Optional Practical Training (OPT)

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What is OPT?

Optional Practical Training (OPT) is work authorization available to eligible F-1 students who have completed an academic program in the U.S. and want to gain practical work experience in their field of study. OPT work must be directly related to the student’s major field of study and at the appropriate degree level. OPT is authorized in the form of an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) card for up to 12 months by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

When do F-1 students become eligible for OPT?

To be eligible for OPT, TMCC students must be:

  • Enrolled full-time for one academic year.
  • In good academic standing (minimum 2.0 GPA).
  • In valid F-1 immigration status.
  • In their final semester at TMCC.

How can OPT-eligible students begin the OPT application process?

To apply for OPT, students must follow these steps (see Application Process, below, for complete details):

  1. View the online OPT workshop or schedule an appointment with TMCC International Student Services.
  2. Complete the OPT Request Form.
  3. Schedule an appointment with your International Academic Advisor to complete the Academic Recommendation section of the OPT Request Form.
  4. Schedule an appointment with International Student Services to turn in your complete OPT Packet.

Are there any limitations on OPT?

  • TMCC recommends F-1 students for “post-completion” OPT for OPT work to begin after a student’s completion of their academic program at TMCC.
  • Students are eligible for OPT work during the OPT period printed on their EAD card, issued by USCIS.
  • Unemployment on OPT is limited to 90 days during the 12 months of authorized OPT period.
  • If a student works full-time on CPT for 12 months or more, the student loses their OPT eligibility.
  • Part-time CPT, even if more than 12 months are used up, does not affect OPT eligibility.

Do students have to pay for OPT? ·

The current USCIS application fee is $410. For updated fee information visit USCIS.