined in the regulations as “temporary employment for practical training directly related to the student’s major area of study.” The period of training is 12 months, beginning immediately after graduation.

  1. OPT filing deadlines: An I-765 form can be filed up to 90 days before the program end date and up to 60 days after the program end date.
  2. To obtain OPT, a student must be employed at least 20 hours per week, but may be employed full time. Employment must be in the student’s area of study.
  3. Work can begin only after receiving the Employment Authorization Document (EAD card) and on or after the start date on the EAD.
  4. The student is responsible for informing the educational institution of name, personal address, and employer name and address changes within 10 days of the change.
  5. 60 days after completion of the full course of study, or OPT, the student’s “duration of status” will end. The student must depart from the United States within 60 days.

U.S. Government Contacts

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)

Customer Service: 800-375-5283 or visit U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.
Local Office: USCIS Field Office, 2901 Metro Dr., Ste 100, Bloomington, MN 55425

Bureau of Consular Affairs (U.S. Department of State)

For information on passports, visas and international travel, visit the Bureau of Consular Affairs.

Back to Top