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for International Students at SDSU

Optional Practical Training (OPT)

Please read this information thoroughly and follow the directions carefully. If you need help, please feel free to contact the ISC.


You can get any forms you need at the ISC office or online:

[+] What is OPT?
[+] OPT Eligibility
[+] Further Explanation for Students Considering OPT with Thesis/Comp Exam Options
[+] OPT How to Apply
[+] Document Checklist and Forms
[+] I-765 Form Instructions
[+] OPT Types of Work
[+] Maintaining Your F-1 Status While on OPT
[+] Traveling During OPT
[+] After OPT: Work Visas (H-1B, etc.) and Permanent Residency

Unpaid Internships on Post-OPT

During post-completion OPT (see "What is OPT" above), you may satisfy employment requirements by working or volunteering in your field of studies at least 20 hours per week.

Note that this employment can include unpaid internships.

  • In your field of studies: If you do participate in an unpaid internship or other type of volunteering, remember that it must be related to your field of studies.
  • 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 of that position, the job title, contact information for your supervisor or manager, and a description of the work. Students must always report employment to the ISC.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

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

 Tel: (619) 594-1982  |  Fax: 619-594-1973  |  Email: