Optional Practical Training is a work-authorization available to degree-seeking international students who hold an F-1 visa. OPT is designed to provide a student practical experience in his/her field of study. Students who have been lawfully enrolled for a minimum of 9 months are eligible for a cumulative maximum of 12 months of OPT work authorization. OPT may be authorized prior to completion of studies, or used full-time for a 12-month period after completion of studies*.
As an academic advisor, graduate program director or college dean, you may be approached by one of your international advisees regarding a letter to support their OPT application. This letter is a statement of a student’s eligibility for graduation and expected date of degree completion. We have included a form letter for your use (Word doc).
*Completion of studies is defined for immigration purposes as the date when a student completes all of the requirements for their degree. It is not the date when the diploma is given.
For undergraduates, it is the final day of examinations of their final semester.
For graduate students, (Master’s and Ph.D.), the completion date could be the final day of examinations of their final semester, or the date of defense or the date they submit final edits to their academic advisor.
Exception to the rule: Graduate students who have completed all coursework and are only working on a final project/thesis or dissertation, could use another date appropriate for their individual situation.
Please print out this letter on department letterhead and provide a signature. This letter can then be delivered to the student, scanned and email to the International Student Coordinator or can be sent directly to the attention of the International Student Coordinator in The Office of International Education, L&L, Room B-162.