Pre-Completion Optional Practical Training (OPT) for F-1 Students

F-1 Students who are properly maintaining their status and are in good academic standing (as defined by the standards of their respective school/program) may be eligible for up to 12 months of full or part time work authorization by receiving OPT during their course of study.

The following F-1 students are NOT eligible for pre-completion OPT:

  • Students who have been enrolled for less than one academic year (Fall and Spring semester, can include time spent in a different status which also permits full time study)

  • Students who have already received 12 months of Pre-Completion OPT during a course of study at the same educational level (Bachelor's, Master's, Doctorate)

  • Students who have already used 12 months of full time CPT during their course of study

Students who still have coursework remaining for degree completion with pre-completion OPT authorization may engage in training for ONLY 20 hours per week while school is in session. (See Student Employment restrictions for on-campus and off campus employment.) However, the student may engage in full time training during vacations and other official school breaks (summer vacation.)

Students who are approved for pre-completion OPT will receive an EAD card from USCIS indicating the start/end dates of their OPT work authorization.

Students may NOT begin working until the start date on their EAD card nor may they continue working past the end date on their card unless:

  • they have applied for Post-Completion OPT OR
  • been approved for a Change of Status in another work authorized category, (J-1, H-1B, etc.) OR
  • have other work authorization (CPT, on campus, severe economic hardship).

ALL Pre-Completion OPT authorized time counts against the total 12 months of OPT available, including Post-Completion OPT, available following degree completion. Part Time Pre-Completion OPT (20 hours per week or less) is counted against the total OPT time available at half rate.

Pre-Completion OPT Instructions