Procedures for Reporting OPT Employer Information
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) requires all students in F-1 status who have been granted Optional Practical Training employment authorization to report updated OPT Employer information including:
- Employer name and address
- How the job is related to your major field
- Whether your employment with each employer is full or part-time
- Your start date of employment for each employer, and end date if you have ended
The ISSO is required to report this information to DHS through the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS). You must begin reporting this information in the BU Student Link by the start date of your OPT and report changes or interruptions in your employment (within 10 days) during of all periods of post-completion of OPT.
The Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) has launched an SEVP Portal to assist student in reporting U.S. residential and mailing address, phone number and OPT employer. Use of this portal is optional and you must also update your U.S. residential address and OPT employer address in the BU Student Link.
It is your obligation to report this information. If you fail to report OPT activity/employment information to the ISSO, you could be considered in violation of your F-1 immigration status by the Department of Homeland Security.
Types of Post-completion OPT Activities that must be Reported
All OPT employment must be directly related to the student’s major field of study. Guidance from DHS indicates that they recognize paid and unpaid practical training experiences provided they are performed for at least 20 hours per week. Specific examples are listed on our OPT Employment Types page.
Procedures for Reporting OPT Location/Employer Information
The ISSO has developed the following procedure for you to report your OPT location/employer:
- Log on to the Student Link
- Click on the purple Personal tab
- Click on Address and Phone Number
- Click on OPT Employer Address, then follow the instructions on the web pages.
- Select the OPT Employment period for which you are reporting employment.
On this page the ISSO Employment Status reflects the status of your OPT application in ISSO records. If your OPT employment shows as RECOMMENDED, then ISSO has not received a copy of your Employment Authorization Document (EAD). Please submit a copy of your EAD through the ISSO OPT Web Portal to update our record, and to correct your dates of approved OPT, if needed. If your OPT Date Indicator shows both an ACTIVE and FUTURE period of OPT, you will need to update your OPT Employer information in both employment events.
- Select “Add” to add a new employer. Select “Edit” if you wish to modify details of a job already reporting, including changing the start or end date with this employer.
Reporting Multiple Employers
If you engage in OPT at more than one location/employer, use the procedure above to report the name, address and start date of each employer. It is critical that you maintain substantial documentation detailing the specifics of each employer and dates of employment for your own records. This is important because you could be required to provide this documentation to prove maintenance of status or to prove eligibility for immigration benefits in the future.
If your valid practical training experience is a self-owned business or organization, use the reporting procedures described above and select the “Self-Employed” button on the OPT Employer address screen.
Reporting Periodic Employment or “Gigs”
If you are a performer whose employment consists of short-term multiple employers (periodic “gigs”), or if your OPT activity otherwise consists of periodic employment with multiple employers, report all employers. It is critical that you maintain substantial documentation detailing the specifics of each employer and dates of employment for your own records. This is important because you could be required to provide this documentation to prove maintenance of status or to prove eligibility for immigration benefits in the future.
Interruptions in OPT Activity/Employment
DHS regulations require you to report that you have stopped your OPT employment if there is an interruption in your practical training. If you end your employment with one or more employers, enter an end date in that OPT Employer address.
How do students show that employment is directly related to their degree program?
The OPT Employer Address screen will ask you to explain how the current job is directly related to your program of study. Briefly describe the key duties of your job and explain how these are related to your major field.
Periods of unemployment or non-activity during post-completion OPT.
Students on post-completion OPT may have up to 90 days of unemployment or non-activity. Students who have OPT extended due to the cap gap provisions continue to accrue unemployment time and are subject to the 90-day limitation on unemployment.
Student approved for a 24-month STEM OPT extension may accrue an aggregate of 150 days of unemployment during the entire period of OPT (including the 12-months of post-completion OPT and the 24-month STEM OPT extension).
What is the effect on a student’s status if the student exceeds the period of unemployment or non-activity?
A student who has exceeded the period of unemployment while on post-completion OPT has violated his or her status unless he or she has taken one of the following actions:
- Applied to continue his or her education by a change of level or transferring to another SEVP-certified school
- Departed the United States
- Taken action to otherwise maintain legal status
Students are encouraged to contact the staff of the ISSO with questions relating to OPT activity and reporting requirements.