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What Is Optional Practical Training?

1
Question:
My cousin is here on an F-1 Student Visa and will graduate this summer. His program offers optional practical training. Do you know anything about this? What is optional practical training? Is this like a permanent employment status?
Answer:
Optional Practical Training (OPT) is temporary employment directly related to a student’s major area of study. Students are authorized to receive up to 12 months of practical training. But the maximum period of OPT was extended from 12 months to 29 months for F-1 Students who have completed a science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM) degree and accept employment with employers enrolled in U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services‘ (USCIS) E-Verify employment verification program.
  • Pre-completion OPT: Student may be authorized to participate after being enrolled for one full academic year.
    • Must be directly related to the student’s major area of study.
    • Must work part-time while school is in session.
    • May work full time when school is not in session.
  • Post-completion OPT: Student may be authorized to participate upon completion of studies.
    • All periods of pre-completion OPT is deducted from the available period of OPT.
    • Must be directly related to the student’s major area of study.