Post-Completion Optional Practical Training

Post- Completion OPT is temporary employment that takes places after completion of a student’s course of study (i.e. after the program end date on the I-20).

General guidelines

  1. The post-completion OPT must be directly related to the student’s major area of study
  2. Students may apply 90 days prior to degree completion or up to 60 days after degree completion.
  3. The requested OPT start date must be within 60 days after graduation. The USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Service) must receive the OPT application no later than the 60 th day of the grace period following graduation.
  4. Students can apply for post-completion OPT) at the following times
    1. After completion of course of study.
    2. After completion of all course requirements for the degree, while working on the thesis or dissertation.
  5. If a student applies for post-completion OPT based on completion of course requirements and their requested OPT start date takes place during a semester, the student will have to be enrolled in courses until the Employment Authorization Document (EAD) card arrives.
  6. A student should work full-time (over 20 hours per week) while on post-completion OPT.
  7. Student must be employed within 90 days of the OPT start date.

Difference between Pre-Completion and Post-Completion OPT



Days of unemployment are not counted

Days of unemployment are counted

Not eligible for STEM Extension

Eligible for STEM Extension

Not eligible for "Cap Gap"

Eligible for "Cap Gap"

May extend the program, if needed

Cannot extend program