F-1 students often want to work. However, employment opportunities are limited, and strict rules apply. This document discusses different types of optional practical training (OPT) including: required forms, processes, and updating SEVIS.
What is Optional Practical Training?
Optional practical training is one type of work permission available for eligible F-1 students. It allows students to get real-world work experience related to their field of study.
While a Designated School Official (DSO) recommends OPT in SEVIS, it is the student who must apply for the work permit with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS). If the OPT is approved, USCIS will issue an Employment Authorization Document (EAD). The student must not begin working before the start date on the EAD.
Regulations and Policy Guidance
Complex rules and guidance apply to OPT. Any OPT requests entered into SEVIS must comply with federal regulations. DSOs must understand the following regulations and policy guidance: