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International Student Services

Eligibility for OPT

Post-completion OPT

  • You do not need a job offer to apply for post-completion OPT.
  • You need to be a degree-seeking student who has been in full-time student status for at least one academic year.
    • Exchange students do not qualify for OPT, as they will not obtain a degree from the University of South Carolina.
  • If you are in the dissertation phase of your PhD degree, then you can apply for post-completion OPT prior to your actual graduation. It is typically recommended that you pursue post-completion OPT in this situation rather than pre-completion OPT. 

Pre-completion OPT

  • Federal regulations do not required you to have a job offer to apply for pre-completion OPT. However, ISS strongly recommends that you do not apply for pre-completion OPT without a job offer, as you risk wasting your post-completion OPT time if you are not able to find a job. 
  • You need to be a degree-seeking student who has been in full-time student status for at least one academic year.
    • Exchange students do not qualify for OPT, as they will not obtain a degree from the University of South Carolina.

24-month STEM OPT Extension

See the STEM Optional Practical Training section of the ISS website.


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