OPT Full Form: What Does OPT Stand For?

Do you know what is the OPT Full Form? The full form of OPT stands for Optional Practical Training. The temporary job closely relevant to an F-1 student’s primary field of study is OPT (Optional Practical Training). Students who qualify may apply for up to 12 months of OPT employment authorization before (pre-completion) or after (post-completion) of their academic education (post-completion). However, the whole period of pre-completion OPT will be subtracted from the post-completion OPT time that is left.

OPT permits you to work in the United States for up to three years while developing real-world skills that will set you apart from other applicants.

What is OPT?

Optional Practical Training is also known as OPT. OPT enables foreign students to work in the United States for a minimum of 12 months, with the option of an additional 24 months for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) students.

The majority of students take advantage of OPT once they finish graduation, which enables them to focus on their coursework while earning their degree and extending their stay in the country. OPT, during a degree program, is sometimes referred to as pre-completion OPT.

How many types of OPT are there?

Your primary field of study must be directly connected to all OPTs. If you are an F-1 student, there are two ways that you can be qualified to take part in Optional Practical Training (OPT):

  1. Pre-completion OPT: After you have lawfully been enrolled full-time for one academic year at a college, university, conservatory, or seminary that has been approved by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) to accept F-1 students, you may apply to take part in pre-completion OPT. You can meet the “one full academic year” criterion even if you were in a different nonimmigrant status during that time; you are not required to have held F-1 status for the whole academic year.

If you are allowed a pre-completion OPT, you can work during the academy session (20 hours or less per week). You are allowed to work full-time when classes are not in session.

  • Post-completion OPT: After completing your studies, you can apply to participate in the Post-completion OPT. If OPT is approved after completion, you must be working full-time (at least 40 hours per week) or part-time.

Effect of Pre-Full OPT Employment Authorization on Request of Full Pre-OPT Employment Authorization at Same Education Level:

The total amount of full-time OPT that is still available will be reduced by half, or six months if you have already been allowed one year of part-time (20 hours per week) pre-completion OPT. You will only be eligible for the last six months of full-time post-opt work in this position.

The total amount of full-time optional practical training that is still available will be reduced to one year, or 100% of the prior permissible year at the same educational level, if you have already completed one-year full-time pre-completion OPT(40 hours per week). In this case, you will not be eligible for any post-completion OPT job permission.

What is the STEM OPT Extension?

STEM OPT Extension: Any applicant with a degree in a STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) subject may apply for a 24-month (stem opt unemployment days) extension of their post-graduation OPT employment permit if they meet the following criteria:

  • Is an F-1 student who earned a STEM degree included in the STEM Designated Degree Programs List (PDF);
  • Are employed by a company that has signed up for and is utilizing E-Verify and
  • An initial grant of OPT employment authorization will be received after completion based on your STEM degree.

Core degree subject areas eligible for the STEM OPT extension include:

  • Biological Sciences
  • Engineering Technologies
  • Mathematics
  • Physical Sciences
  • Actuarial Sciences
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Engineering
  • Life Sciences

How to Apply for OPT?

Commonly, you must do this to apply for OPT:

  • Ask your academic institution’s Designated School Official (DSO) to propose the OPT. By signing your Form I-20, Certification of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status and making the required notation in the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System, your DSO will make the recommendation (SEVIS) to accept this.
  • Fill out Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, correctly and submit it to USCIS together with the necessary fee and supporting documents as instructed in the form’s instructions.

What is the difference between OPT and CPT?

Although the OPT and CPT sound similar, candidates should not be confused with them. CPT stands for Curricular Practical Training in its full form. Similar to Optional Practical Training (OPT Full Form), it enables you to work for up to 12 months in the United States, but often as part of a degree program; for example, you must fulfill an internship or co-op education requirement.

You could be able to complete both CPT and OPT, maximizing your chances to gain job experience in the USA!

On the official website of the Department of Homeland Security in the USA, you can find out more about CPT and how it varies from OPT.

Who is eligible for OPT?

Anyone with an F-1 visa who has been enrolled in an academic program at a US university for at least one year is eligible to apply. Despite the fact that there are three primary categories of student visas, the majority of foreign students enrolled in US colleges and universities are F-1 visa holders.

Other OPT Full Forms

TermFull FormCategory
OPTOptional Practical TrainingGeneral
OPTOptical Process TestElectronics
OPTOptionsFile Type
OPTOptimize Support File (qemm)File Type
OPTOptical Grade SolventChemistry
OPTOpticsSpace Science
OPTOptionSpace Science
OPTOzone Processing TeamSpace Science
OPTOperational Pressure TransducerSpace Science
OPTOptimumSpace Science
OPTOperational Planning TeamMilitary and Defence
OPTOptometryMilitary and Defence
OPTOptionalMilitary and Defence
OPTOzarks Public TelecommunicationsTelecommunication

FAQ – OPT Full Form

What does OPT stand for?

OPT stands for Optional Practical Training.

Who is eligible for OPT?

F-1 international students who are maintaining their student status and are enrolled in full-time studies at a U.S. college or university can apply for OPT.

What is the purpose of OPT?

OPT allows eligible F-1 students to gain practical work experience in their field of study in the United States.

What are the different types of OPT?

There are two main types of OPT: Pre-completion OPT, Which allows students to work part-time (up to 20 hours per week) while enrolled in classes and full-time (40 hours per week) during breaks from classes.
Post-completion OPT: This allows students to work full-time (40 hours per week) for up to 12 months after completing their degree program. Students in STEM fields (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) may be eligible for an extension of their post-completion OPT for an additional 24 months.

How do I apply for OPT?

Students must apply for OPT through their Designated School Official (DSO) at their U.S. college or university. The DSO will guide them through the application process, which includes submitting an application form, I-20 form, and other supporting documents.

Is there a fee to apply for OPT?

Yes, there is a fee to apply for OPT. As of October 27, 2023, the application fee is $410.

Can I change employers during OPT?

Yes, students with OPT are generally allowed to change employers as long as the new job is still in their field of study.

What happens to my OPT if I travel outside the U.S.?

Travelling outside the U.S. may jeopardize your OPT status. It is important to consult with your DSO before travelling outside the country.

What happens after my OPT expires?

After your OPT expires, you will need to either secure another form of work authorization or depart the United States.

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OPT Full Form