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Unlocking the Potential: A Step-by-Step Guide to Applying for OPT and Launching Your Career in the United States


Are you an international student studying in the United States and looking to kick-start your career after graduation? The Optional Practical Training (OPT) program could be the key to unlocking your potential and launching your career in the United States. In this comprehensive guide, we will walk you through the step-by-step process of applying for OPT and provide you with valuable insights to make the most of this opportunity.

process of how to apply OPT visa

Step 1: Understand the Basics of OPT

Before diving into the application process, it’s important to have a solid understanding of what OPT entails. OPT is a temporary employment authorization granted to eligible F-1 visa students, allowing them to work in the United States for up to 12 months (or up to 36 months for STEM degree holders). It is designed to provide practical, hands-on experience directly related to the student’s field of study.

Step 2: Eligibility Criteria

To be eligible for OPT, you must meet certain criteria. This includes being enrolled in a full-time degree program at a Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP)-certified school, maintaining valid F-1 status, and completing at least one academic year (nine months) of full-time study. Additionally, you must not have used 12 months or more of full-time Curricular Practical Training (CPT) at the same degree level.

Step 3: Preparing for OPT

Before applying for OPT, it’s crucial to prepare the necessary documents and gather the required information. Some key documents and information you’ll need include:

  • Valid passport
  • Form I-20 (endorsed for OPT by your designated school official)
  • Form I-94 (arrival/departure record)
  • Completed Form I-765 (Application for Employment Authorization)
  • Application fee payment (check USCIS website for the current fee)
  • Passport-sized photos (following USCIS specifications)

Step 4: Filing the OPT Application

Once you have gathered all the required documents, you can file your OPT application with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). It is recommended to file your application within 90 days before or 60 days after your program end date. You can either submit your application online through the USCIS website or by mail.

Step 5: Waiting for Approval

After submitting your OPT application, the waiting period begins. USCIS processing times may vary, so it’s important to monitor the status of your application. Once approved, you will receive an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) card, which serves as proof of your eligibility to work in the United States. It’s essential to review the information on the EAD card for accuracy.

Step 6: Launching Your Career

With your EAD card in hand, you are now ready to embark on your career journey in the United States. Here are some tips to make the most of your OPT experience:

  1. Resume and Cover Letter: Tailor your resume and cover letter to showcase your skills, education, and relevant experience. Highlight your OPT status to make potential employers aware of your work eligibility.
  2. Networking: Build a strong professional network by attending career fairs, industry events, and leveraging online platforms like LinkedIn. Networking can lead to valuable connections and potential job opportunities.
  3. Internships and Externships: Consider internships or externships to gain practical experience and enhance your skills. These opportunities can provide valuable insights into the U.S. job market and help you establish professional relationships.
  4. Job Search: Utilize online job boards, career services at your university, and professional networks to search for job openings. Tailor your applications to meet the requirements of each position. 

Now, suppose you’ve successfully obtained your Optional Practical Training (OPT) authorization and are now ready to launch your career in the United States. One important aspect of making the most of your OPT experience is securing a job offer that aligns with your career goals and supports your OPT. In this step-by-step guide, we will walk you through the process of securing a job offer to support your OPT.

Know step by step how to secure a job offer to support your opt

Step 1: Define Your Career Goals

Before diving into the job search process, it’s essential to define your career goals. Identify your areas of interest, the industries you want to explore, and the type of job roles that align with your skills and qualifications. Having a clear vision of your career goals will help you target your job search effectively.

Step 2: Polish Your Resume and Cover Letter

Your resume and cover letter play a crucial role in grabbing the attention of potential employers. Tailor your resume to highlight your relevant skills, education, and any previous work or internship experiences. Make sure your cover letter is concise, engaging, and tailored to each specific job application. Highlight your OPT status and the valuable skills you bring to the table as an international student.

Step 3: Leverage Your University’s Career Services

Many universities in the United States offer career services to assist students with job searches and career development. Take advantage of these resources by attending career fairs, networking events, and workshops. Career services can also help you fine-tune your resume, practice interviewing skills, and connect with alumni who may provide valuable insights and job leads.

Step 4: Utilize Online Job Search Platforms

Online job search platforms are a valuable resource for finding job opportunities that align with your career goals. Websites like LinkedIn, Indeed, and Glassdoor offer a wide range of job listings across various industries. Use advanced search filters to narrow down your options based on location, industry, and job type. Save job searches and set up email alerts to stay updated on new job postings.

Step 5: Network, Network, Network

Networking is a powerful tool in securing job offers. Connect with professionals in your industry of interest through platforms like LinkedIn and attend networking events or industry conferences. Engage in meaningful conversations, express your interest in opportunities, and showcase your skills and knowledge. Networking can open doors to hidden job opportunities and referrals from industry insiders.

Step 6: Tailor Your Job Applications

When applying for jobs, it’s crucial to tailor your applications to each specific position. Carefully read the job descriptions, understand the requirements, and customize your resume and cover letter accordingly. Highlight how your skills and experiences make you a perfect fit for the role. Show enthusiasm and a genuine interest in the company and its mission.

Step 7: Leverage Internship and Externship Opportunities

Internships and externships can be stepping stones to securing a job offer. Look for opportunities to gain practical experience in your field of interest. Internships provide hands-on experience, help you develop new skills, and allow you to make valuable connections. If possible, target companies that have a history of hiring international students or have expressed interest in hiring OPT candidates.

Step 8: Follow Up and Stay Persistent

After submitting job applications or attending interviews, don’t forget to follow up with thank-you emails expressing your gratitude for the opportunity to be considered. Continue to stay persistent in your job search, reaching out to potential employers for updates or additional networking opportunities. Stay positive, confident, and resilient throughout the process.

Securing a job offer to support your OPT can be a challenging process, but with careful planning, persistence, and leveraging available resources, you can increase your positive chances very well. 

In conclusion, unlocking the potential of launching your career in the United States through the Optional Practical Training (OPT) program is an exciting opportunity for international students. By following the step-by-step guide outlined in this blog, you can navigate the application process and set yourself up for success.

At, we understand the unique challenges and aspirations of international students pursuing their career goals in the United States. That’s why we are committed to providing valuable resources, guidance, and support to help you make the most of your OPT experience.

Our platform offers a range of services to assist you in your job search, from resume and cover letter optimization to interview preparation and networking opportunities. We believe that by connecting talented international students with employers who value their skills and global perspectives, we can create meaningful career opportunities.

We encourage you to explore the job listings on geta-job, where you’ll find a wide range of opportunities that align with your career goals and support your OPT. Our user-friendly interface and advanced search filters make it easy to navigate and discover job openings in your desired industry and location.

Remember, securing a job offer to support your OPT requires dedication, persistence, and a proactive approach. Leverage your university’s career services, tap into online job search platforms, and network with professionals in your field. Tailor your applications, showcase your unique skills, and highlight the value you bring as an international student.

As you embark on this exciting chapter of your career, geta-job is here to support you every step of the way. We believe in the potential of international students and the valuable contributions they bring to the workforce. Together, we can unlock new opportunities, broaden horizons, and launch successful careers in the United States.

Start your journey to unlocking your potential with today and take the first step towards building a bright future in your chosen field. Good luck!



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