Optional Practical Training (OPT) is a temporary employment facility provided by the USA government to the International Students. The OPT for F1 students during which undergraduate and graduate students who have completed or pursuing their degrees for more than nine months are permitted by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to work for one year on a student visa without the necessity of accessing a work H1 B visa for attaining the practical training in support of their domain of study. For those students in a STEM field – science, technology, engineering or mathematics – the period can be extended to up to 29 months.
The sole aim of OPT is to allow an employment experience for students in the area of study which he is undergoing. The Optional Practical Training (OPT) and Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is recognized by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Majority of students are eligible for OPT jobs for international students but they need to fulfill OPT job requirements. CPT for international students is the programs are also initiated by the USCIS to benefit the students work during their graduation period.
Apart from this, many employers do not regularly hire non-US citizens, just because of not having OPT insurance policy coverage, some employers just cannot afford the additional expense of recruiting the student on OPT or sponsoring a worker on an H1B visa. There are many online resources that help the students in identifying companies that regularly hire employees on OPT, CPT, and H1B. If someone wants to continue to have an H1B visa after you are done with OPT, it is important to find a company that regularly sponsors H1B employees.
On 2, April 2008, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Secretary Michael Chertoff announced a 17-months of extension for the opt students who are qualifying for the STEM fields science, technology, engineering, or mathematics degree as listed on the USCIS website. For degrees of any other field are eligible for the 12-month is permitted for studies. Finally, DHA published rule allowing F1 students who have STEM degrees and meets other specified requirements, they can apply for 24-months of extension of their post-completion OPT, and hence they received in all 36-months of OPT. The 24-month extension replaces with the 17-month STEM OPT extension.
When the student receives OPT hence they have a period of 90 days to find employment, if the student failed to do so within the mentioned period of time then his work permit would be taken and ask to leave the country.
Students can apply for the OPT either during their studies or after their graduation. OPT is further divided into two, Full-time OPT and Part-time OPT. The time period is expected for full-time OPT is 40 hours or more work period whereas the part-time OPT demands to work for 20 hours or less according to the OPT job requirements.
OPT Job Requirements
There are various jobs for OPT students in USA are available but not every student can apply for the OPT job unless he/she eligible for it.
- The student should hold a legal and valid F1 visa.
- The student work in the related field of study during one full year should maintain visa status.
- The work can only be started after the University permits the start and end dates.
- To apply for OPT; the students must fill and submit mandatory requirement I20-form.
- Then fill 765 form after the verification of I-20 form.
- The student should have EAD card before the student can start working.
- CPT cannot be done if the OPT period is fully consumed.
- During OPT period there is a certain restriction on traveling.
Unified Multi-Purpose (UMID) ID given to the F1 students on the approval of their work permit, which have to attach along with the EAD card in order to work in a legal manner. To apply for the OPT work permit the candidate should wait for the 90days before the end of their academic program and 60 days after the start of their graduation.
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If they are eligible for the tax payment, hence they need the Social Security Number for the payment of the taxes. The students can apply for the Social Security Number (SSN) when they are the eligible holders of the EAD card and EAD card become valid to use. SSN is required only for the tax payment, but not for the start of the work.
Travel while the OPT application is pending
Students are recommended not to travel outside the United States during the period between the completion of their degree program and the receipt of their EAD card. If they do so then they are required to have a valid I-20 and a valid EAD card to regain entry into the United States. If their visa got expired, hence they need to have a valid I-20 and a valid EAD card to renew the visa. EAD cards are not sent to overseas addresses.
The issue of the traveling can be resolved based on the answer to the query like the situation under which the person needs to travel and the type of OPT application candidate is holding. Different rules to be followed for different cases depending upon whether it is Pre-completion OPT or Post-completion OPT jobs in USA. You may also be looking for best place to search for jobs in the USA.