Optional Practical Training (OPT) is granted to students who wish to work in their field of study but are not going to work as part of their academic program. OPT is granted for a maximum of 12 months throughout the student"s academic career. Students can work during their vacations or during the school year, or save OPT to be used after graduation. If working during the school year, the student is only permitted to work 20 hours a week. If used after graduation, OPT must be completed within 14 months of graduation. For OPT eligibility, the student must apply with INS for an EAD card (Form I-688B - Employment Authorization Document). The F-1 OPT employment cannot begin until actually receiving the EAD card in hand from the INS. (Upon approval, INS will mail this card directly to the applicant.)
Curricular Practical Training (CPT)Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is issued to students currently enrolled on a full-time basis at an approved educational institution to obtain work experience in their field of study. This is defined as an alternative work/study, internship, cooperative education, or any other type of required internship or practicum that is offered by sponsoring employers through cooperative agreements with the school. The student usually receives academic credit for this training. CPT is granted by the university and the student"s INS Form I-20 is endorsed with the dates the student is eligible to work, as well as the number of hours per week. A student with CPT must present an original Form I-20 indicating CPT approval to an intended employer before employment may lawfully commence.