Optional Practical Training (OPT)

Learn more about Optional Practical Training (OPT) for F-1 students.

Definition

OPT is defined in the Federal Regulations as temporary employment directly related to a student's field of study. During OPT, a student remains in F-1 status. The end result of the OPT request process is an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) issued by United States Citizenship and Immigrations Services (USCIS).

Eligibility Criteria

To be eligible for OPT, the student must: 

  • Be in legal F-1 immigration status
  • Be a full-time student for at least one academic year
  • Have U-M approved health insurance

Note: Post-completion OPT applications are typically denied by USCIS if the Level of Education indicated in item #4 on the I-20 is “non-degree.”

Maximum Length

  • The standard OPT period is a cumulative maximum of 12 months.
  • Part-time OPT is deducted from the 12-month limit at 50%.
  • An F-1 may become eligible for another 12 months of OPT if he/she advances to a higher educational level.

Note: Some students may be eligible for a 24-month STEM extension of OPT.

OPT Workshop Presentation

All students applying for Optional Practical Training (OPT) are required to attend an OIA OPT Workshop. You can review the workshop presentation here

Please see here the most recent update about online filing. 

Registration for the Fall 2022 OPT Workshop

12 p.m. - 1 p.m., Wednesday, September 14, 2022

Register in advance for this meeting:
OPT Workshop meeting registration
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

12 p.m. - 1 p.m., Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Register in advance for this meeting:
OPT Workshop meeting registration
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

12 p.m. - 1 p.m., Wednesday, October 12, 2022

Register in advance for this meeting:
OPT Workshop meeting registration
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

OPT Forms and Process

OPT & STEM Application Forms and Reporting 

OPT and STEM application forms are available via the UM-Dearborn F-1 international student portal: M-International.

Post-Completion OPT change of employer

The OIA cannot update employment information for F-1 students on Post-Completion OPT. Instead, students must submit employment updates and new employer information directly to their SEVP Portal Account.

STEM OPT change of employer

To update employment information during STEM OPT, students must submit a new training plan I-983 for the new employer as well as a final evaluation form I-983 for the previous employer. Once the OIA receives the I-983 forms, the OIA will be able to update the student's SEVIS record and issue a new I-20 via email. All STEM employment updates must be submitted via the STEM OPT Reporting eForm, via the M-International F-1 student portal. 

Reporting Requirements During STEM OPT 

Students' STEM OPT reporting requirements for the 6-, 12-, 18-, and 24-month reporting intervals must be submitted via M-International. 

Office of International Affairs

108 - The Union at Dearborn
780 Town Center Drive
Dearborn, MI 48126
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Phone: 313-583-6600
Fax: 313-583-6725