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Stephen F. Austin State University

Immigration Information

What is Optional Practical Training?

Optional Practical Training (OPT) is temporary employment that is directly related to an F-1 student's major area of study. An F-1 student can be authorized to receive up to a total of 12 months of practical training either before (pre-) and/or after (post-) completion of studies.

Pre-completion OPT: An F-1 student may be authorized to participate in pre-completion OPT after he or she has been enrolled for one full academic year. The pre-completion OPT must be directly related to the student's major area of study. Students authorized to participate in pre-completion OPT must work part-time while school is in session. They may work full time when school is not in session.

Post-completion OPT: An F-1 student may be authorized to participate in post-completion OPT upon completion of studies. The post-completion OPT must be directly related to the student's major area of study.

How to apply for pre- or post-completion OPT?

Please follow the step-by-step instructions on the OPT Checklist to complete your application. Once you've completed the checklist, feel free to call or email either Ken or Alison to schedule an appointment. OPT processing can take up to 45 minutes, so please be sure to make an appointment before stopping by the office.