[MUSIC PLAYING] SPEAKER: If you're an international student and you're about to graduate, you might be thinking about what you're going to do next. You might want to extend your visa and find work in the United States. That's totally doable, and we can help you. We're here to talk with you today about F-1 Optional Practical Training work authorization.
Notice the emphasis on F-1. You need to be an F-1 status in order to apply for Optional Practical Training, or OPT. What do we mean by Optional Practical Training, or OPT? OPT is a period during which undergraduate and graduate students with F-1 status who have completed or have been pursuing their degrees for one academic year are permitted by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services to work for one year on a student visa in a professional setting.
You may have studied law, hospitality, microbiology, the arts, any major, any field. And you may find employment in that field to enhance your knowledge and professionalism. Now, let's go down the list of OPT employment types. Paid employment. You must work at least 20 hours per week when you are doing post graduation OPT.
You may work for multiple employers. Yes, you heard that correctly, multiple employers. For example, you might work in agricultural field research as well as conduct research in a dairy lab. Tasty research at that. This means you may work for more than one employer at the same time or consecutively. If you are a musician, dancer, or other type of artist, you may work for multiple short term employers. You may work for an employment, staffing, or consulting agency that sends you to short term jobs.
Many fields of study could qualify you for these types of positions, including business, labor relations, or the humanities. And you could be self-employed by starting a business. For example, you might have a robotics startup or create a grocery delivery app, like the successful one featured here, Rosie, based in Ithaca, founded by Cornellians. A key to any business's success is complying with all the legal requirements. So make sure yours is licensed appropriately.
Then there's work for hire. That's commonly known as 1099 employment, independent contracting, or freelance work. Independent contracting and freelance work qualify, so long as you follow the requirements of a minimum of 20 hours per week at a site that follows all labor laws. What about unpaid employment, such as internships or volunteering? Sure, you may work as a volunteer or unpaid intern. But the work must be at least 20 hours a week and follow all labor relation laws.
Time for a quick review. What is OPT? OPT is an extension of your visa that allows you to work in your field of study and gain professional experience. It can be for one employer or multiple employers. It can be for more than one employer at the same time or one at a time consecutively. The position could be freelance, independent contracting, or as an unpaid intern or volunteer. And it must be at least 20 hours per week at a site that follows all labor laws.
That's all for this section. Feel free to contact us if you have any questions. Email firstname.lastname@example.org, or phone us during business hours with urgent questions, 1-607-255-5243. Up next, how to apply for OPT.
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Optional Practical Training (OPT) is a benefit and extension of F-1 student status. It lets you apply what you learned in your degree program to off-campus work in your field of study.
Are you a Cornell international student thinking about applying for OPT? This video will help you get started. Find out more on the
F-1 OPT webpage at the Office of Global Learning International Services.