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What is the difference between OPT and CPT in the US?

OPT (Optional Practical Training) allows international students on an F1 Visa to work in the US temporarily. A student may apply for an OPT after completing the first year of studies. You may use your OPT before or after completing your course. An international student gets 12 months of OPT only. If the student uses 6 months of OPT during his studies, he would only be left with another 6 months of it.

CPT (Curriculum Practical Training) allows foreign students who are on an F1 Visa to have practical training related to their major. International students may get their practical experience directly through employment. CPT is a part of your curriculum. CPT can be done part-time or 20 hours or less per week.

The first difference between OPT and CPT is the time of eligibility for the programs. CPT has to be completed during your graduation. OPT, on the other hand, may be done before or after completing your studies.

The second difference is that CPT should be a requirement of your major. Your curriculum may allow you to take up a paid or unpaid internship. If your major does not need CPT, you must obtain course credits. OPT allows you to work anywhere you want and is not employer-specific.

The third difference is that OPT may be extended for 24 months but only for STEM graduates. CPT has no provision for extension.

You may be allowed to work full-time during your CPT but it is not advisable to do so. Working full-time during your CPT will affect your OPT. The number of months you work full-time during CPT will be deducted from your OPT, as per The US Travel Guide.

Even though you are allowed to use OPT during your studies, it is advisable not to. Utilizing your OPT after your studies give you more time to apply for an H1B Visa to extend your stay in the US. Finding an H1B Sponsor in the US is not very tough for international students. However, since the H1B Visa process involves a lottery, the more time you have the better it is for you.

Y-Axis offers a wide range of Visa and Immigration products as well as services for aspiring overseas students including Work Visa for the USA, Study Visa for the USA, and Business Visa for the USA.

If you are looking to Study, Work, Visit, Invest or Migrate to the USA, talk to Y-Axis, the World’s No.1 Immigration & Visa Company.

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