Maintaining Your Status on OPT

While on OPT, you are still on F-1 student status and OIS still oversees your SEVIS record. You must still keep your US address current with DHS and OIS. F-1 regulations require you to report employment to DHS. You can report this information through the SEVP Portal. Regulations allow you to change employers during the period of authorized practical training as long as the new employment continues to be directly related to your field of study.

In order to maintain your F-1 status while on OPT, please review and follow OPT reporting requirements and instructions on how to report employment through the SEVP Portal.

If you are on OPT and eligible to apply for STEM extension, you must apply before your current OPT ends. For eligibility requirements and application process, see STEM Extension.

Travel While on Post-Completion OPT

If traveling outside the US, you should travel with the following documents:

  • Valid F-1 visa (except Canadians)
  • OPT I-20 with valid travel signature on page 2 of the I-20 (less than 6 months old)
  • Valid passport
  • Employment Authorization (OPT) Card
  • Letter from Employer (recommended but not required)
  • Appropriate documentation that satisfies COVID-19 travel requirements (please refer to the updates on Presidential Orders and Proclamation on Travel and Immigration for more information)

While a valid F-1 visa is not required to apply for OPT or to remain in status in the U.S., student passports must always be valid for at least 6 months.