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Importance of OPT

Optional Practical Training (OPT) is an important but imperfect bridge, allowing graduates an opportunity to develop their skills and build relationships with potential employers while determining their future immigration options. It does not ultimately provide a clear path to permanent residency on its own, but it can give them time and experience to navigate the limited options available.

OPT allows international students who are studying at or have graduated from U.S. universities and colleges to remain in their F-1 student status and be authorized to work for a U.S. employer in their field of study. Students in any field can secure “post-completion” OPT for up to 12 months, while those with a degree in science, technology, engineering or math (STEM) can get a two-year “STEM extension” for a total of 36 months.

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