Students Currently on OPT
- F-1 students on post-completion OPT are limited to 90 days of unemployment.
- Students who have been approved for the 17-month STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) extension are given an additional 30 days of unemployment for a total of 120 days over the entire post-completion OPT period.
- Students who are unemployed beyond the 90-day limit may be denied future immigration benefits and are in violation of their F1 student status.
- You must report your employment to the Office of International Programs. We will report this information to USCIS Failure to report this information may result in termination of your SEVIS record and F1 student status. Please submit the Employment Verification Form to International Programs to report your employment.
- Volunteer work, internships, unpaid employment, and part-time jobs count as employment. If you do not find a job within the first two months of OPT, you may look for a volunteer position and/or an internship to work while you search for a full-time, paid position.
- If you are unable to find employment, you should make plans to change your status or leave the USA. If you will leave the USA, please contact the Office of International Programs to notify us of your departure so this information can be reported on your SEVIS record.
All students on OPT must submit the Employment Verification Form to the Office of International Programs (OIP) at least every six months to report your employment. This includes the following information:
- Your current address
- Explain how your employment is related to your course work - this is a brief statement about how your employment relates to the degree you completed at Roosevelt.
- For example: I received a MS in Accounting, I am working for my employer as a staff accountant.
- Are you Self-Employed (yes or no)
- Employer Name
- Employer Address
- Employer EIN (if available)
- Job Title
- Start Date
- End Date (if you change jobs or leave a position, you must report your last date of employment)
- Are you employed Full-time or Part-time (how many hours do you work per week)
- Supervisor (First and Last Name, Telephone Number, Email Address)
- If you have any additional information you would like to include in your record about your employment, you may add "Student Remarks"
Each student is responsible for reporting any change in the information above to International Programs within 10 days of the change. This includes adding an second employer, quitting or losing employment, change of job title, etc. Students must also report any changes in their address within 10 days of moving.
DHS recommends that students keep clear records for all periods of employment and unemployment during OPT. Students should keep a record of all reports made to the Office of International Programs as well as other proof of employment. The following list contains suggested evidence of employment:
- Pay roll or income tax information (including proof of filing your taxes)
- Description of work
- Signed letter from employer stating how nature of the work is related to student’s degree, if not already implicit in job description
You may be required to prove the existence (or nonexistence) of periods of unemployment in future petitions for immigration benefits; therefore, it is very important to document the start and end dates of any periods of unemployment, along with the employment information above. Remember, this is your responsibility.
STEM degree-holders (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) currently on OPT may qualify for a 17-month extension of OPT. The one-time extension applies to F-1 students currently on OPT based on completion of a degree earned in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields. USCIS created the extension so that employers may have a chance to file H-1B petitions, on behalf of STEM students, in two consecutive fiscal years if necessary. Applicants for the 17-month OPT extension must request a OPT STEM Extension and submit a new OPT application to USCIS. This application must be completed before the expiration of the EAD issued for post-completion OPT.
In the United States, each academic degree program or major has an accompanying Classification of Instructional Programs (CIP) code. For F-1 students, the CIP code is used in SEVIS as confirmation of the academic degree program or major name. A student’s CIP code must appear on the STEM Designated Degree Program List in order to be eligible for the 17-month OPT extension. To check your eligibility, locate your major name on Form I-20 and review the annotated STEM Designated Degree Program List (Please note the major name listed on Form I-20 may differ slightly from the title of your major at Roosevelt University): http://www.ice.gov/sevis/stemlist.htm.
The F-1/H-1B “Cap-Gap” occurs when an F-1 student's status expires before they can begin approved H-1B employment in the next fiscal year beginning October 1. The Cap-Gap Extension applies to all F-1 beneficiaries of H-1B and concurrent change of status petitions. Under this rule, F-1 status is extended while the H-1B petition is pending; F-1 students may remain in the U.S. until October 1 of the next fiscal year when their H-1B status begins. The student must have a valid EAD card at the time the H-1B application is submitted to USCIS in April.
Current interpretation of the new provision suggests the extension applies not only to F-1 status, but also to work authorization, through October 1. Limits of OPT unemployment continue through the Cap-Gap Extension period. The Cap-Gap Extension terminates when USCIS rejects, denies, or revokes the H-1B petition. F-1 students may only benefit from automatic Cap-Gap extension if they have not violated their status.