Employment and Reporting Requirements

Employment Limitations

  • Employment must be paid.
  • Employment must be full time. More than 20 hours per week.
  • Employment must be directly related to your course of study. 
  • Limitation on Unemployment for the STEM OPT Extension. Students approved for the 24-month STEM OPT extension may not accrue more than a total of 150 days of unemployment throughout their entire 36 months on OPT. Time spent outside the United States, if not employed by a U.S. employer, is counted towards the 150-day period of unemployment. To count as “employed” a student should be able to provide evidence, acquired from the student’s employer, to verify that he or she worked at least 20 hours per week during the period of reported employment.
  • Unemployment Caution: SEVIS records will automatically terminate for students who have no employment reported for 150 days. Be sure that you have made alternate plans and communicated them to ISSO before your record is terminated. If you have any concerns, you can always contact your ISSO adviser.

Reporting Requirements 

There are three types of reporting requirements for students while on the STEM OPT extension:  
  • General Reporting: Any changes in the student’s legal name, address, employer, or employment status within 10 days of the change.
  • Validation Reporting: A 6-, 12- and 18-month validation report to the DSO that confirms the student’s name, address, employer name and address, and employment status are correct.
  • Self-Evaluations: Self-evaluations are submitted at the end of any employment and at the 12 and 24 month marks from the start date of the STEM extension.

General Reporting:   

During the STEM OPT extension period, such as the initial 12 months of post-completion OPT, the student must: 
  • Report to the DSO any changes in the student’s legal name, address, employer or employment status within 10 days of the change.
  • Change in status of current employment, including loss of employment,      change of status to H-1B, transfer to another F-1 program, or change      employers.  If you change employers, you and your employer will need      to complete a new Form I-983 and submit to ISSO. 
  • To report a change, students must complete the form listed below then submit to the ISSO with supporting documents:
    • Employment change:  Employment Information Waiver From 
    • Address change: AR-11 Form 
    • Name change or status change: Special Request Form 
    • Student and employers must also report a change in any of the following via the Form I-983
      • Employer name and address
      • Decrease in student's compensation
      • Reduction in hours worked to less than 20 hours a week
      • Employer's EIN
      • Termination of employment 

Validation /OPT Participation Report

During the STEM OPT extension period, the student must make a 6-, 12- and 18-month validation report to the DSO that confirms the student’s current name, address, employer, and employment status are correct.  This report is required every 6 months regardless if there is a change or not.
To fulfill the validation report requirement, students must complete the OPT Participation Report form then submit the completed form to their ISSO Adviser during the appropriate validation period.

         Activity   

                                     Time   line

  Validation   Reports due

  •   6 months after   start of STEM OPT Extension
  •   12 months after   start of STEM OPT Extension
  •   18 Months after   start of STEM OPT Extension
Students must fulfill this important requirement to have their SEVIS record validated three times during the STEM OPT extension. SEVIS will auto-terminate the student record, if the following statements are true:
  •   Student is in a period of active STEM OPT extension.
  •   SEVIS record was not updated to reflect the validation report.
  •   Date is 46 days after the reporting deadline

Self - Evaluations

Students must submit self-evaluations via the Form I-983 during the first 12 months on the STEM OPT extension and at the completion of the 24-month extension period or at the conclusion of employment, whichever comes first. Evaluations should be submitted within 10 days of the required date.

Students must create self-evaluations that detail the progress made toward the training goals outlined on the Form I-983 for that particular employer. An employing supervisor must confirm and sign each self-evaluation. DSOs must keep these self-evaluations in the student’s file. The submission timelines are below:
  • Student still works for original employer: Must submit a self-evaluation within 10 days of the 12- and 24-month marks of the start date of STEM OPT employment authorization.
  • Student changes employers before the 12- and/or 24-month marks: Must submit self-evaluation within 10 days of ending each employment with current employer.
Keep Records of your Employment

Keep records of your employment history for your personal file, to present as evidence of maintaining lawful status should you apply for future immigration benefits.

Examples of records to keep:

  • offer letters
  • contracts
  • payroll stubs
  • letters describing volunteer activity and hours