Once USCIS approves the OPT, you will receive an Employment Authorized Document (EAD) card. You cannot begin work until you have received the EAD. The EAD will explicitly state the dates you are authorized to work. All OPT employment must be directly related to your major field of study AND occur within the periods of authorized employment as shown on the EAD.
1: Email a Copy of your EAD to OGS at firstname.lastname@example.org
2: Report Employment and Unemployment
Report Employment or Unemployment beginning on your OPT start date. If you have a paid or unpaid job or internship, you will need to report the name and address of your employer. If you do not have a job yet, you will need to report that you are unemployed and looking for work. Each day of your OPT period must be documented as either employed or unemployed, so please provide accurate start and end dates. Failure to do so could result in miscalculation of the number of days of unemployment and even the auto-termination of your SEVIS record and legal status.
3: Report All Employment and U.S. Address Changes
Report any changes to your employment, unemployment, or address within 10 days of any change for the duration of your OPT period.
- Report or Update Periods of Employment or Unemployment
- Update Your U.S. Address
- Report Early Completion of OPT
Additional Reminders and Information about OPT
Report any additional changes, including names changes, admission to a new academic program, and change in your non-immigrant status to your IS Advisor.
During post-completion OPT, you are allowed to accrue no more than 90 days of unemployment, including any time covered by the H-1B Cap-Gap.
Following the end of a successful OPT period, you have a 60-day grace period during which you prepare to leave the United States, apply for a change of immigration status, or transfer your F-1 status to begin a new academic program.
If you graduated with a specialized degree in qualifying science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields and have a job offer from an E-Verify employer, you are eligible for an additional, one-time, 24-month extension of your OPT work authorization. You will also be allowed to have a total of 150 days of unemployment. Apply for a STEM Extension.
- OPT (FAQs)
- Driver's License
- Social Security Number*
- *If you do not have an SSN, you will need to apply for one as soon as your EAD start date is valid.
Failure to comply with your responsibilities while on OPT may result in the loss of your immigration status. While the Government of the United States considers you to be solely responsible for maintaining your legal status, please be assured that OGS continues to be a resource for you during this period.