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Eligibility

In order to be eligible for OPT, the international student must:

  • Have been a full-time student at Gallaudet for at least one academic year
  • Currently be in F-1 status
  • Be in good academic standing at the time of application
  • Have made normal progress toward degree completion
  • Not have used more than 12 months of pre-completion OPT at their current degree level
  • Not have been authorized for more than 12 months of full-time Curricular Practical Training

OPT requires an application to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The USCIS may take up to three months to process an application for OPT. It is recommended that you apply as early as possible.

NOTE: International students do NOT need to have a job offer in order to apply for OPT, although once they are approved for OPT, the time is deducted from their 12 months regardless of whether they actually work.

F-1 STEM OPT

In order for international students to be eligible for a 17-month OPT extension, they must:

  • Have received a degree included in the STEM Designated Degree Program List. The current list of STEM degrees can be found at http://www.ice.gov/sevis/stemlist.htm
  • Have maintained a valid F-1 status

In addition, the STEM application must be received by USCIS prior to the end of the initial period of post-completion OPT employment. The authorization is for full-time employment after the completion of program requirements and current OPT. STEM employment may be authorized only to the student with current post-completion OPT authorization. Authorization ends 17 months after the initial period of standard post-completion OPT.

Post-OPT Responsibilities for F-1 Students:

International students who are in the U.S. on an F-1 visa continue in F-1 status during their period of authorized Post-completion of Studies Optional Practical Training (OPT), and therefore have certain legal responsibilities. 
The following is a list of these responsibilities:

  1. Work is permitted only in the students’ major field of study, and within the dates that they have been authorized on their Employment Authorization Document.
  2. Students must be working to maintain their F-1 status. Department of Homeland Security regulations state, “During post-completion OPT, F-1 status is dependent upon employment. Students may not accrue an aggregate of more than 90 days of unemployment…”[8 CFR 214.2 (f)(10)(i)].
  3. Students are strongly recommended to keep a record and supporting evidence of all their OPT-related activities. For example:
    • Details of job searches — correspondence with prospective employers, interviews, etc.
    • Employment information — dates, name/location of employer, position, part- or full-time
    • Volunteer work — dates, name/location/type of work, part- or full-time. Please note that federal law requires that a volunteer may not assume a normally paid position or displace a U.S. worker.
  4. Students are required to report the following information to Gallaudet’s International Student Services Office:
    • Change of name (proof of updated passport noting the change is required)
    • Change of address
    • Obtain endorsement from a Designated School Official every six months for travel.

In addition, students in the U.S. on an F-1 visa should be aware of the following:

  1. Beginning a new course of study or transferring U.S. schools automatically terminates OPT employment.
  2. Employment authorization is automatically suspended in the event of a strike or other labor dispute involving work stoppage at the place of employment [8 CFR 214.2(f)(14)].

Contact Us

Optional Practical Training

Building 103

(202) 250-2294

(202) 651-5150

(202) 803-7546

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