International Student Center
Current Students

Optional Practical Training

  • What is “practical training?”
    Practical training is a temporary work authorization for F-1 visa students, granted by the United States government, designed to give students an opportunity to gain working experience in their field of study prior to (pre-completion) or after graduation (post-completion).
    What kind of job can I get?
    The jobs you apply for must be closely related to your major field of study, and appropriate to your level of education.  The job can be anywhere in the United States.
    Who is eligible?
    Students who have been in the United States and in F-1 visa status for at least one academic year, and are currently in status as a full-time student, or are in their last quarter of degree completion.
    Who is not eligible?
    ·         Students who entered on an F-1 visa, but did not follow such regulations as completing a full course load each quarter, or keeping their documents valid.
    ·         Students who have worked illegally in the United States.
    When can I do practical training?
    Most students choose to do twelve months of full-time (40 hours/week) training after they complete their degree (post-completion practical training).  However, you also have the option of doing your training part-time while you are still a full-time student.  You can work up to 20 hours a week during the time school is in session, as long as you are able to complete a full course load at the same time.  Part-time (pre-completion) training is counted against the 12-month total as follows:  2 months part-time training=1 month full-time training. 
    When should I apply?
    Post-completion training
    It is recommended you apply as early as 90 days before the completion of all degree requirements. You must apply within 60 days of your graduation date.
    Pre-completion training
    At least 90 days before you would like to start working.

    When can I start working?
    Post-completion training
    You can request a particular day to start and end your training when you apply.  The start date you request can be, at the earliest, the day after you complete all degree requirements, and at the latest, 60 days after. You cannot start working before you receive your EAD, or before the start date on the EAD.
    Pre-completion training
    You can request any start date and end date of your training, as long as you remain in your full-time student status during the duration of your training. You cannot start working before you receive your EAD, or before the start date on the EAD.
    Where should I send my application?
    You cannot apply directly for this benefit.  You need to apply through the International Student Center (ISC) at Seattle University.  To apply, you will need to make an appointment at the ISC and bring in all of your documents.  We will take care of the necessary paperwork and make sure your application is complete before we mail it in.
    How long does it take?
    You will receive a receipt called the “Notice of Action” 2-4 weeks after sending your application. A few weeks or months after your receipt is sent, your EAD card will be mailed directly to the address you give on the application.  Normally the EAD is sent out within 60-90 days of receipt of your application.  Check with the ISC for an estimate for current processing times.
    How will I know if my application has been approved?
    Via the ISC, you will receive the Employment Authorization Document (EAD) card in the mail with your photo and the dates during which you are authorized to do training. Once you have received your receipt notice, you can also check the status of your individual application at
    How can I get more information about practical training?
    Call the International Student Center at (206) 296-6260 if you have any questions about practical training.  If you would like assistance with resume writing, interview skills, or other job search strategies, please contact the Career Services or the Albers Placement Center on campus.

    OPT Workshop

     Students interested in OPT must attend an OPT Workshop, which are offered monthly (Fall through Spring quarters)

     Please visit the Events site for details on the next OPT Workshop.