“Optional Practical Training (OPT) provides F-1 students with an opportunity for hands-on work experience (work authorization) related to the academic field of study.

You are eligible to apply if you meet the following criteria:

  • You are currently in active F-1 status.
  • You have been enrolled in a full course of study for one academic year in the U.S. or will complete one academic year by the date the OPT approval begins.
  • You have not exceeded 12 months of full-time Curricular Practical Training (CPT) authorization. (Part-time CPT does not affect OPT eligibility.)
  • You do not need a job offer first; you can apply for the 12-month OPT authorization without a job offer.
  • You have not previously completed 12 months of OPT at the same degree level.
  • You are eligible for 12 months of full-time OPT per academic level. For example, you may apply for 12 months of OPT after completing a bachelor's degree and then another 12 months after completing a master's degree. Extensions may be granted to students in STEM fields. See the “STEM OPT Resources” link for more information.
  • You may apply for OPT authorization during your academic program, after your program completion, or a combination of both.”

Contact

573.986.6863
international@semo.edu
International Center
International Education and Services
One University Plaza, MS 2000
Cape Girardeau, Missouri 63701
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