F-1 Optional Practical Training (OPT)

Optional Practical Training (OPT) is work authorization available to F-1 international students who have been full time students for at least two consecutive semesters and who plan to seek employment in the U.S. in their fields of study.

Extensions of OPT

H-1B Visa and Cap Gap Extensions

A cap-gap extension extends an eligible F-1 student's status between the end of F-1 status while on OPT, and start of H-1B status. This allows the student to remain in the U.S. during the "gap."

17-Month STEM Extensions

Students who have received a U.S. Bachelor’s, Master’s, and Doctoral degrees in a STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) fields, are eligible for a one-time, 17-month extension of post-completion OPT (for a total eligibility of up to 29 months). See the web pages on the 17-month Extension for more information.

NOTE: Berkeley International Office is aware of the WashTech Lawsuit August 12, 2015 OPT STEM Extension Summary Judgement and is monitoring the situation as more information becomes available. Since the ruling does not go into effect until February 2016, BIO is continuing OPT STEM Extension processing as usual until further notice. We will keep our clients up-to-date regarding the impact of the WashTech ruling and anticipated new DHS STEM OPT rule via the BIO website and email notifications. F-1 students on OPT are reminded to keep their email addresses up-to-date at http://ssu.berkeley.edu.