F-1 on OPT Status

International students in F-1 non-immigrant status are eligible for optional practical training (OPT) to work for a U.S. employer in a job directly related to the student’s major area of study.

To learn more about F-1 on OPT status, visit: 

Common Uses

  • International post-graduate students
  • International post-doctoral students


  • Employment in OPT status is limited to 1 year; however, students with a STEM, CIP code on their I-20 are eligible for a 24-month extension (called STEM-OPT)
  • F-2 spouses cannot work; however, they may engage in part-time study
  • F-2 children cannot work; however, they may engage in full time study for grades K-12


  • Students must receive new I-20 from their DSO (international student advisor) before applying for OPT/STEM-OPT
  • Hiring department contacts Faculty Immigration Services
  • Sufficient time is needed to change status from F-1 to H-1B before OPT work authorization expires.  The end date on the Employment Authorization Document (EAD) is crucial.  The hiring department should contact Faculty Immigration Services at least 6 months before the EAD expires if they plan to continue employing the foreign national after the expiration.


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