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:
- 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.