Complete Overview Of The OPT Period

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Hello Everyone,

I suppose everyone might be knowing about the OPT Period that you may avail after you complete your Masters in the USA. Many Students are unaware about the OPT Period, so I have prepared this post which will provide you the Complete overview of the OPT Period that is offered in the USA by tackling the faqs that Students have related to OPT Period.

It’s really good to be aware of it even before you go for your MS in USA.

1. What is OPT?

OPT simply refers to Optional Practical Training. It is work experience in the student’s field of study, usually performed off-campus. The work must be related to your level and field of studies. So it simply means that you can extend your Stay in the US after Graduation by applying to the OPT.

2. What is the General OPT Period?

OPT Period is of 12 months full time. This is Standard OPT and can be extended by an
additional 17 months of the field of study in Science, Technology, Engineering or Mathematics. This is known as the STEM OPT. The STEM OPT is available to only certain Courses which are stated here. If you have not done your MS/PhD from the listed Courses then you can only avail 12 Months OPT.

3. Types Of OPT?

There are generally Two types of OPT that the US Government lets you avail: –

  • Pre-Completion OPT: – Students can enroll for this after they have been enrolled for one full academic year. The Pre-Completion OPT must be related to your Field of MS. Students who get pre-completion OPT must work part-time while University is in session. They may work full time when University is not in session.
  • Post-Completion OPT: – Student can enroll for post-completion OPT upon completion of studies. The post-completion OPT must be must be related to your Field of MS.

4. How Much Time Does it Take To Get an OPT? 

The Authorization and provided you the OPT generally takes 2 to 3 Months. So you must be careful enough for applying for your OPT on time to avoid any problems that may be caused.

5. When Can I Apply For Post-Completion OPT?

You can apply for Post-Completion OPT 90 Days before your Program (MS) Completion Date or before 60 Days after your Program (MS) Completion Date. So this is the time span in between which you should be applying. It good to apply before your Program Completion Date to be on the safer side.

6. Eligibility To Apply For OPT?

There are only two Requirements to Apply for OPT: –

  • You should have completed at least 1 year in your University.
  • Your F-1 Status must be maintained while Applying for OPT.

7. Should I have a Job To Apply For OPT?

No specific job offer is required at the time of application. Government regulations now impose a 90 day unemployment limit during the 12 month OPT period or 120 days if you apply for and receive the 17-month extension. Each day you are not employed in a qualifying job your Unemployment Time will keep on decreasing. There are no exceptions for this Unemployment Limit. You have to find a Job in that 90 Days.

8. What If I have exceeded the 90 Days Unemployment Period in the OPT?

Firstly you should not exceed the 90 days Unemployment Period but If you have exceeded  the 90 Day Unemployment Period then you have violated the Status unless you take one of the Following Steps before the 90 days: –

  • Leave US and come back to your Country and forfeit your Remaining OPT Period.
  • Apply for Higher Education.
  • Maintain Legal Status Somehow.

If you have decided to leave US then you must report this change to the University within 10 days.

9. Will I get an OPT Period after Joining PhD and Completing my PhD?

Let’s say you avail your OPT after you complete your MS, then join PhD in a University. Then you can again avail for the OPT Period. You will be again given 12 months OPT Period and extension under the Conditions.

10. Does the job I have while on OPT have to be paid employment, or can it be unpaid?

For the first 12 month period of post-completion OPT, the employment does not have to be paid employment. Therefore, if you are self-employed, interning or volunteering in a position directly related to your field, then you would be considered “employed” for the purposes of OPT employment. For the 17-month STEM extension, employment must be paid employment.

11. Can I start Working before Receiving My EAC (Employment Authorization Document)?

No you can start working before you receive your EAC. If you do then you have violated the laws.

12. What are the Fees Related to OPT?

The fees charged is about $380 and it will be charged when you fill your I-765 Form for the OPT.

I Hope I was able to clear all the Faqs related to OPT. If you have any queries please feel free to ask me by placing your query in the Comment Box Below.

6 thoughts on “Complete Overview Of The OPT Period

    • Are you referring to MS Courses of only 9 months Duration? Whenever you go to US to study any Higher Education Course, you will be given the opportunity to use the OPT Period…

  1. “Maintain Legal Status Somehow”

    –> What does this statement imply? How is it possible to maintain legal status “somehow”.. ?! 😮

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