» Optional Practical Training (OPT)

Optional Practical Training or OPT allows you to work for one year, following graduation, in a job related to your major or field of study. Each semester, Susan Sams announces an OPT session for graduating seniors and grads which you are encouraged to attend for more detailed information. You can also make an appointment to speak with Susan Sams about OPT directly. Students must have been in good status as an F-1 visa student for at least one academic year at the time they are applying.

How to Report Employment to SEVIS

The Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) has launched the SEVP Portal for F-1 students participating in post-completion optional practical training (OPT). The portal will allow these (OPT approved) F-1 students to report personal and employer information directly to SEVP. Through the portal, these students will be able to:

  • Add or edit their phone number.
  • Add or edit their mailing and physical address.
  • Add or edit their employer information.

The only exception is that science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) OPT student trainees will not be able to add or change their own employer information. The Form I-983, “Training Plan for STEM OPT Students,” requires the student’s designated school official (DSO) to add employer information.

The student will receive an email from do-not-reply.SEVP@ice.dhs.gov. The subject line of the email will be: "Optional Practical Training Approval - the next step." Create an SEVP Portal account. The only way to get to the portal registration page is to use the link in this email. If a student does not receive a notification email they should:

  • Check their spam or junk mail folders.
  • Contact their DSO to:
  • Confirm that the correct email address is in their SEVIS record.
  • Request that the portal resend the account creation email.

STEM

Students who have received a bachelors, masters, or doctoral degree in certain STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) fields may be eligible for a 24 month extension on their OPT. This is a once in a life time extension that is approved by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services. Once approved, an Employment Authorization Document or EAD card will be issued which shows the dates the student is eligible to work in the United States. For more detailed information visit the U.S. Optional Practical Training Extension for STEM Students

STEM Requirements

  • Student must be on OPT at the time they apply
  • Student must verify that they've completed a STEM degree
  • Requirements for Employment:
    • Employment can be paid or unpaid
    • Employment must be at least 20 hours/week
    • Employment must be related to student’s field of study
    • Employer must be certified through the US Government’s E-Verify Employment Verification System
Please contact International Student & Scholar Services if you would like to participate in STEM.