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OPT Visa Meaning: Everything F-1 Students Should Know

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Education in the USA exposes international students to the greatest career opportunities, including getting an opportunity to work under an OPT visa. This is a work permit or visa that allows students in US universities and colleges to start working immediately to gain work skills. In case you are wondering about the OPT visa meaning, the initials stand for optional practical training.

If you are an F-1 student — meaning an international student in an academic program in the USA — then you need to know how you can benefit from the OPT visa to gain experience. That said, let's dive into important things you should know to understand the OPT visa meaning more fully.

OPT Visa Meaning: It Offers You Practical Skills

So, what is the OPT visa meaning? As mentioned, this is optional practical training. F-1 students can gain practical skills from various companies and organizations immediately after they finish their diploma or degree program. It is like an internship except that this is better and longer.

American employers are eager to give international students the skills they need before they move to the next level of life. As such, you should take advantage of this opportunity, and the Interstride website can give you more information on the subject.

It Is a Temporary Visa

As you continue to understand the OPT visa meaning, it is worth knowing that it is a temporary visa. It allows F-1 students to enter into the practical program for a period of 12 months after their academic program is over.

However, science, mathematics, and engineering students who need more time to gain experience are given two years to work under the OPT program. In fact, this could increase to up to 3 years with a special extension program.

The OPT Visa Gives You an Opportunity to Stay Longer

According to studies, most international students wish to stay longer in the USA and even try their luck with a green card and other residency permits. According to the OPT visa meaning, F-1 students get an opportunity to stay in the country for one more year, or two, after their academic program.

As you pursue the training, you can work on other permits, especially through the help of an employer who wants you to continue working for them. As an international student, you should embrace this opportunity for an extended stay in the USA.

OPT Visa Meaning: It Is a Part of the Immigration Process

When exploring the OPT visa meaning, we mentioned that this is a temporary stay visa. Most residents who were once F-1 students and ended up becoming USA residents used the OPT visa at some point.

We have already mentioned that even applying for a green card while in the USA is easier, and you can use this opportunity to extend your stay as you pursue your permanent residency visa.

Final Words

If you are an international student in a US educational institution, you should understand the OPT visa meaning and how to take advantage of it to gain practical skills in your line of study while extending your stay in the USA. Additionally, you can use it to gain permanent residency in the country.