F1 Off-Campus Employment: Optional Practical Training (OPT)
International students in F1 status are generally eligible for either precompletion Optional Practical Training (OPT) prior to graduation, or postcompletion OPT after graduation. Postcompletion OPT is available for up to 12 months, provided the student did not participate in precompletion OPT during degree completion. Graduates who obtained a degree in a STEM field (science, technology, engineering, math) are eligible for an additional period of 17 months of OPT, for a total of 29 months. Individuals who are eligible for postcompletion OPT must apply to USCIS to obtain an Employment Authorization Document (EAD). Once the EAD is received and the start date on the card has been identified, the individual can then work.