Optional Practical Training

As SEVIS continues to update and add more reporting requirements and functions, DSU Alumni on OPT and the STEM Extension should be prepared to comply with any update requests from the International Programs Office and/or SEVP.

Starting in spring 2016, students on OPT whose employment information is not complete, or reflects more than 90 days of unemployment, may have their SEVIS record automatically terminated.

To maintain F-1 status during OPT comply with US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) employment and reporting requirements.

Report your OPT now

DHS requires students to report to their school all periods of employment and unemployment while authorized on OPT and changes of address.

Updates must be reported within 10 days of the start of your OPT work authorization and within 10 days of any subsequent change.

What to Report

  • All F-1 students on OPT within 10 days of the start of your period of OPT work authorization and within 10 days of any subsequent change, you are required to report the above, plus the following:
    • Current US address
    • Change of your official name
    • Start or end of employment
    • Change of your employer’s address
    • Change of your employer’s name
  • All students with an OPT STEM Extension – you are required to report all the above plus the following:

    • Employment status, 6 months after your extension start date, even if your information has not changed.
    • Employment status, 12 months after your extension start date, even if your information has not changed.
    • Updates to the following information will result in the ISO issuing an updated I-20:
      • Change of your official name
      • Start or end of employment
      • Change of your employer’s address
      • Change of your employer’s name
  • The ISO will mail your new I-20 to your current address. If you wish to receive it elsewhere or more quickly, you are welcome to arrange that using eShipGlobal.

Acceptable Employment

Listed below are the types of employment followed by OPT instructions.

Single Employer

Provide the employment dates and your employer’s name and address.

None - Actively Seeking Employment

If you have been unemployed for more than 10 days since your OPT start date, indicate those dates. To remain in the US, you must be actively looking for relevant employment. In order to maintain your visa status, you must limit unemployment while on OPT to a total of 90 days or 120 days if you have been approved for the 17-month extension.

Work for Hire (Contract Employment)

Provide the employment dates and your employer’s name and address. If requested by DHS, you must be able to provide evidence that you worked an average of at least 20 hours/week.

Unpaid Volunteer or Intern

Provide the employment dates and your employer’s name and address. If requested by DHS, you must be able to provide evidence that you worked an average of at least 20 hours/week and that the work was related to your OPT degree. This option is not available to students in the 17-month OPT extension period.

Self-Employed US Business Owner

List your company’s or “Self-Employed” and the business address. This location may be the same as your personal address, if appropriate. If requested by DHS, you must be able to provide evidence that you have proper business licenses, the business is related to your degree and that the business keeps you full-time employed.

Unemployment Limits

Students in Initial OPT Period – Maximum of 90 calendar days allowed during the 12-month OPT period.

Students with an OPT STEM Extension – An additional 30 days applies, for a maximum of 120 calendar days allowed during the STEM Extension period.

More Details on the OPT STEM Extension

In August 2015, a US District Court decided that the current STEM OPT and Cap Gap OPT employment benefits which allow F-1 graduates of certain STEM degrees additional time remain in the US and work in their fields would expire in February 2016. That court has now extended the expiration date of those employment benefits until May 10, 2016. The extension was granted to allow DHS time to finalize new rules about employment benefits. Based on the proposed rules they published October 2015, these benefits are likely to be broader than what currently exists.

Current Status of OPT STEM Eligibility:

F-1 alumni may continue to file, if eligible, for the 17-Month STEM OPT Extension. There are still no changes for students pending or approved for this extension of employment authorization.

Proposed Significant Changes to Current OPT STEM Regulations: 

  • Lengthened STEM Extension Period for OPT.
  • Mentoring and Training Plan.
  • Previously Obtained STEM Degrees.

The full text of the proposed rule may be found on the Federal Register

Questions?

Please feel free to Contact the ISO if you have any questions at email us at international@dsu.edu or Skype us at dsu_international.

Report your OPT now!