Post OPT Responsibilities

Responsibilities for Maintaining F-1 Status while on Post-Completion of Studies OPT Policy (Regulations) and Practice (Advisement)

POLICY (Regulations) 

While you are under Post–Completion of Studies OPT, the important regulations state:

  • You may work only within the dates that you have been authorized on your EAD.
  • During Post–Completion OPT, your F-1 status is dependent on employment. As of April 8, 2008 regulation changes went into effect announcing that any student without employment within 90 days of the start of OPT will be considered in “violation of F1 status.”
  • You are required to report employment information within 10 days of change and you can report such information through the SEVP Portal:
    • Change of address and phone number.
    • Name and address of employer.
    • Change of name and/ or address of employer.
    • Any interruption of employment.

See Portal Handout for information regarding setting up a SEVP Portal Account

  • Since you are still an F-1 nonimmigrant while you are on OPT, you are still required to report the following information to OIS within 10 days of making the change:
    • Change of name (you must bring proof of your updated passport noting the change) 
  • You can only report employment through the SEVP Portal if you work for more than 20 hours per week.  If you have multiple employments which combined working hours are more than 20 hours per week, you can report through the SEVP Portal. However, you should update the SEVP Portal employment when your combined employment hours are no longer more than 20 hours.

PRACTICE (Advisement)

Report Your OPT Employer via the SEVP Portal within 10 Days of a Given Change

While on OPT, the US government requires you to report your employer information. While you are on post-completion OPT, you cannot be unemployed for more than 90 days.

Even though the regulations state that students approved for post-completion OPT may not accrue more than 90 days of unemployment during the approved OPT dates, immigration does not ask OIS officials to terminate your SEVIS record.

Please be aware that you must be up-to-date in reporting your OPT in your SEVP Portal, as immigration has been enforcing the 90-day unemployment rule on OPT. Since this rule's establishment, in which a student must not be unemployed for over 90 days on approved OPT, immigration has not taken any action against students until now.

Since August 26, 2020, immigration has been taking actions in enforcing this law by sending official mailed notices to students to report their employment via the SEVP Portal or otherwise face auto-termination of their SEVIS record within 15 days. Please note that as of late September, some universities have already faced auto-termination of their students' SEVIS records due to students not fulfilling their OPT reporting requirements, and/or being unemployed for over the allotted 90 days on OPT.

Therefore, we ask you to please take the following immediate steps to ensure that you meet your OPT reporting requirements:

  • Check your OPT employment in your SEVP Portal, and please make sure it is accurate, up-to-date and meets all of your program and OPT reporting requirements.
  • If you do not have access to your SEVP Portal, please contact [email protected] and fill out the Portal Reset Request Form, as listed in the instructions on how to report employment through the SEVP Portal you received in the notice email about your EAD card.
  • If you believe that you are over the 90 days of unemployment or do not fulfill the employment requirements for OPT, please consult with OIS, and an advisor can let you know your options based on your individual case accordingly.
  • Please remember: time spent outside the United States, if not employed by a U.S. employer, is counted towards the 90-day period of unemployment.

If you do not report your job information, or you are unemployed for 90 days while on OPT, the government could end your F-1 OPT and terminate your SEVIS record. You would then need to leave the US immediately. If you are not sure how to report your employment, please contact OIS, as listed above. You should get a link to the SEVP portal to do this once OPT begins.

OIS strongly encourages you to find a job on OPT and not to be unemployed for more than 90 days. Ultimately this 90 day tracking is a matter between you and immigration.

  • OPT Employment Reporting Procedure: You can report employment through the SEVP Portal. Please make sure it is accurate, up-to-date and meets all of your program and OPT reporting requirements. Details on how to access the SEVP Portal, please see attached Portal handout.
  • Do not leave the U.S. without guidance from OIS if you plan to return as an F-1 under OPT. You should consult with an OIS advisor before traveling.
  • Until you do secure employment, DHS has publicly recommended that you keep a journal/record of your job search, including sending resumes, interviews, etc.
  • Types of employment Allowed on Post- Completion OPT
    • Multiple Employers: You may work for more than one employer but all employment must be related to your degree program and equal full time (more than 20 hours/week.)
    • Work for Hire: Where you perform a service based on a contractual relationship rather than an employment relationship. keep documents showing the duration of the contract periods and the name/address of the contracting company
    • Self-employed business owner:  While on OPT you may start a business and be self-employed. You should be able to prove that you have the proper business licenses and are actively engaged in a business related to your degree program
    • Employment through an agency of consulting firm: You must be able to provide evidence showing that you worked an average of more than 20 hours/week while employed by the agency
    • Unpaid employment: You may work as a volunteer or unpaid intern, where this practice doesn't violate any labor laws.

If you are uncomfortable remaining beyond the 90 days only keeping records of your job search, the other options are:

  • Apply for a change your nonimmigrant status (e.g. F-1 to B-2)
  • Get into a new F-1 academic program
  • Leave the U.S.

Final Reminders

  • All decisions and responsibilities re: your F-1 status are yours.
  • You are still an F-1 while you are on OPT.
  • If you haven’t applied for a Social Security number, you can apply once your OPT begins.
  • Please feel free to consult with OIS at any time.
  • Since you have completed your program, you are no longer eligible to enroll in Fordham’s health insurance plan. If you wish to enroll in a health insurance plan, our professional association provided a list of health insurance companies that offer health insurance plans for international students.  Find more information for health insurance providers ISO and PSI.