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Saturday, June 4, 2016

What is OPT duration for STEM and NON STEM Degrees in USA for F1 Visa (Student Visa)

OPT Stands for Optional Practical Training

There are two types of OPT
i) Pre-Completion Opt, this can be used during vacations and school year. No more than 20 hours allowed.
ii) Post-Completion OPT -- this is one you will get once you are done with your studies.

No matter which one you use, pre or post, the total duration for opt is 12 months. Every time you finish a next level of degree, you can apply for opt.

STEM can get extension of 24 months now. but employer has to do alot of documentation.

90 days : Once your OPT is approved, you need to find an employer in 90 days and report to DSO.


  • Students on post-completion OPT may not accumulate more than 90 days of unemployment or you will be out of valid F-1 status.
  • Students who receive a STEM extension are given an additional 30 days of unemployment for a total of 120 days of unemployment over their entire post-completion OPT period.

How does travel outside the U.S. impact the period of unemployment?

  • If a student travels outside of the United States while unemployed during the approved period of OPT, the time spent outside the United States will count as unemployment against the 90/120-day limits.
  • If a student travels while employed either during a period of leave authorized by an employer or as part of their employment, the time spent outside the United States will not count as unemployment.


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