Office of International Student and Scholar Services

OPT and OPT STEM Extension

What is Optional Practical Training (OPT)?

OPT is authorized employment which is directly related to a student’s major area of study but is not integral to a student’s curriculum. It requires USCIS approval and can take up to 3 months to approve.
There are three types of OPT:

1.  (c3A) Pre-Completion OPT

  • Not recommended, contact a member of the OISSS team for more information.

2.  (c3B) Post-Completion OPT

  • Most commonly used OPT authorization.
  • Up to 12 months of authorized employment after the completion of a program of study and for no longer than 14 months from the program end date.
  • Can be paid or unpaid employment, 20 hours a week or more.
  • All majors are eligible.
  • Can apply up to 90 days before their program end date and up to 60 days after.
  • Don’t need a job offer to apply.
  • Submit an OPT Pre-Approval e-form via the iRocket Portal to begin application process.  Go to iRocket Portal.

3.  (c3C) STEM OPT Extension

STEM OPT eligible majors can be found on the Find Your Major or Program webpage.  Click the “STEM OPT extension eligible” option along with the degree type you are interested in and any other applicable filters. Go to the Find Your Major or Program webpage.

  • 24 months of authorized employment after the completion of a post-completion OPT.
  • Can apply up to 90 days before the end of post-completion OPT and no later than the end of post-completion OPT.
  • Job offer from an e-verify registered employer required to apply.
  • Must be paid employment, 20 hours a week or more.
  • Submit an OPT STEM Extension Request e-form via the iRocket Portal to begin application process. Go to iRocket Portal.

OPT Reporting Requirements

Students must report via the iRocket Portal using the OPT/STEM Employment Reporting e-form and choosing the appropriate Reason for Reporting category within the form. Go to iRocket Portal.

The first report required during OPT should use the reason category: Initial OPT Employment, and should be submitted within 10 days of beginning the first job on OPT.
Students on OPT are required to report every 6 months from the start of their approved OPT period.
During OPT any major changes to employment or home address must be reported within 10 days of the change.

OPT Resources

For more OPT Information, go to USCIS's OPT for F-1 Students

More STEM OPT Information, visit USCIS's OPT Training Extension for Stem Students

Calculate STEM OPT reporting dates at OPT Calculator Stem

See the list of Department of Homeland Security  Approved STEM Majors.   

Learn about applying for a STEM Extension using a previous degree at Department of Homeland Security's Determing STEM OPT Extension Eligibility.

Last Updated: 6/10/24