Optional Practical Training (OPT) is defined in the regulations as "temporary employment for practical training directly related to the student's major area of study." F-1 students must have completed one full academic year of full-time study before being eligible to apply.
There are three general types of Optional Practical Training:
- Pre-completion OPT - only available during the degree program
- Post-completion OPT - F-1 students must apply within 90 days prior to the date all degree requirements are met, or during the 60-days grace period.
- STEM OPT Extensions - available for certain Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) students. F-1 students must apply within 90 days prior to the ending date of the current Post-Completion OPT.
More information on OPT: 8 CFR 214.2(f)(10)(ii)