Western Kentucky University

International Student Office

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OPT (Optional Practical Training)

In limited circumstances, under current DHS regulations, students who have been in-status for at least nine months or two academic semesters are eligible to apply for off-campus work authorization. However, you must contact ISSS regarding ANY off-campus employment to see if you are eligible and to file necessary papers before beginning to work.

What is OPT? Optional Practical Training is one year of full-time work permission in a student's field of study after completion of studies at each degree level. OPT should be viewed as a BENEFIT of maintaining your F-1 status, rather than a RIGHT.

The work MUST BE directly related to the field of study on your I-20.

Students can now apply for OPT 90 days prior to or 60 days after their program completion date. We strongly recommend that you apply before your program completion date because filing later will cause delays in processing your OPT card.

How do I choose my OPT start date? Students may apply 90 days prior to program completion or 60 days after program completion. Start date on OPT must be within the 60 days after program completion date or date OPT is adjudicated by UCSIS.

Employment on OPT: During post-completion OPT, F-1 status is dependent upon employment. If student accrues an aggregate of 90 days of unemployment on post-completion standard "initial" OPT, the student loses his/her F-1 status. Note: all students applying for OPT are on the "initial" standard OPT.

*ALL students who wish to apply for OPT are required to attend an OPT workshop during their last semester of studies. You will receive emails from ISSS with the workshop dates for which you can register.*

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Optional Practical Training  Presentation

Note: All students required to an attend OPT presentation in person to apply for OPT.

 Last Modified 3/13/14