Optional Practical Training

Optional Practical Training (OPT) allows F-1 students to obtain employment in areas related to their academic major and degree level.  Twelve months of OPT is available at each degree level.

NOTE: If you have used more than 12 months of full-time Curricular Practical Training (CPT), you are not eligible to apply for OPT.

  • Occurs after completion of all degree coursework requirements, excluding thesis or equivalent; or, occurs after completion of degree.
  • The proposed employment must be directly related to your field of study/primary major and commensurate to your degree level.
  • You may not accrue more than 90 days of unemployment.

NOTE: Students enrolled in English language training or Certificate programs are not eligible for OPT.

For the Student

Change of Employer After Post-Completion OPT Has Been Authorized

You may change employers after you have begun OPT provided that the new job is (1) directly related to your field of study and (2) appropriate for someone at your degree level.

Reporting Responsibilities

Within 10 days of accepting a new job offer, login to eOISS and complete OISS's online OPT Employment Update Form.

Within 10 days you must report to OISS if any of the following information changes:

  • Legal name
  • Living and mailing address
  • Email address and phone number
  • Employer name and address
  • Job title or position
  • Supervisor name and contact information
  • Employment start and end dates

The Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) will provide you with information about the SEVP Portal at the time of OPT approval.  It is voluntary for you to enter your employment information into the SEVP Portal.

NOTE: Knowingly engaging in fraud or misrepresentation of employment while on OPT could have serious negative consequences on your immigration status.

For the Employer

The employer must report the termination or departure of the student to OISS. An employer must consider a student to have departed when the employer knows the student has left employment or if the student has not reported for work for a period of five consecutive business days without the employer's consent.

When you travel while on OPT, you must bring the following:

  • Valid passport
  • Valid F-1 visa
  • I-20 (with travel signature less than six months old)
  • EAD card
  • Employment offer letter
  • 2-3 of your most recent pay receipts

Handshake - via UNH's Career and Professional Success

This career management system can be helpful in identifying potential employers who have hired international students to work in the U.S., as well as other countries.