immnet.org

Popular
Recent

Optional Practical Training (OPT)

If you are an international student in the United States on a student visa, you may be eligible for Optional Practical Training (OPT). OPT is a period of time approved by the U.S. government during which international students with F-1 visas can work in the United States. 

The main purpose of OPT is to give students the opportunity to gain practical experience in their field of study while they are still enrolled in school. This can be beneficial for both the student and the employer. The student gains valuable experience and skills, and the employer gets to train and assess a potential employee before making a long-term commitment.

If you are interested in applying for OPT, there are a few things you should know about the process. In this blog post, we will go over the basics of OPT, including eligibility requirements, application procedures, and more.

Post-Completion OPT

After completing your studies, you may be eligible for Optional Practical Training (OPT). OPT allows you to gain up to 12 months of experience in your field of study. To be eligible for OPT, you must have a job offer from a U.S. employer.

If you are interested in applying for OPT, you should first talk to your school’s international student advisor. They will be able to tell you if you are eligible and help you with the application process.

Once you have applied for and been approved for OPT, you will need to complete an Employment Authorization Document (EAD). This document will allow you to work in the United States for up to 12 months. You will need to present this EAD to your employer when you start your new job.

If you have any questions about OPT or the application process, please contact your school’s international student advisor. They will be happy to assist you.

Pre-Completion OPT

Pre-completion OPT is an optional practical training opportunity that allows students to gain up to 12 months of work experience in their field of study prior to completing their degree. 

This can be an invaluable opportunity to gain experience in the United States, build your professional network, and earn some money to help pay for your education. To be eligible for pre-completion OPT, you must be enrolled in a degree program at a US college or university and have maintained F-1 status for at least one academic year. 

You will also need to obtain an internship or job offer from a US employer before beginning your OPT period. For more information on pre-completion OPT, please contact your school’s international student office or visit the US Department of Homeland Security’s website.

Applying for OPT

Applying for OPT can be a bit of a process, but it’s worth it if you want to stay in the United States and continue working after graduation. The first step is to talk to your international student advisor at your school. They will help you understand the process and what you need to do.

Next, you need to submit an application to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). This can be done online or through the mail. Make sure to include all of the required documents, such as your passport, I-20 form, and financial documentation.

Once your application is received, USCIS will send you a receipt notice. They will then review your application and make a decision. If everything is in order, they will approve your OPT and send you an Employment Authorization Document (EAD). This document allows you to work in the United States for a specific period of time.

Make sure to keep your EAD with you at all times while working. You may also need to show it to your employer when you start working. Once your EAD expires, you will need to leave the United States unless you have another type of visa that allows you to stay longer.

H-1B Cap Gap

The H-1B Cap Gap allows eligible F-1 students to maintain their status and work in the United States beyond their post-completion Optional Practical Training (OPT) period. The Cap-Gap extension is available to students who:

  • Have an H-1B petition filed on their behalf with USCIS; and
  • Have a valid, unexpired F-1 visa.

If the student’s H-1B petition is approved, the student can begin working in the H-1B status on October 1st of that year. The H-1B status will be granted for the remainder of the student’s OPT period, plus an additional 60 days. This extension does not count toward the six-year limit on H-1B status.

Change of Status

If you are currently in the United States on an F-1 student visa, you may be eligible for a change of status to an H-1B visa. The H-1B visa allows foreign nationals to work in the United States for up to six years. To be eligible for a change of status, you must have a job offer from a U.S. employer that has been approved by the U.S. Department of Labor. You must also meet all of the other requirements for an H-1B visa. If you are interested in changing your status, you should consult with an immigration attorney to discuss your options and make sure you are eligible before applying for a change of status.

Documents needed

If you are applying for Optional Practical Training (OPT), you will need to submit the following documents:

  • A completed OPT application form
  • Your passport
  • Your I-20 form from your school
  • Your EAD card (if you have one)
  • Proof of your current employment status (if applicable)

Once you have gathered all of the required documents, you can submit them to the USCIS office.

OPT Medical Insurance

When you are on an OPT, you are responsible for your own health insurance. You are not eligible for coverage through your school’s health insurance plan. You may be eligible for coverage through your parent’s health insurance plan if you meet certain criteria, but this is not guaranteed.

There are a few options for health insurance when you are on an OPT. You can purchase a private health insurance plan, you can enroll in a short-term health insurance plan, or you can enroll in a catastrophic health insurance plan.

Private Health Insurance Plans - the most expensive option for health insurance, but they offer the most comprehensive coverage. If you have a pre-existing medical condition, it is important to make sure that your private health insurance plan will cover your condition.
Short-Term Health Insurance Plans - these are less expensive than private health insurance plans and offer basic coverage for unexpected illnesses or injuries. These plans do not cover pre-existing medical conditions and have shorter terms than private health insurance plans.
Catastrophic Health Insurance Plans - the least expensive option for health insurance, but they only provide coverage for major medical expenses. These plans do not cover routine medical care or pre-existing medical conditions.

Benefits of OPT

If you are an international student studying in the United States on a student visa, you may be eligible for Optional Practical Training (OPT). OPT is a period of time during which you can work in the United States in order to gain experience in your field of study.

There are many benefits to participating in OPT.

  • allows you to gain practical experience in your field of study. This can be beneficial when you are looking for jobs after graduation. Employers often prefer candidates who have relevant work experience.
  • OPT can help you cover some of the costs associated with your education. While you are working, you can earn money to help pay for tuition, books, and other expenses.
  • OPT provides an opportunity to learn about American culture and society. Working in the United States will give you a better understanding of American values and how people live and work here. This cultural immersion can be a valuable experience that will help you in your future career.
  • OPT can give a lead to full-time employment opportunities post-graduation. If you perform well during your OPT period, your employer may offer you a full-time job after you graduate. This could be a great way to start your career in the United States.

Overall, there are many benefits to participating in OPT. If you are eligible, it is definitely worth considering as part of your educational plan.