Optional Practical Training allows F-1 students to accept paid, professional-level employment that is directly related to their field of studies. You must receive authorization from the USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services) before you can work!
At SCC, please set up a time to meet with your International Student Advisor for more information and to determine if you meet the eligibility criteria for Pre or Post Completion OPT.
Eligibility Criteria for Post-Completion OPT:
- You must have been a full-time student at SCC for at least one academic year before you can engage in OPT.
- You must have graduated with your Associate Degree.
- You must currently be in lawful F-1 status.
- You must be in good academic standing at the time of application, and you must have made normal, full-time progress toward degree completion.
- You must not have used more than 12 months of pre-completion OPT in the past at your current degree level.
- You must not have been authorized for more than 12 months of full-time Curricular Practical Training.
- You do NOT need to have a job offer in order to apply for OPT, although once you are approved for OPT, the time is deducted from your 12 months regardless of whether you actually work.
- Your OPT job must be in your field of study as indicated on your SEVIS I-20.
IMPORTANT: YOU MUST APPLY FOR POST-COMPLETION OPT NO LATER THAN THREE WEEKS BEFORE YOU COMPLETE YOUR DEGREE REQUIREMENTS, TO ALLOW FOR ADEQUATE PROCESSING TIME.
- If you have been a full-time student in F-1 status for MORE than one academic year, you may apply for post-completion OPT up to 120 days before your desired OPT beginning date, although you must apply before you complete your degree requirements.
- If you have been a full-time student in F-1 status for LESS than one academic year, you may apply for post-completion OPT up to 90 days before the date that you will have completed one academic year. However, your application cannot be submitted any earlier than 120 days before your desired OPT beginning date. You must also apply for post-completion OPT before you complete your degree requirements, and you cannot begin your OPT period until you have completed one full academic year of study.
OPT requires an application to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The USCIS may take several months to process an application for OPT. Please plan accordingly - we recommend that you apply as early as possible.
Reminder: Do NOT accept any type of employment until you have been approved by your International Student Advisor AND received the appropriate authorization from the US federal government. Working illegally and without authorization is grounds for deportation!