OPT is an abbreviation for Optional Practical Training. It is a work permit for F-1 students to get employed and gain practical experience in their line of professional studies. During OPT, students can work for a U.S. employer in a job related to their field of study.
Every year, over 1 million international students come to the US for college and university studies. They are called F-1 students and are eligible for OPT for F-1 students after they have completed their studies and received a degree from a U.S. school. Here are five things to know about the program.
What Is OPT?
As mentioned, OPT is a U.S. work authorization for F-1 students to work and gain practical experience in their areas of study. Students can apply for this permit after graduating. Most students who are not willing to fly home after graduating embrace this opportunity to gain experience for a year. Generally, this is a doorway to other work opportunities in the United States including seeking an employer who will help facilitate obtaining a green card.
How Does OPT for F-1 Students Work?
During OPT, the young graduates can work for a U.S. employer for a year. Some pay the employees while others offer volunteer internships for experience; it all depends on the terms and conditions of the job you have accepted. The full-time opportunities are often paid, but volunteer internships may be even easier to find. Typically, the OPT for F-1 students is an amazing job exposure opportunity.
How Do I Apply for OPT?
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, commonly called USCIS, processes the OPT for F-1 students, and you can browse around here to learn more. They also issue an Employment Authorization Document abbreviated as EAD. The application process includes submitting a completed form, paying a fee, and providing supporting documents. It usually takes a short time to process the authorization. However, it is great to use a qualified consultant to help you facilitate this.
What Are the Benefits of OPT for F-1 Students?
OPT for F-1 students is a valuable opportunity for students to gain practical experience and improve their job prospects after they graduate. It can also help students to better understand the U.S. job market and to develop valuable professional connections. In fact, many students who embrace this opportunity are more marketable and have an easy time fitting into the global job market.
What Are My Responsibilities During OPT?
It is important for students participating in OPT for F-1 students to maintain their non-immigrant status while they are working. This means that they must remain enrolled in a full course of study, maintain a valid passport, and report any changes in their personal or academic status to the international student office at their school. Failure to maintain non-immigrant status could result in the loss of work authorization and the requirement to leave the United States.
Now that you know important facts about the OPT for F-1 students, you should take advantage of it if you are an international student in the U.S. You will not regret even embracing an unpaid job offer because of the opportunities that will be unlocked. As you can see, there are several perks of OPT for F-1 students.