University of Minnesota
University of Minnesota
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F – 1 Students


 

 

Requirements While on STEM OPT

Update:

In August 2019, it was reported that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) started doing site visits at employers who hire students on STEM OPT. Site visits have always been permissible under STEM OPT regulations.

Employers providing practical training opportunities to STEM OPT students should plan in advance for site visits and ensure they are meeting the obligations of the training plan reported on a student's Form I-983. Employers and students should keep a copy of the I-983. While it is the employer's obligation to oversee a student's training plan, a student can initiate discussions to remind their employer and help ensure adherence to the plan including periodic evaluations.

Summary

  • Students who file a timely application can continue employment while the extension application is pending, until a final decision on the Form I-765 or for 180 days, whichever comes first.
  • Students are responsible for meeting all reporting requirements listed below. Failure to report any of these changes may result in the termination of your F-1 status.

Upon Receipt of Your STEM OPT EAD Card

Six-month Report

You must report to ISSS the following information every six months starting from the date your 24-Month STEM OPT begins using the 24-Month STEM OPT Reporting Form:

  1. U of M Student ID #
  2. SEVIS ID #
  3. Your name
  4. Your address
  5. Employer’s name
  6. Employer’s address
  7. Status of your current employment

*Send the report no earlier than 15 days before and no later than 15 days after the 6, 12, and 18-month dates from the start date of your 24-Month STEM OPT. This timeline accounts for ISSS's processing time. NOTE: You are responsible for keeping track of these dates.

Annual Training Evaluations

You must complete two self-evaluations using page five of the Form I-983 Training Plan. Submit evaluations via the 24-Month STEM OPT Reporting Form. NOTE: You are responsible for keeping track of these dates.

  • The first evaluation must be completed 12 months after the 24-Month STEM OPT start date on your EAD.
  • The final evaluation must be completed at the end of the 24-Month STEM OPT.

If you leave your job or change to a different visa status prior to the end date on your STEM OPT EAD, you must complete and submit a final evaluation on Form I-983. For more, review Reporting Employment Changes and Employment Limitations below.

NOTE: You are responsible for keeping track of these dates.

For further information, you can also review USCIS's STEM OPT Reporting Requirements.

Report Employment Changes

You must report to ISSS using the 24-Month STEM OPT Reporting Form within 10 days of the following changes:

  1. Adding, changing, or ending employment (you must also complete a new Form I-983 Training Plan each time you change employers.)
  2. Changes in employer’s name or address
  3. Material changes to an existing Form I-983
  4. Legal name changes

Notify ISSS if you decide to permanently depart the U.S. or change your visa status during your 24-Month STEM OPT.

Report Address Changes

You must use the SEVP Portal to report any residential address and telephone number changes. You should also continue to update your address and phone number on MyU so the University can contact you.

Employment Limitations

  • You may accumulate up to 90 days of unemployment during the initial 12-month period of OPT. You are allowed an additional 60 days of unemployment (150 days total). If you fail to report employment to ISSS, this time may be counted as unemployment.
  • Employment must be at least 20 hours per week.
  • Employment must be paid.
  • Employer must be enrolled in E-Verify
  • Employment may include multiple employers. You must fill out a new I-983 for each employer. Each employer must fulfill the STEM OPT requirements for employment.
  • Employment through contractual relationship, self-employment, an agency, or consulting firm may not be allowed for the 24-Month STEM OPT.
  • Keep written documentation of all employment for your records.

Travel

  • Under normal circumstances, a student who has (1) an EAD for 24-Month STEM OPT, (2) a valid F-1 visa, (3) an I-20 with travel signature within the last 6 months, and (4) a job or job offer should not experience difficulty reentering the U.S. If any of these conditions is missing, then the student is assuming risk.
  • For more information, go to Travel Information and look for the heading “F-1 travel during Post-Completion OPT only” near the bottom.
  • I-20 travel signatures are only valid for 6 months.
  • Per SEVP guidance, travel outside the U.S. is not recommended when your STEM OPT application is pending and your initial post-completion OPT EAD has expired.
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