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employment

In order to maintain valid F-1 status, a student must not work in the United States, unless the employment is specifically authorized under the regulations. Always contact your Designated School Official (DSO) for assistance and guidance.

Types of employment available to F-1 students:

on-campus employment

F-1 students are generally permitted to work part-time on the premises of the school that issued their currently valid I-20, with the school as the employer, while they are attending that school and maintaining their F-1 status. Contact your Designated School Official (DSO) for assistance.

ELIGIBILITY

  • Valid F-1 status
  • Valid, unexpired Form I-20 from DeVry University
  • Maintain full-time enrollment status
  • Employment is incident to status, and does not require any authorization in SEVIS or DHS approval.

EMPLOYMENT DETAILS

  • Initial and transfer students may begin on-campus employment up to 30 days prior to the program start date on the Form I-20
  • May be part-time (1-20 hours each week) while school is in session; and full-time (21 or more hours each week) during vacation and official school breaks.
  • Can be in any on-campus position; does not have to be related to course of study.
  • Cannot work on campus after the completion of program requirements
  • Cannot work on campus once transferred out of DeVry University
  • Cannot work on campus while out of F-1 status

CURRICULAR PRACTICAL TRAINING (CPT)

The regulations state that a student may participate in a "curricular practical training program" that is "an integral part of an established curriculum" and "directly related to the student's major area of study."

CPT is a possible benefit of F-1 status, not an entitlement. The primary purpose of F-1 status is study, not employment. Contact your Designated School Official for assistance. Your DSO will make determinations of CPT eligibility and has the discretion to authorize CPT where the proposed training satisfies federal regulations and the DVU CPT program.

PRECONDITIONS

  • For students to receive CPT, the training (and employment associated with the training) must be "an integral part of an established curriculum" and "directly related to the student's major area of study."
  • Students must have been lawfully enrolled on a full-time basis for one full academic year before being eligible for CPT.
  • Available only while student is in F-1 status, before completion of the educational objective.

LOCATION

  • Students may engage in CPT only for the specific employer, location and period approved and recorded by the DSO in SEVIS.

DURATION

  • CPT may only be authorized for the duration of the term(s) in which you are enrolled in the applicable coursework.
  • There is no cumulative maximum, but 12 months or more of full-time CPT eliminates eligibility for OPT.

HOURS PER WEEK

  • Students can work up to 20 hours per week while school is in session and up to 40 hours per week during vacation and official school breaks.
  • Student must continue to maintain a full course of study in F-1 status during the period of employment.

OFFER OF EMPLOYMENT/TRAINING

  • Students must have an offer of employment or training from an employer offering work or training that qualifies as curricular practical training.
  • A student can engage in CPT employment only for the employer identified in the authorized CPT segment and for the specific employment on which the CPT authorization was based.
  • CPT can be paid or unpaid.

EFFECT ON OTHER WORK

  • Use of full-time CPT for one year or more eliminates eligibility for Optional Practical Training.
  • Use of part-time CPT (20 hours or less) does not affect eligibility for Optional Practical Training.

APPROVAL PROCESS

  • DSO must update SEVIS with CPT authorization.
  • Student cannot begin CPT until CPT Employment Start Date recorded in SEVIS.
  • DSO will also print out an updated Form I-20 reflecting the CPT authorization. The student will need this when completing Form I-9 for the employer. USCIS approval is not required, and no Employment Authorization Document (EAD) is issued.

OPTIONAL PRACTICAL TRAINING (OPT)

Note: USCIS recently updated Form I-765. The updated version of Form I-765 is seven pages and dated 05/31/18 in the bottom left hand corner of the form. USCIS stopped accepting all previous versions of Form I-765 as of 09/17/2018. Always check www.uscis.gov for the most current Form I-765.

F-1 students may qualify for optional practical training, commonly called OPT, which allows the student to engage in temporary employment to gain practical experience in their field of study. Students may request up to one year of OPT per educational level (ex: one bachelors = one educational level, two master's degrees = one educational level). Contact your Designated School Official (DSO) for assistance.

There are two general types of optional practical training:

  1. Pre-completion OPT, available before the student's program end date; and
  2. Post-completion OPT, available after the student's program end date

Post-completion OPT is further subdivided into:

  1. Standard post-completion OPT
  2. STEM extension OPT
  3. H-1B cap-gap extension OPT

PRE-COMPLETION OPT

Pre-Completion OPT allows students who have not yet completed a degree program to be authorized for employment.

Eligibility

  • Must be enrolled full-time for at least one academic year (four sessions).
  • Currently in valid F-1 status.
  • Will complete degree in a future semester.

General Information

  • Total of one year of OPT per educational level, whether pre- or post-completion.
  • USCIS takes at least 90 days to adjudicate – can apply up to 90 days before one academic year is up.
  • Start date must be after one academic year of full-time enrollment.
  • End date cannot exceed actual program completion date.
  • Part-time employment while school is in session.
  • May apply for full-time during vacation periods.
  • Student must be enrolled full-time.
  • Report all changes in name, address and employment throughout all periods of OPT.
APPLICATION PROCESS

School

  • Contact your DSO to request and complete the appropriate school forms.
  • Complete the form and provide to DSO with any additional required documents.
  • You will receive a signed I-20 from your DSO with the appropriate recommendation – sign it and have the DSO image a copy into your student file.

USCIS

  • Compile the application, make a copy for your personal file and mail the application to USCIS. Always check the www.uscis.gov for the most current Form I-765, payment amounts, where to mail your application, and instructions on how to complete the form.
  • USCIS must receive your application within 30 days of the date the OPT I-20 was issued. Applications received beyond 30 days of the OPT I-20 issue date will be denied.
  • If approved, an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) will be mailed directly to student. Ensure that your email address in SEVIS is always current.
  • Provide your DSO with copies of the Form I-797 Receipt Notice, Approval Notice and Employment Authorization Document (EAD) card as you receive them.

Post-Completion OPT

Post-completion OPT provides for up to one year of practical training authorization after completion of studies. Students can apply up to 90 days before and up to 60 days after program completion.

Students are recommended to apply as soon as they are able to (up to 90 days before program completion) in order to avoid losing days of employment availability. OPT must be completed within 14 months from the program completion date.

Eligibility

  • Must be enrolled full-time for at least one academic year (four sessions).
  • Currently in valid F-1 status.
  • Will complete degree before the OPT start date.

General Information

  • Can apply up to 90 days before, and up to 60 days after the program end date.
  • Must be employed full-time throughout OPT duration.
  • Intend to work in a position directly related to your major field of study.
  • Start date must be after program completion date.
  • End date can be up to one year from start date – OPT employment must be completed by end date.
  • Must not begin OPT until EAD card is received, and the start date of OPT has reached.
  • USCIS must receive OPT application paperwork no later than 30 days from the OPT recommendation date in SEVIS, and before 60 days from the program end date.
  • Report all changes in name, address and employment throughout all periods of OPT.
  • Cannot be unemployed for more than a total of 90 days.
  • You have a 60-day grace period after completion of OPT to:
    • Prepare to depart the U.S.
    • Obtain a new I-20 for a new program of study
    • Or take additional steps to maintain legal status
APPLICATION PROCESS

School

  • Contact your DSO to request and complete the appropriate school forms.
  • Complete the form and provide to DSO with any additional required documents.
  • You will receive a signed I-20 from your DSO with the appropriate recommendation – sign it and have the DSO image a copy into your student file.

USCIS

  • Compile the application, make a copy for your personal file and mail the application to USCIS. Always check www.uscis.gov for the most current Form I-765, payment amounts, where to mail your application, and instructions on how to complete the form.
  • USCIS must receive your application within 30 days of the date the OPT I-20 was issued, and before 60 days from your program end date. Applications received within 30 days of the I-20 issue date, but beyond 60 days from the program end date may be denied.
  • If approved, an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) will be mailed directly to student. Ensure that your email address in SEVIS is always current.
  • Provide your DSO with copies of the Form I-797 Receipt Notice, Approval Notice and Employment Authorization Document (EAD) card as you receive them.

Travel While on Post-Completion Optional Practical Training (OPT)

Visit the following website for guidance about travel while on post-completion OPT: https://www.ice.gov/sevis/travel


24-Month OPT STEM Extension

Authorization to engage in optional practical training employment is automatically terminated when an F-1 student transfers to another school or begins study at another educational level.

24-Month OPT STEM Extension

Students who enroll or have enrolled in a STEM-designated degree program, are eligible to apply for a 24-month STEM OPT extension. Interested F-1 students must first request for an I-20 with STEM recommendation from their DSO, and then apply for and receive an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Contact your Designated School Official (DSO) for assistance.

Eligibility

  • F-1 students with a STEM degree who have been granted 12 months of post-completion OPT may apply.
  • The STEM degree must be awarded by an accredited U.S. College or University.
  • The extension may be based upon your most recent STEM degree or a previous one that was conferred within the last 10 years preceding the date of request.
  • You must complete the Form I-983, Training Plan for STEM OPT Students, with your employer and submit to your DSO. It can be found at https://www.ice.gov/doclib/sevis/pdf/i983.pdf
APPLICATION PROCESS

School

  • Contact your DSO to request and complete the appropriate school forms.
  • Complete the form and provide to DSO with any additional required documents.
  • You will receive a signed I-20 from your DSO with the appropriate recommendation – sign it and have the DSO image a copy into your student file.

USCIS

You can apply for 24-month STEM OPT Extension no sooner than 90 days prior to your current OPT end date and no later than the day your current EAD card expires. As long as your application is received by USCIS by your current EAD end date, you will be allowed to remain in the U.S. and continue employment for 180 days or until a decision is made on your application.

  • Compile the application, make a copy for your personal file and mail the application to USCIS. Always check www.uscis.gov for the most current Form I-765, payment amounts, where to mail your application, and instructions on how to complete the form.
  • USCIS must receive your application before your period of initial OPT ends.
  • If you are in a period of post completion OPT your authorization will extend up to 180 days past the OPT expiration date while the extension application is pending. However, during that time you must meet the job requirements of the extension, such as working for an E-Verify employer.
  • If approved, an OPT extension Employment Authorization Document (EAD) will be mailed to the address listed on the submitted I-765 showing 24 months of OPT.
  • Provide your DSO with copies of the Form I-797 Receipt Notice, Approval Notice and STEM EAD card as you receive them.



24-Month STEM OPT Reporting Requirements

In order to maintain your F-1 status while on STEM OPT, you must check in regularly with your DSO to report changes (within 10 days of change), and validate your information in SEVIS.

Validating SEVIS Information

Every 6 months from the start date listed on the STEM OPT EAD authorization, submit the Post-Completion Optional Practical Training Employment Reporting Form with your current employment information and current residential address – even if it has not changed. This must be submitted within 10 days of the due date, which is exactly 6, 12, and 18 months from the start date of your STEM OPT EAD authorization.

Annual Self Evaluation

Submit an annual self-evaluation in the Form I-983 to report about the progress of your STEM OPT Training experience. 

  • At 12 months from the STEM OPT start date, you must complete and sign the top portion on page 5 of the Form I-983 and submit to your DSO within 10 days.
  • At the end of STEM OPT (24 months), you must complete and sign the bottom portion on page 5 of the Form I-983 and submit to your DSO within 10 days.

Material Changes to Existing Form I-983

  • You must submit any material changes to your Form I-983 training plan, by submitting a modified form. These include, but are not limited to:
  • Change in Employer EIN.
  • Reduction in student compensation that is not tied to reduction in hours worked.
  • Significant decrease in work hours per week.
  • Changes to the employer’s commitments or student learning objectives

Report Changes to Your Employer or Employment

Submit both the Post-Completion Optional Practical Training Employment Reporting Form, and the Form I-983 (for both previous and new employer as needed) with any changes in Employer or Employment information.

Report Changes to Your Name or Address

  • Option #1: Contact Update Form – for changes in your name or residential address, submit a Contact Update Form to your DSO. Your DSO will provide you with a copy of the Form.
  • Option #2: SEVP Portal and Contact Update Form – You may report some changes in SEVIS via the SEVP Portal. Updating the SEVIS portal does not eliminate the need for you to report to your DSO in the form of a completed Contact Update Form.

Unemployment Limit

Students on the 24-month STEM OPT extension are able to access unused days of employment from the initial OPT period plus an additional 60 days of unemployment for a maximum period of 150 days of unemployment.

Severe Economic Hardship

Severe Economic Hardship is for F-1 students who experience severe changes in funding that are unforeseen and uncontrollable.

  • Provides one year of off-campus work authorization before completion of studies.
  • Authorizes work up to 20 hours per week while school is in session, and 21 or more hours during vacation, and official school breaks
  • Student must maintain full-time enrollment.

 

Eligibility

Must be lawfully enrolled full-time for at least one academic year (2 semesters or 4 sessions).

  • Something unexpected happened to student’s funding since arriving in the U.S., such as sponsor dies or unexpected medical bills.
  • Must be in valid F-1 status.
  • Good academic standing.
  • No On-Campus employment available to student.
APPLICATION PROCESS

School

  • Contact your DSO to request and complete the appropriate school forms. 
  • Complete the form and provide to DSO with any additional required documents.
  • You will receive a signed I-20 from your DSO with the appropriate recommendation – sign it and have the DSO image a copy into your student file.

USCIS

  • Visit www.uscis.gov for the most current Form I-765, and instructions on how to complete and mail application to USCIS.
  • Compile the application, and make a copy for your personal file prior to mailing it.
  • USCIS processing usually takes about three months, or more.
  • If approved, USCIS will send you an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) authorizing off-campus employment.
  • You can begin work once you receive the EAD card and reach the start date listed on it.

Internship with an International Organization

This F-1 employment benefit allows F-1 students to work for recognized International Organizations as defined by the International Organization Immunities Act. A list of recognized organizations can be found at https://www.archives.gov/federal-register/codification/executive-order/09698.html.

Eligibility

  • Active F-1 status
  • Must still be enrolled in school

Employment Information

  • Must be with a qualified International Organization
  • Authorized by USCIS in increments of no more than one year.
  • May be full-time or part-time employment, however, student must maintain full-time enrollment status.
  • Does not have to be related to field of study
  • Must have written offer of employment.
  • Must apply for and receive Employment Authorization Document (EAD) prior to beginning employment.
APPLICATION PROCESS

School

  • Contact your DSO to request and complete the appropriate school forms.
  • Complete the form and provide to DSO with any additional required documents.
  • You will receive a signed I-20 from your DSO with the appropriate recommendation – sign it and have the DSO image a copy into your student file.

USCIS

  • Visit www.uscis.gov for the most current Form I-765, and instructions on how to complete and mail application to USCIS.
  • Compile the application, and make a copy for your personal file prior to mailing it.
  • USCIS processing usually takes about three months, or more.

If approved, USCIS will send you an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) authorizing off-campus employment. You can begin work once you receive the EAD card and reach the start date listed on it.

REPORTING

Optional Practical Training (OPT) Employment Reporting

To maintain F-1 status during OPT, comply with U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) employment and reporting requirements. DHS requires students authorized by USCIS to engage in OPT to report any change of name or address, or interruption of such employment within 10 days of the change. The changes can be made personally via the SEVP Portal, or to your DSO by completing the OPT Post-Completion Reporting Form.  

WHAT TO REPORT

All F-1 students on OPT are required to report the following within 10 days for the OPT Start Date, and also within 10 days of any subsequent changes:

  • Current U.S. physical/mailing address
  • Change of official name
  • Start or end of employment 
  • Change of your employer’s address
  • Change of your employer’s name

All students on OPT STEM Extension must report all of the above, plus the following:

  • Employment status after 6 months from the OPT STEM extension start date, even if your information has not changed. The DSO is required to report this in SEVIS.
  • Employment status after 12 months from the OPT STEM extension start date, even if your information has not changed. The DSO is required to report this in SEVIS.

Updates to the following information will require an updated Form I-20 to be printed:

  • Change of your official name
  • Changes in employer information – name, address, etc.
  • Start or end of employment

REPORTING OPTIONS

  • Option One: OPT Post-Completion Reporting Form

Contact your DSO to complete the OPT Post-Completion Reporting Form. Once that has been completed, the updates will be reported in SEVIS and an updated I-20 issued to student.

  • Option Two: SEVP Portal 

F-1 students can also report employment via the SEVP Portal. Updating the SEVP Portal does not eliminate the need to report employment to your DSO by completing the OPT Post-Completion Reporting Form. The DSO must be alerted in this way whenever an update is made via the SEVP Portal. This will allow the DSO to issue an updated Form I-20 when needed.

SEVP Portal

Effective March 23, 2018, the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) launched the SEVP portal that allows F-1 students on Post Completion OPT and STEM OPT to update certain information on their own. The SEVP Portal shares information with the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS), but does not give students direct access to SEVIS. The SEVP Portal also does NOT remove the need for such students to report changes to their DSO.

Students on post-completion practical training including STEM OPT can update the following information via the SEVP Portal:

  • Physical home address
  • Mailing addresses
  • Telephone numbers
  • View their OPT employment authorizations

Students on standard F-1 post-completion practical training (but not students on STEM OPT) can also:

  •     Add new employers
  •     Delete employers where employment never occurred
  •     Edit their employment information, including:
    •     Employer name
    •     Employer address
    •     Dates of employment
    •     Other editable employment fields
  • After registering, students can use the:
    •     Profile Tab in their account to view or update their physical and mailing addresses and telephone numbers
    •     Employment Tab in their account to add, edit, or delete employers within a given standard post-completion OPT employment segment (but not a STEM OPT segment)

SEVP Portal Account Instructions – Comprehensive information found at: https://studyinthestates.dhs.gov/create-an-sevp-portal-account.

How to Create a SEVP Portal Account:

  1. If you have been approved for OPT or STEM OPT, check your email (one listed in SEVIS) inbox for an email notice that includes a link to the SEVP Portal registration pages. You can recognize the email by the sender and subject lines:
  2. The email contains the link (unique to you) to create your account. The link can only be used once. If you are unable to start the registration process, contact your DSO to have SEVP send you the email notice again.
    • If you do not receive the notification email, check your spam or junk mail folder before contacting your DSO.

  3. Click the link. The initial Register page in the SEVP Portal registration  process opens.
  4.  Enter your SEVIS ID and click Submit. The next Register page opens to create your password.
  5.  Enter password – the password must meet the criteria on the page.
  6.  Click “Create Account”. The Portal opens the Log In page and displays a success message.

How to Log In and Navigate After You Have Created Your Account

  1. Go to https://sevp.ice.gov/opt/#/login
  2. Enter you email address and password
  3. Click Log In. The Attestation page opens.
  4. Click Continue to enter Profile page in the Portal. Clicking “Continue” signifies that you agree to the terms and conditions outlined on the page. If you do not agree, do not proceed into the SEVP Portal.
  5. Click Cancel to return to the Portal Log In page.
  6. To log out of the portal, click the log out link in the upper right-hand corner of the header.

PORTAL FEATURES

Expand/Collapse Sections: Plus sign expands the section to view information, and Minus sign collapses the section.

Colors of Action Buttons: Active buttons look blue with white text. Buttons you cannot use look gray with black text.

Error/Success Messages: The portal uses different messages and visual aids to help you enter data correctly. If you submit data incorrectly or submit incomplete information, the portal displays light pink error messages at the top of the page. If you submit data correctly, the portal displays light green success messages at the top of the screen to reflect a successful submission.

Idle Time: After 20 minutes of inactivity, the portal will ask you to confirm that you want to remain logged into the system. You must click OK to remain logged in. If too much time has passed and you do not respond to the prompt, the system will log you out.

Locked Account: The SEVP Portal will lock your account if you do not log in to the portal for 90 days or after three failed attempts to log in to the system. Contact your DSO to request assistance in unlocking your Portal account. The SEVP Portal will send you an email link that will unlock your account. Notice email sender and subject line:

View History

  • Click ‘View History’ in the top navigation bar to view a history of changes that have happened in your portal record.
  • Click the plus (+) sign to the right of the event to expand its information. The event will indicate which field(s) changed and the old and new values for the field(s).

Address Validation

  • The portal will validate the physical and mailing addresses that you enter, meaning it will check to see if the address given is a valid one. If the system does not recognize an address, you will get an error message at the top of the page only, telling you that changes failed to save.

Frequently Asked Questions    

STEM OPT Employment Reporting

Students on STEM OPT cannot add any employers in the Portal. You can only edit some of your employer’s information. To add an employer to your record:

  • Submit a completed Form I-983 to your DSO.
  • Your DSO will enter the employment information in SEVIS.
  • SEVIS will push the data to the Portal.

REPORTING TIMELINE

Students must report STEM OPT participation every 6 months from the approved STEM OPT start date, and any changes in personal and employer information by completing the Contact Information Update Form and the Form I-983, Training Plan.

All updated forms must be submitted to your DSO. Failure in reporting participation causes a violation to your F-1 status.

  • Prior to applying for STEM OPT: Pages 1 to 4 of the Form I-983 must be completed by you and your employer, and submitted to your DSO. Ensure you most current address is on file at the school, and in SEVIS.
  • 6 Months from STEM OPT Start Date: Student check-in to confirm employment, and changes in employer and personal information, including addresses.
  • 12 Months from STEM OPT Start Date: Student completes top section on page 5 of the Form I-983, Training Plan. Must report any changes to personal and employer information.
  • 18 Months from STEM OPT Start Date: Student check-in to confirm employment, and changes in employer and personal information, including addresses.
  • 24 Months from STEM OPT Start Date: Student completes bottom section on page 5 of the Form I-983, Training Plan. Must report any changes to personal and employer information.

ACCEPTABLE EMPLOYMENT

DHS has ruled that acceptable employment during OPT can include standard employment, contract employment, self-employment and volunteer positions. All employment must be appropriate to your degree and must be at least 20 hours per week. Please refer to the following chart for more details:

Types of Employment:

Single Employer
Provide the employment dates and your employer’s name and address.

None – Actively Seeking Employment  
If you have been unemployed for more than 10 days since your OPT start date, indicate those dates. To remain in the U.S., you must be actively looking for relevant employment. In order to maintain your visa status, you must limit unemployment while on OPT to a total of 90 days or 150 days if you have been approved for the 24-month OPT extension.

Work for Hire (contract employment)  
 
Provide the employment dates and your employer’s name and address. If requested by DHS, you must be able to provide evidence that you worked an average of at least 20 hours per week.

Unpaid Volunteer or Intern    
Provide the employment dates and your employer’s name and address. If requested by DHS, you must be able to provide evidence that you worked an average of at least 20 hours per week and that the work was related to your OPT degree. This option is not available to students in the 24-month OPT extension period.

Self-Employed U.S. Business Owner
    
List your company’s name or print “Self-Employed” and the business address. This location may be the same as your personal address, if appropriate. If requested by DHS, you must be able to provide evidence that you have proper business licenses, the business is related to your degree and that the business keeps you full-time employed.

UNEMPLOYMENT LIMITS

  • Students in Initial OPT Period – Maximum of 90 calendar days allowed during the 12-month OPT period.
  • Students with an OPT STEM Extension – Maximum of 150 calendar days (including 90 days from post-completion OPT) allowed during the 24-month OPT extension period.

NOTE: The Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) has issued contradictory information regarding whether unemployment periods of less than 10 days count, or do not count, towards the 90 day unemployment deadline. However, it is crucial that you report all periods of employment to avoid unnecessary accrual of unemployment days.

H-1B Visa Applicants

DeVry University is a private, for-profit school. Pay particular attention to the information below especially Graduate Student applicants.

Each year the USCIS issues 65,000 H-1B regular CAP cases and 20,000 H-1B Master’s CAP cases which are available beginning April 1st for an October 1st start date. F-1 Undergraduate and Graduate students who graduate from DeVry University must both file towards the 65,000 H-1B regular CAP. Do NOT file towards the H-1B Master’s CAP.

Please note: The regulation states that in order for a foreign student to be eligible for the H-1B Master’s CAP Exemption, the school issuing the Master’s degree must meet the following two requirements:

  1. The school must be accredited by a nationally recognized accrediting agency or association; and
  2. The school must be a public or other nonprofit institution – private or for-profit schools are unacceptable

Since DeVry University is a private, for-profit institution, you should file your H-1B towards the Bachelor’s cap of 65,000.  Filing improperly towards the Master’s cap may lead to a denial and by the time the H-1B petition is re-filed under the Bachelor’s cap, the H-1B numbers may already be gone.