Optional Practical Training
OPT can be authorized at the following times:
- During the student's annual vacation and at other times when school is not in session if the student is currently enrolled and eligible, and intends to register for the next term or session;
- While school is in session, provided that it does not exceed 20 hours per week while school is in session;
- After completion of all course requirements for the degree, excluding thesis or equivalent, if the student is in a bachelor's, master's or doctoral degree program; or
- After completion f the course of study.
Eligibility Requirements for Optional Practical Training
- have been enrolled full-time for at least one academic year;
- have not previously used your full 12-month OPT benefit;
- have not completed your program of study.
- Enrollment for at least one full academic year - 2 semesters
- Employment must be in the student's area of study
OPT before completion of the course of study:
- If the student still has coursework remaining - will only be authorized to work 20 hours per week while school is in session
OPT after completion of the course of study:
- OPT after completion of the course of study will only be granted for full-time use. The Department of Homeland Security has published new regulations regarding OPT and the H-1B Cap Gap
Applying for OPT
The OPT application processing is a lengthy two-step process which can take as much as 90 days! To be sure of having your Employment Authorization Document (EAD) ready so that you can begin to work on the EAD start date. OPT must be requested prior to the completion of the program of study. The application packet is mailed to each graduating student approximately 30 before the end of the semester.
YOU WILL HAVE 30 DAYS TO COMPLETE AND RETURN THE PACKET TO THE INTERNATIONAL STUDENT OFFICE (ISO), ROOM 1H06. ONCE THE APPLICATION COMPLETED IT WILL BE MAILED TO THE FOLLOWING ADDRESS:
Dept. of Homeland Security
USCIS Vermont Service Center
75 Lower Welden Street
St. Albans, VT 05479-0001