Skip To Content



for International Students at SDSU

Optional Practical Training (OPT)

Please read the information below thoroughly and carefully.

[+] What is OPT?
[+] OPT Eligibility
[+] Further Explanation for Graduate Students Considering OPT with Thesis/Comprehensive Exam Options
[+] OPT How to Apply
[+] After Attending the OPT Virtual Workshop
[+] Types of OPT Employment
[+] Unemployment 90-Day Rule, Hour Limitation, and Approved Vacation Policy
[+] Your Immigration Reporting Responsibilities while on OPT (for Post-Completion OPT only)
[+] Traveling During OPT
[+] If You are Leaving the U.S. (no return trip)
[+] After OPT: Work Visas (H-1B, etc.) and Permanent Residency

Unpaid Employment/Internships/Volunteer Work on Post-OPT

During Post-completion OPT, you may satisfy employment requirements by doing an unpaid internship or volunteering at least 20 hours per week.

  • In your field of study: If you do participate in an unpaid internship or other type of volunteering, remember that it must be directly related to your major field of study.
  • Fair Labor Standards Act: In addition, make sure the position is within Department of Labor’s Fair Labor Standards Act, which contains regulations regarding unpaid or volunteer work.
    • For more information on these regulations,  see the FLSA Fact Sheet (PDF).

OPT Extensions


Upcoming OPT workshops

Thursday, January 14, 2016

The ISC recommends that students maintain evidence for each job: the position held, duration/dates of that position, employer name and address, job title, contact information for your supervisor or manager, number of hours worked, and a description of the work. For immigration purposes, students must update all changes in their OPT employment on their SEVP Portal Account.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

For more information about working on OPT, see page 17 of this policy guidance document (PDF) from USCIS.