J-1 Scholars
Student Stories
Getting a Student Visa
Attending CUNY
Maintaining Your Immigration Status
Understanding Employment Options
Living in New York
On-Campus Jobs
Carricular Practical Training (CPT) & Academic Training (AT)
Off-Campus Employment (Economic Hardship)
Optional Practical Training (OPT)
Social Security Number
Optional Practical Training (OPT)
I-20 and DS-2019 fo
OPT allows you to gain up to one year of work experience in the U.S.
during or immediately after your studies.

You must be in F-1 status for one year to receive OPT.  There are 2 categories of OPT:  Post Completion and Pre-Completion.


Post Completion:  Following graduation, F-1 international students are allowed to work full time for up to one year to gain work experience in their field of study before returning to their home country.


STEM OPT: In April 2008, USCIS published a regulation allowing F-1 students in STEM: Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics fields to apply for an additional 17 months of OPT, beyond their initial 12 months.  To qualify for the STEM OPT extension, a student must be engaged in an authorized OPT based on graduation from a program in the acceptable STEM field.  The student must also be working for or have a job offer from an employer that is enrolled in the E-Verify system.  Detailed information can be found at www.ice.gov/sevis/stemlist.htm


Pre-Completion:   F-1 students can obtain OPT prior to graduation.  They can work 20 hours a week while classes are in session and 40 hours a week during holiday and vacation periods.  The amount of time used under Pre-Completion OPT is deducted from the students Post Completion OPT.


 J-1 Academic Training (AT)


J-1 students may work under Academic Training following graduation for up to an 18 month period.  They may also engage in AT for 20 hours a week while in school; 40 hours during holidays and vacation period. J-1 students should discuss the procedures for obtaining AT with their International Student Advisor (J-1 Responsible/Alternate Responsible Officer).



Frequently Asked Questions
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