The University of Iowa

This page provides information about Optional Practical Training (OPT).  Please click on the links below to view information about OPT application processes and requirements.

Optional Practical Training (OPT) 12 Month Application

OPT is temporary employment authorization granted by the Department of Homeland Security to F-1 students. F-1 students may use OPT to participate in employment related to their degree following graduation.

Optional Practical Training (OPT) 24 Month STEM Application

The STEM OPT extension is a 24-month period of temporary training that directly relates to an F-1 student’s program of study in an approved STEM field.  The extension is available only to F-1 students currently authorized for and actively participating in the initial period of 12-month OPT who meet specific eligibility requirements. 

Optional Practical Training FAQ for Employers

An information resource for employers of students who are applying for the 24-month OPT STEM extension.

Optional Practical Training (OPT) Reporting Requirement

While on OPT you are still legally required to report certain information to ISSS. Changes to any of the following must be reported within 10 days of certain events.

H-1B Cap-Gap Extension of Optional Practical Training (OPT)

Current regulations allow certain students with pending or approved H-1B petitions to remain in F-1 status during the period of time when an F-1 student’s status and work authorization would otherwise expire through the start date of their approved H-1B employment period. This is referred to as filling the “cap-gap,” meaning the regulations provide a way of filling the “gap” between the end of F-1 status and the beginning of H-1B status that might otherwise occur if F-1 status is not extended for qualifying students.