What is OPT / CPT?
OPT - OPTIONAL PRACTICAL TRAINING
Optional Practical Training is designed to give the student work experience in their field of study before they go back to their home country.
MAJOR STIPULATIONS FOR OPT
• The student must apply for OPT prior to finishing their academic degree
• The student also may travel while OPT is pending, but once approved, he or she cannot travel until employment has been secured in the U.S.
• Student must be lawfully enrolled with an F-1 Visa.
• The duration should be a cumulative maximum of 12 months during any uninterrupted stay in F-1 status.
• Students may request OPT after being lawfully enrolled in F-1 status for 9 months.
• OPT must be related to the student’s field of study.
• The student does not need to have a job to apply.
• The student must apply and receive the EAD (work authorization card) with the assistance of the Designated Signing Official (DSO) before work may begin.
PROCEDURE FOR OPT
• Complete the form 1-765 (application for Employment Authorization marked with the code [c]  [B]).
• Submit a check to Department of Homeland Security in the amount of $340.
• Ten Dollar shipping fee (make checks payable to ORU).
• Submit photocopies of all prior Form I-20’s.
• Submit a copy of both sides of your I-94.
• Submit photocopies of passport.
• Submit the letter from the academic advisor.
• Submit two passport-style photos.
DURATION FOR EMPLOYMENT AUTHORIZATION
• Employment authorization will begin on the date requested or the date the employment authorization is adjudicated, whichever is later.
• Exception: The employment authorization period for the 17-month OPT extension begins on the day after the expiration of the initial post-completion Opt employment authorization, and ends 17 months later, regardless of the date the actual extension is approved.
REPORTING REQUIREMENTS WHILE ON OPT
All Students on OPT are required to report to the DSO:
• Any change of name or address, or
• Any interruption of such employment
In addition, students with an approved 17-month OPT extension:
• Must report to the student’s DSO within 10 days of any change of:
Residential or mailing address
Employer address, and/or loss of employment
• Must make a validation report to the DSO every six months starting from the date the extension begins and ending when the student’s F-1 status ends, the student changes educational levels at the same school, the student transfers to another school, or the 17-month OPT extension ends, whichever is first.
The validation is a confirmation that the student’s name and address, employer name and address, and/or loss of employment is current and accurate. The report is due to the DSO within 10 business days of each reporting date.
LIMITED PERIODS OF UNEMPLOYMENT TO MAINTAIN STATUS
• During post-completion OPT, F-1 status is dependent upon employment
• Students may not accrue an aggregate of more than 90 days of unemployment
during any post-completion
• Students granted a 17-month OPT extension may not accrue an aggregate of more than 120 days of unemployment during the total 29-month OPT period
All documentation should be collected by the student and submitted to the DSO to check before they send to the government to be considered for OPT authorization. If a decision to approve is made, the student will receive an EAD (work authorization) card
OPT EXTENSION TO 29 MONTHS FOR STEM STUDENTS
The 12-month limit of F-1 Optional Practical Training (OPT) will be extended by 17 months, for a total of 29 months, for bachelor, master, or doctoral degrees in a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) field that is on the HDS STEM Designated Degree
CPT - CURRICULAR PRACTICAL TRAINING
Curricular Practical Training is designated for students that require work experience in their field of study. This work authorization primarily takes the form of internships. CPT is only available prior to students receiving their academic degree.
• Student must be a lawfully enrolled with an F-1 Visa.
• Student may request CPT after being lawfully enrolled in F-1 status for 9 months.
• A maximum of 12 months is allowed for full-time work prior to degree completion. Part-time work (not more than 20 hours per week) is not limited to 12 months.
• Employment must be an integral part of the student’s established curriculum.
• CPT is permitted at a part-time level while school is in session. CPT may be done at
a full time level during all official school breaks such as summer, fall, Christmas
and spring breaks.
PROCEDURE FOR CPT
The student must provide the international office with the completed employer form stating that he/she has been hired for a position, the number of hours the student will be working per week, the employment start and end dates, and a full job description.
The student must provide the international office with the completed academic advisor form stating that CPT authorization is integral for the degree plan. The student must provide the international office with the completed Career Services form.
Once all three documents have been submitted to the international office, the DSO will review and if a decision to approve the CPT is made, the student will receive a new I-20 with the CPT designation and date authorization indicated on the third page of the I-20.
For more information contact:
International Student Manager
For further information please reference: http://www.nafsa.org/regulatory_information.