March 7, 2023

Frequently Asked Questions: Optional Practical Training (OPT)


As a nursing student in the United States on an F1 Visa, you will need an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) to begin working as a registered nurse. The Optional Practical Training (OPT) EAD provides the authorization necessary to start. But what does OPT mean, and what does obtaining your authorization look like?

Here are a few frequently asked questions about OPT for nursing students:

Q: What is Optional Practical Training (OPT), and who is it for?

A: Optional Practical Training (OPT) Program allows international students studying in the United States to gain valuable work experience related to their field of study. This is an added benefit to any international nursing student studying at an accredited institution.

Q: How long does OPT last?

A: Optional Practical Training for nursing students lasts up to 12 months.

Q: How do I apply for OPT?

A: To apply for OPT, you must submit an application form, two passport-style photos, and other relevant documents. You can find more detailed information about the application process on your school’s website or through your academic advisor.

Q: Are there any restrictions on where I can work while on OPT?

A: As long as the job is closely related to your field of study and in line with the terms of the OPT program, then you are allowed to work almost anywhere in the U.S.

Q: Can I work in the hospital as a nurse?

A: Yes! If your degree is in nursing, you can work in a hospital facility as a Registered Nurse

Q: Is OPT a change of status?

A: No, OPT is a part of your F-1 status. That is while we file an adjustment of status for you while you are working on OPT.

Q: What happens when my OPT expires?

A: When a nursing student has OPT, we leverage this time to have them start working in one of our hospital facilities while we file the adjustment of status from F-1 to EB-3. If your OPT expires before you have received your Green Card, you are eligible to receive an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) from USCIS

Q: Does the student need a job offer before applying for OPT?

A: No, a job offer is not required to apply for OPT. It is good to note that during your 12-month OPT period, you are only allowed a total of 90 days of unemployment

Apply today!

If you are currently studying to become an RN on an F-1 Student Visa and would like to stay in the U.S. upon graduation, have a guaranteed job waiting for you, and receive permanent residency by becoming a Green Cardholder, Interstaff can help you. Apply with us today to learn more!