There are many options for internships in the United States. Some can take OPT internships within a short one year of study, particularly in some well-known schools and some schools with lower application thresholds. Alternatively, some can choose to apply for OPT after completing their degree. Regardless, there is only one type of OPT opportunity per degree, so it is important to decide which program to apply to at the outset. There are also students who want to do legal internships while studying, which not only builds their resumes and experience, but also reduces their burden in terms of living expenses. This is also an option that many people ask about.

“I finally graduated and managed to find an OPT job, but I didn’t get lucky on the H-1B lottery. I missed out on the annual draw, but I still want to stay in the US legally and work while continuing to go for an H-1B; what can I do?”

“I want to accompany my child as they continue studying in the United States, and I also want to do some work to earn some income and alleviate some of the pressure of living expenses; what options do I have?” In such situations, CPT is also an option. Let’s first understand what OPT and CPT are.

OPT (Optional Practical Training)

OPT is a formal program in the United States, and international students can apply for it after graduation. The duration is one year, although STEM students can have three years of OPT. Generally, international students make use of this after graduation as the F1 student visa internship period after graduation. During this period, you will have a work permit and can work with any company, but the content of your work must be related to your major. You will be able to stay in the US during this time with essentially no restrictions. International students must leave the United States if they do not apply for OPT within 60 days of graduation.

CPT (Curricular Practical Training)

CPT is a type of work permit that allows foreign students to work off-campus. CPT is approved by the school and indicated on the student’s I-20 form. Before applying for CPT, there must be a job offer. CPT generally requires registration of a relevant special course and credits that will be obtained through CPT. CPT is only used for course-related work before graduation, enabling students to earn credits while working and subsidize some household expenses along the way. Please note that the working hours and length of CPT will affect OPT rights; ask us for details.

CPT is suitable for students who:

  • Want to plan their time well from the beginning to maximize their work and internship time in the United States
  • Did not win the H-1B lottery in a given year and whose OPT is about to expire
  • Are planning to apply for H-1B the following year after their OPT expires
  • Missed the OPT application
  • Want to work legally with pay and gain practical experience
  • Want to accumulate practical experience while working and increase their H-1B lottery chances
  • Want to find mixed online and offline education, spend less time at school each semester, and have flexible class times

Regardless of your reason, we can help you continue to work in the United States legally and increase your H-1B success rate. Contact us now!

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