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