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I am an F-1 student who earned a Bachelor’s degree and used 6 months of my OPT. Can I use the remainder of the OPT if I get a second Bachelor’s degree?

By November 15, 2023Family Immigration
Student reading

Foreign nationals who come to the U.S. on F-1 student visas may have the opportunity to apply for work authorization before or after their graduation. This process is called Optional Practical Training (OPT). If a student has been in a full-time academic program for at least one year at a college, university, conservatory or seminary and are not studying English as a second language, they may be eligible for OPT.

Generally, students who are eligible for OPT are eligible for 12 months of OPT per educational level. For example, if a student earned a Bachelor’s degree, they would be eligible for 12 months of OPT. If that student then obtained a Master’s degree, they would be eligible for another 12 months of OPT. Some students may obtain a Bachelor’s degree and use OPT and then decide they want to pursue another Bachelor’s degree. If this student previously used 12 months of OPT during or after their prior Bachelor’s degree program, they would not be eligible for any OPT as part of the second Bachelor’s degree program. However, if the student had only used 6 months of their OPT time during the prior Bachelor’s degree program, they would be eligible to use the remaining 6 months of OPT time during the second Bachelor’s degree program.

OPT can be a valuable way for foreign national students to gain work experience in the U.S. If you are an international student, it is important to speak with your Designated School Official to ensure you are aware of your options for OPT.

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