OPT Reporting

Optional Practical Training (OPT) is an important opportunity for many F-1 students. To maintain F-1 status during OPT you must comply with U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) employment and reporting requirements. The UT Dallas ISSO provides the following information to assist you in meeting those requirements.

As of April 8, 2008, the Department of Homeland Security requires students to report to their schools all periods of employment and unemployment while authorized for OPT. This is in addition to the ongoing F-1 requirement of supplying changes of address. Updates must be reported within 10 days of any change. Please use OPT Reporting Form as often as is necessary to make sure the UT Dallas ISSO has your most current information. Please direct any questions regarding OPT reporting to ISSOcurrent@utdallas.edu.

Maintaining Your Visa Status While on Optional Practical Training

Reports You Must Make to Homeland Security

All F-1 Students on OPT – Within 10 days of each change, you are required to report the above, plus the following:

  • Current U.S. address
  • Change of your official name
  • Start or end of employment
  • Change of your employer's address
  • Change of your employer's name

All Students with an OPT STEM Extension – You are required to report all the above, plus the following:

  • Employment status, 6 months after your extension start date, even if your information has not changed.
  • Employment status, 12 months after your extension start date, even if your information has not changed.

How to Report

To report a change of address or employment complete an ISSO OPT Reporting Form and submit it via email, fax or in person to the UT Dallas ISSO. The ISSO will report your changes to Homeland Security.

Acceptable Employment

DHS has ruled that acceptable employment during OPT can include standard employment, contract employment, self-employment and volunteer positions. All employment must be appropriate to your degree and average at least 20 hours per week. Please refer to the following chart for more details.

Type of Employment

Instructions

Single Employer

Provide the employment dates and your employer's name and address.

None - Actively Seeking Employment

If you have been unemployed for more than 10 days since your OPT start date, indicate those dates. To remain in the U.S., you must be actively looking for relevant employment. In order to maintain your visa status, you must limit unemployment while on OPT to a total of 90 days or 120 days if you have been approved for the 17-month OPT extension.

Work for Hire (contract employment)

Provide the employment dates and your employer's name and address. If requested by DHS, you must be able to provide evidence that you worked an average of at least 20 hours per week.

Unpaid Volunteer or Intern

Provide the employment dates and your employer's name and address. If requested by DHS, you must be able to provide evidence that you worked an average of at least 20 hours per week and that the work was related to your OPT degree. This option is not available to students in the 17-month OPT extension period.

Self-Employed U.S. Business Owner

List your company's name or print "Self-Employed" and the business address. This location may be the same as your personal address, if appropriate. If requested by DHS, you must be able to provide evidence that you have proper business licenses, the business is related to your degree and that the business keeps you full-time employed.

Unemployment Limits

Students in Initial OPT Period – Maximum of 90 days allowed during the 12-month OPT period.

Students With an OPT STEM Extension – An additional 30 days applies, for a maximum of 120 days allowed during the 27-month OPT period.

NOTE: Periods of unemployment lasting less than 10 days do not count toward the maximum limit. DHS goes by the SEVIS system to calculate your days of employment/unemployment. It is crucial that you report all periods of employment to avoid unnecessary accrual of unemployment days.

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