OPT (Optional Practical Training)

OPT is Optional Practical Training, a U.S.-government authorized period of employment in the U.S. This is an opportunity for F-1 students to gain real world work experience in the U.S. in a job that directly relates to their studies. For most F-1 students, it is done after graduation. The student must apply to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) using Form I-765 to be authorized. Since the authorization process takes two to three months, the ideal time to apply is prior to graduation. If approved, the student will receive an employment authorization document (EAD). The maximum amount of time granted to work on F-1 OPT status is 12 months per degree level.

The Office of International Affairs offers two workshops each year to walk students through the entire OPT process. These are generally in the second week of September and the last week of January. Email notifications are sent to all students who have applied for graduation.

We also have an online course in Canvas about OPT. Students who have applied for graduation are automatically added. If you wish to be added to the course, please email Sarah Stevens at sstevens2@una.edu.

Frequently Asked Questions

Filling out Form I-765

Other Application Documents and Next Steps

General Questions

Read this webpage for help with common questions: Frequently Asked Questions

Initial OPT