Optional Practical Training

Optional Practical Training (OPT) is a period during which undergraduate and graduate students with F-1 status who have completed their degrees are permitted to work, volunteer, or take non-degree courses.
  • Academic year
  • You must currently be maintaining an F-1 status
  • The proposed OPT must be directly related to your major
The window for applying for OPT begins 90 days before graduation and is open for up to 60 days after graduation. You will want to ensure that you do not apply even one day early or one day late or the request will automatically be denied.
Please pick up an OPT packet from the Office of Immigration Services. Once you have all the documents on the checklist, please send an email to dbiss@erau.edu to request an OPT appointment. Once all documents are reviewed and completed, an OPT recommendation will be issued on your record and an OPT I-20 will be issued.
Once you receive a recommendation to pursue OPT, you must apply for an employment authorization document (EAD) with USCIS within 30 days from the date the DSO signed the OPT I-20. To do this, you will submit a Form I-765, “Application for Employment Authorization,” together with all the required documents reviewed by the DSO at the time of your OPT appointment to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), and pay a filing fee.
You may begin working only after receiving the EAD card. You may begin OPT on the start date issued by USCIS on your OPT EAD. You may not begin working even a day before your actual OPT start date, even though you may have received your EAD before the actual start date listed on your EAD.
Embry-Riddle offers CPT, but it does not offer pre-completion OPT.
Yes, OPT can be part-time. 20 hours or less of work hours constitutes part-time OPT.
On-campus student jobs do not count for OPT. However, if you are hired as a flight instructor or some other non-student job, it will more than likely count towards OPT. Once you have been approved for OPT, you may engage in part or full-time employment with Embry-Riddle, as long as this employment is directly related to the degree you attained.
You would be allowed to begin your OPT as long as you retake the course the very next semester, either on-ground/in-person or online. If you fail the course again, then your OPT and your record would be terminated.
OPT is approved for one year.
Those F-1 students who are currently on a regular period of OPT and have completed a program that is designated by the Department of Homeland Security as a STEM (science, technology, engineering, or math) program are eligible to apply for the 24-month STEM OPT extension.
It’s highly recommended that you not leave the United States. You are not restricted from leaving, but it is highly recommended that you remain in county. However, if you are in a Cap-Gap status, you do not want to leave the country.

An F-1 student on post-completion OPT (Optional Practical Training) cannot be unemployed for more than 90 days cumulatively (or 120 cumulative days if on STEM extension), or the student will no longer have a valid F-1 visa and will be out of immigration status.

With the new SEVIS updates, an F-1 student whose employment fails to appear in SEVIS may be “auto terminated” by SEVIS after 90 days, due to the 90-day unemployment rule. For this reason, students must be sure to consistently keep their employment information current with the school from which they graduated. Remember that employment, for purposes of avoiding the 90-day rule, can also include self-employment, contract work, and even volunteering.

Once employed please email us with the information below. Failure to do this in a timely manner will subject your I-20 to be terminated and loss of employment. Please include your employment offer letter to the email.

The following documents are needed:

  • Employer Name
  • Employer EIN
  • Employer Address
  • Job Title
  • Job status (Full time/Part time)
  • Start Date
  • End Date
  • Last name of supervisor
  • First name of supervisor
  • Phone number of supervisor
  • Email address of supervisor
  • Your current address
  • Your SEVIS number
  • Your ERAU ID number
If you have multiple employers, you must report all of them by providing the same information for each employer.
Please send a copy of your new employer offer letter together with the fields above. Please include the date your previous employment ended.