Students in F-1 status authorized for employment under OPT are responsible for maintaining their immigration status. According to federal regulations, F-1 students are required to report directly to the ISO information regarding their employment as well as changes to personal information and immigration status. Failure to comply with these reporting requirements may result in denial of future immigration benefits (i.e. extension of employment under the cap-gap rule and STEM program) and termination of status and OPT authorization.
Note: The same reporting is required during the cap-gap extension of OPT and penalties for failure to comply also apply.
Reporting change of address by updating your address on WEBSIS. When you lose access to WEBSIS, you send an email to email@example.com with your new address. Further, use this ISO email to report any of the information listed above.
Travel while on OPT is not restricted. However, in order to reenter the US after you complete your degree and during the entire OPT period, you should be in possession of your EAD card, OPT I-20 with travel signature, a valid F-1 visa, a valid passport, and a letter from your employer verifying employment. If you are missing any one of these documents you risk being denied entry and losing your OPT. While on OPT the travel signature on the I-20 form is valid for only 6 months.
After completion of degree, your F-1 status while on post-completion OPT depends on your employment. You are not permitted to accumulate more than a total of 90 days of unemployment for the entire period of 12 months of OPT. All students on post-completion OPT begin accumulating unemployment time if they are not employed in a job related to their major field of study (qualified employment).
What constitutes qualified employment?
Important: Accumulating more than 90 days of unemployment is a violation of your immigration status that could trigger termination of practical training. You may be required to apply for a reinstatement and lose the eligibility for OPT extension. (For more infomration, see the pages on 17-month STEM program extension or Cap-Gap rule.)