US: All About The OPT Visa Meant For Foreign Students 

The majority of developed countries permit international students to work after completing graduate or post-graduate studies. However, the students must thoroughly go through the rules and regulations regarding after-study work opportunities prevailing in these countries. As one of the most prominent educational destinations, the USA also has a provision for post-study work opportunities for foreign students, especially in educational spheres such as science, engineering, liberal arts and business. 

To gain good professional exposure in a competitive job market working in the US is a must. In order to work post-studies in the US, foreign candidates need to apply for Optional Practical Training (OPT). 

What Is An OPT Visa? 

This is a post-study work visa for foreign students in the US. In this visa category, the students should apply for those jobs that are in line with their field of studies. International students can choose OPT twice, after an undergraduate degree and a graduate degree. Also, with OPT, students can do various jobs and start their own business ventures. Dissimilar to usual work visas, to apply for OPT there is no need of a job offer.  

Important Criteria Surrounding The OPT 

  1. Candidates with student visas (F1) must have finished a programme at a US university of least 1-year duration 
  1. Foreign students should get a job within 90 days of the OPT start date. 
  1. Must get Employment Authorization Document (EAD) from (USCIS) prior to starting work. 
  1. Must be in the US while mailing application 

It is to be noted that the international student services team present at various universities can help students with the application process for OPT and EAD as well. 

Duration Of The OPT Visa 

Validity of 1 year is there on this visa. But, if the degree happens to be in the STEM category, the OPT can be renewed for another 24 months. So, foreign students can work for 3 years with OPT visas. 

Chief STEM areas suitable for the extension are: 

Actuarial Sciences 

Biological Sciences 

Computer Science Applications 

Engineering 

Engineering Technologies 

Life Sciences 

Mathematics 

Physical Sciences 

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