To maintain your F-1 status while on Post-Completion OPT, you must:
YES. F-1 students may not exceed 90 days of unemployment during their 12 months of Post-Completion OPT, and must report their employer’s name and address to their school within that time frame.
If you exceed 90 days of unemployment, the Department of Homeland Security plans to automatically terminate your SEVIS record in the future.
If your SEVIS record is terminated, your F-1 status and employment authorization will no longer be valid and you will have to leave the U.S. immediately.
Therefore, to maintain your F-1 status, you must report employment to ISS as soon as you accept a job offer and before you exceed 90 days of unemployment. Possible consequences to remaining in the U.S. after the 90-day deadline without a job include denial of future immigration benefits, detention and deportation, etc.
There are various types of employment you may accept while on Post-Completion OPT. When you report employment to ISS, you will be required to explain how your employment is directly related to your field of study.
Any employment you choose must be directly related to your program of study. It is your responsibility to prove and document how your employment is directly related to your field of study.
Employment can be part-time (at least 20 hours per week when on Post-Completion OPT) or full-time. There is no defined maximum number of hours one may work while on Post-Completion OPT.
All work must be related to your field of study.
Ex. Musicians and other performing artists may work for multiple short-term employers (gigs). You should maintain a list of all gigs, including dates and duration.
This is commonly referred to as “1099 employment”, which refers to an individual performing a service based on a contract. You should keep a record of the length of each contract as well as the name and contact information for each contracting company.
You may start a business and be self-employed. You must have proper business licenses.
You must keep proof that you worked at least an average of 20 hours per week while employed by an agency.
You may work as a volunteer or unpaid intern provided that you are not violating any labor laws. Please refer to the Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division page and their Fact Sheet 71 on internship programs for information.
It is essential that you report all employment to ISS, and keep documentation (e.g. employment letters, contracts, timesheets, pay stubs, etc.) of all of your employment while on OPT
Such documentation should include the position held, proof of the duration of that position, contact information for your supervisor and a description of the work. If it is not clear from the job description that the work is related to your field of study, then you should obtain a letter from your supervisor stating how your degree relates to the position.
You will not be required to submit this proof of employment to UB's Office of International Education, but it may be requested by USCIS if you are applying for future immigration benefits.
Each day of unemployment (including weekends) is counted towards the 90-day requirement for students on Post-Completion OPT. Time spent outside the U.S. counts as unemployment unless the travel was work-related or during an official leave from one’s job.
If you plan to travel outside the U.S. and the signature on page 2 of your OPT I-20 will be more than six months old at the time of re-entry, you need a new travel endorsement signature on your I-20. To request an updated I-20, log in to myISSS using your UBIT name and password, and click "Students Currently Approved for OPT", then "OPT Travel Validation Endorsement Request".
Please submit your request at least 10 business days before you plan to leave the U.S.
Login to myISSS using your UBIT name and password. Once you have logged on, enter your current residential address on the “Update OPT Student Contact Information” e-form. Then, update your employment information on the “Add or Update OPT Employment” e-form. You will be required to upload a copy of your EAD card (front side only).
If you previously reported employment to ISS and are no longer working for that employer, you must report your end date of employment. To report your employment end date, first enter your previous employer’s information on the “Add or Update OPT Employment” e-form. Then, on the same e-form, enter your new employment details. You can report up to three employers on the same e-form.
If after reporting updates you would like an updated I-20 or you need a reprinted I-20 for a reason other than travel you can request one on myISSS using the "I-20 Reprint Request" e-form.
All students on OPT have a 60-day grace period after their EAD expires. You are permitted to remain inside the U.S. during those 60 days to prepare for your departure, apply to change your status (if eligible) or begin a new degree program. If you are not admitted to a new degree program or do not submit a change-of-status application before the end of the 60 days, you must leave the U.S.
During your 60-day grace period, you may not work.
If a student on OPT fails to maintain their immigration status, as explained above, the student will violate their immigration status. Status violations are serious and can result in the accrual of unlawful presence. It is extremely important that you adhere to all reporting deadlines, understand your obligations as an F-1 student on OPT, and follow all state and federal laws. If you have questions about status violations while on OPT, please contact ISS.