Optional Practical Training (OPT) is a period during which undergraduate and graduate students with F-1 status who have completed or have been pursuing their degrees for more than nine months are permitted by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to work for at most one year on a student visa without needing to acquire a work H-1B visa towards getting a practical training to complement their field of studies. F-1 students are permitted a total of 12 months towards practical training, on being certified by the advisor of the usefulness of the work towards goals of the degree, which can be distributed between Curricular Practical Training (CPT) and OPT. M-1 students are also permitted to engage in post-completion OPT. They are entitled to one month of training for every four months of study, with a maximum length of six months.
On April 4, 2008, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) released an interim final rule extending the period of OPT from 12 to 29 months for qualified F-1 non-immigrant students. The extension will be available to students who are employed by businesses enrolled in the E-Verify program or that make use of valid work permits and social security. E-Verify is a free internet-based system operated by USCIS in partnership with the Social Security Administration which determines a new employee's eligibility to work. To be eligible for the 12-month permit, any degree in any field of studies and for the 17-month OPT extension, a... Read More