Hiring an F-1 with Optional Practical Training

Foreign students in F-1 status may apply for Optional Practical Training (OPT) after completion of each degree level.  OPT allows them to engage in temporary employment to gain practical experience in their field of study. The initial work authorization granted by USCIS for OPT is 12 months.  Placement must be appropriate for someone who is on OPT.  In other words, the job offered must be one where the knowledge and skills acquired during the course of study will be utilized in the position and appropriate for the level of degree earned. 

If the individual graduated with a STEM (science, technology, engineering or math) degree, they may be eligible to file for an extension of twenty-four months. Before hiring an employee on STEM OPT, please review the employer responsibilities. The hiring department will be responsible for completing sections of a Training Plan form (Form I-983) and by signing this form agree to all of the conditions. Please contact our office if additional guidance is needed for filling the form.