Once authorized for post-completion OPT, an international student is still on F-1 status and Adelphi University continues to oversee the SEVIS record.

While on OPT, the rules and student responsibilities are different from during your academic studies. In order to maintain valid F-1 status during this time, an international student must be employed in a qualifying position directly related to their academic major and comply with federal regulations and reporting requirements.

Student OPT Status Responsibilities

F-1 status is dependent upon employment during post-completion OPT. This means, as an international student with post-completion OPT work authorization, beginning from the start date shown on your Employment Authorization Document (EAD), you cannot accrue more than 90 calendar days of unemployment throughout the entire 12 month period of authorized OPT.

  • A student whose record lacks employer information is considered unemployed.
  • A student unemployed for more than 90 days while on standard post-completion OPT is considered no longer invalid status.

Students on post-completion practical training must use the SEVP Portal to report employment to the designated school official within 10 days of any change.

  1. The student will receive an email from SEVP directly, containing the steps to create a SEVP portal account.
  2. Watch the portal help videos and review portal resources to create your portal account and maintain your password
  3. If a student does not receive a notification email they should check their spam folders or contact their DSO to request that the portal resend the account creation email.
  4. Submit OPT Employment Update using the International Services Portal within 10-days or any change. Once received by the designated school official, an updated I-20 will be processed and provided to the student.

Employment during OPT must be directly related to the student’s major area of study. An F-1 student is responsible for providing a description of how their employment relates to their major using the SEVP OPT portal.

  • The written explanation should include the student’s job title, employer name, major area of study, whether full-time or the average hours worked per week, and a brief explanation of how the job is directly related to the student’s studies.
  • The regular duties should be explained, connecting those duties and the academic major.

The following are considered allowable employment activities while on active OPT, provided that the employment is directly related to the student’s academic major and work is at least 20-hours per week. If a student has a variable schedule, within a month, employment hours should average at least 20-hours per week. SEVIS will count each day that an OPT student’s SEVIS record is not covered by a start or end date with an employer, and infer that the student was unemployed during those days.

Type of Employment Requirements
Single-Employer Paid Employment You may work for one employer totaling more than 20 hours per week, and be related to your academic major.
Multiple Employer Paid Employment You may work for more than one employer. All positions combined must total more than 20-hours per week, and be related to your academic major.
Multiple Short Term Employers You may be employed by multiple short-term employers. You must be able to provide evidence of all employers showing that you are working an average of at least 20-hours per week.
Work for Hire You may be engaged in work for hire, commonly referred to as 1099 independent contractor employment, performing a service based on a contractual relationship rather than an employment relationship. You must be prepared to provide evidence showing the duration of the contract periods and the name and address of the contracting company.
Self Employed Business Owner You may start a business and be self-employed. You must be able to prove that you have the proper business licenses and are actively engaged in a business related to your degree program.
Employment through an Agency or Staffing Firm You may be employed through an agency. You must be able to provide evidence showing that you are working an average of at least 20-hours per week while employed by the agency.
Unpaid Employment You may serve as a volunteer or unpaid intern; where this does not violate any labor laws. You must be able to provide evidence that you performed services at least 20-hours per week.

Students should remain in the U.S. during the entire time the application for employment is pending.

A student who is engaged in post-completion OPT who travels outside the United States temporarily (i.e., less than 5 months) can be readmitted to resume employment for the remainder of the period authorized on their EAD card, provided:

  • The student has not exceeded the limits on unemployment while outside the United States and is returning to resume employment.
  • The student presents a valid Form I-20 endorsed by the DSO within the preceding 6 months.
  • The student presents an unexpired Employment Authorization Document (EAD card).
  • The student presents a valid Passport and F-1 visa (unless exempt from the visa requirement).
  • The student presents a letter indicating they are currently employed.
  • It is important to be aware of the requirements and limitations of traveling outside the United States while maintaining F-1 status during the period in which your OPT is in requested, pending, and approved status. Please review the ICE travel requirements for additional information.

Student and Exchange Visitor Program Resources

Students on post-completion practical training should create an online account using the SEVP Portal to comply with reporting requirements.
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