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.
- OPT Tutorial & Instructions
- Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
- Address and Employer Reporting System
- Types of Qualifying Employment
- 90 Days Unemployment Rule
- Beginning a New Program of Study
- Taking Classes While on OPT
- Traveling Outside the U.S.
- Early Completion of OPT
- OPT 24-Month STEM Extension
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."
24-Month STEM Extensions
Students who have received a U.S. Bachelor’s, Master’s, and Doctoral degree in a STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) fields may be eligible to apply for a 24 Month STEM Extension of post-completion OPT (for a total eligibility of up to 36 months of OPT). Additional information for students and employers can also be found on the DHS Study in the States OPT STEM Hub.
On March 23, 2018, the Student Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) launched the SEVP Portal for students on OPT. On March 23, 2018 or Day 1 of your Approved OPT (whichever is later), you will receive an email from SEVP with instructions on how to create an account. This is optional. Berkeley International Office will NOT use the SEVP Portal for OPT reporting purposes. The SEVP Portal will NOT replace our Student SEVIS Update (SSU) Hub.
We ask that ALL UCB students on OPT continue to use the BIO SSU Hub for all OPT reporting requirements.
- You only have to report your information in one place.
- A BIO international student adviser will review and check your information for accuracy before sending it to SEVIS. The SEVP Portal has no such check.