Optional Practical Training (OPT) | Alexandria Immigration Law Firm

Temporary Student Employment

A student with an F-1 visa may be authorized to work in the United States while simultaneously pursuing a course of study. Optional Practical Training (OPT) provides a student with temporary employment. The employment must be in the same discipline as the student’s major.

In order to participate in OPT, an applicant must have completed an academic year as a full-time student. This will enable the student to work up to 20 hours a week during the academic year. After graduation, a student may work full-time. The maximum period of work authorization is 12 months. 

Please contact our office for more information including some possible extensions with OPT.

What is STEM OPT Extension?

STEM is an acronym for science, technology, engineering and math. If a student earns a degree in a STEM field, they may apply for a 24-month extension of OPT employment authorization. Please contact us for more information.

How do I apply for OPT?

To appy for OPT, your school must recommend it by endorsing a Form I‑20, Certification of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status. You would also file a Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization. Please contact us for more detailed information and to ensure that all supporting documentation is properly submitted.

Students (both STEM and non-STEM) are eligible to apply up to 90 days before completion of a full academic year. However, the student may not actually begin employment until the first year of studies has been completed.

The Form I-765 must be approved and the Employment Authorization Document (EAD) issued before a student begins OPT.

What is a Cap-gap Extension for F-1 Students?

Some F-1 students who have filed for an H-1B visa are faced with the expiration of the F-1 visa and work authorization if the review is met with delays. Under these circumstances a student may be eligible for a cap-gap extension.

The cap-gap timeframe begins when an F-1 visa and work authorization expires and ends on October 1. 

However, some F-1 students will not qualify for a cap-gap extension. If this occurs, then the student is required to leave the United States when the visa expires. A student would be required to apply for an H-1B visa abroad.

Please contact our office for more information and a review of your case.

Total Dedication

Whether your immigration concern is for F-1 Visa OPT temporary student employment or some other issue, you can count on our experience and dedication.

Our immigration law firm can assist you with obtaining permanent residency, citizenship, marriage-based adjustment, visas, deportation defense and asylum. Our office can also assist your business by obtaining employment based visas.

Please contact us for more information about your case so that we may determine and then pursue your best option.

With our firm on your side, you will have an immigration lawyer directly available to you. Contact us to schedule a consultation.