|OPT-What it Means to Me
North Seattle Community College
Optional Practical Training
(or OPT) is program offered by the Immigration and
Naturalization Service for international students to get job
experience in their
field of study. The following questions and answers should give
you own, please see us
in the International Student Programs Office.
OPT is working visa, right? permission
to work off campus while you are still in F-1 student status.
A: No, it's not a visa at all. The worker's visa is an H visa.
OPT is simply
Q: So I
can just go out and get any job?
A: No, the purpose is for you to get experience in your field.
If you earned a certificate
in Accounting, and you work as a Webmaster, you are not fulfilling
the terms of the program. You 疼need
to find a job in Accounting.
Q: Is it
easy to get the OPT work permission?
A: Yes. As long as you have been in status for at least 9 months
before you apply, and you
have successfully completed your program of study (or will
complete it soon), ISN will give the authorization.
long can I work?
A: You may apply for any time period up to 12 months. If you
apply for 6 months,
and decide later to extend the permission, you can do so, up to a
total of 12 months. However,
once you have used your 12 months it is gone,
even if you transfer to another school or degree level. For
example, If you get a
Certificate in Webmaster, complete 12 months of OPT, and
then transfer to the UW Bothell and
earn a Bachelor's degree, you will not
get another 12 months of OPT. Your time is used up.
I'm earning an AA. How do I know if the job I'm interested in is
A: OPT is not authorized for NSCC's AA program for this reason.
It is a transfer degree, not
a job degree, so there's no field of study. It's a collection
of general education
course. In addition, the purpose is for you to
transfer, not get a job, so there's
no job experience that would give you training
at the appropriate level. It's much more appropriate to get job
experience after your
Bachelor's. The only exception is the Business AA.
about the AS?
A: The AS does have a field of study, or major, so you may get
permission for OPT.
But again it would probably be better to save your OPT for
after your Bachelor's degree.
Q: If I
get the work permission, and I don't find a job, is my time still
A: Yes. The permission is give for specific dates, whether you
are actually working
or not. It's in your best interest to begin looking for work as
soon as you apply for
OPT, so that you can begin working right away when you get permission
and you don't lose time.
Q: Can I
travel outside the US while I have OPT permission?
A: Yes. To return no US, you'll need to show your I-20, your EAD
card), and a letter from your employer.
card say's "not valid for travel," but you just said I
A: The card is not valid for travel by itself. But with the
card, I-20 and the letter
from your employer, you may reenter the US.
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