F-1 STEM OPT Extension: Reporting Requirements

Overview

What are the STEM OPT Extension Reporting Requirements?

Students in F-1 status authorized for employment under STEM OPT Extension are responsible for maintaining their nonimmigrant status. According to Federal Regulations, F-1 students are required to report information within 10 days directly to the ISO regarding their employment as well as changes to personal information and immigration status. Failure to comply with these reporting requirements may result in denial of future benefits (i.e. extension of employment under the H-1B OPT Cap-Gap rule) and termination of status and STEM OPT extension authorization.

You are required to report the following information via iMIT.mit.edu.  See section below for how to report.

You are required to report the following information within 10 days:

  1. Issuance of STEM OPT EAD card - must submit a copy via iMIT
  2. Alumni/ae’s Legal name
  3. Alumni/ae’s Residential or mailing address
  4. Alumni/ae’s E-mail address and phone number
  5. Employer name
  6. Employer address
  7. Supervisor’s name and contact information (phone, email address)
  8. Dates of employment (beginning and ending dates) at each employer
  9. Verification of how the job is related to the degree/field of study
  10. Loss of employment (within 5 business days)
  11. Decision to end employment/ STEM OPT Extension and leave the U.S.A.
  12. Transfer and/or beginning of new program of study
  13. Change of visa status (provide documentation of change of status)
  14. Validation report every 6 months
  15. Student self-evaluation report every 12 months

Note: The same reporting is required during the H-1B Cap-Gap extension of STEM OPT and penalties for failure to comply also apply.

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How to Report

For Students or Alumni with active Kerberos IDs

  1. 1. Go to iMIT.mit.edu
  2. 2. Log in to Full Client Services for Students
  3. 3. Open “F-1 Practical Training”
  4. 4. Click on “Reporting Requirements for OPT / STEM OPT”
  5. 5. Submit the following forms as necessary
    1. Submit OPT / STEM OPT EAD Card
    2. Your Contact Information (Alumni)
    3. Your US Address (Alumni)
    4. Add New Employer Information
    5. Edit/End Current Employer Information
    6. Report Departure, Visa Status Change (e.g. Cap Gap), or Unemployment
    7. STEM OPT Validation / Self-Evaluation Report

For Alumni without active Kerberos IDs

  1. 1. Go to iMIT.mit.edu
  2. 2. Log in to Limited Client Services for Alumni
  3. 3. Request your PIN if you do not yet have one. If you do not receive this PIN, we may have your incorrect email on file. Please email or call your ISO advisor to give us your new email information.
  4. 4. Open “F-1 Practical Training”
  5. 5. Click on “Reporting Requirements for OPT”
  6. 6. Submit the following forms as necessary
    1. Submit OPT / STEM OPT EAD Card
    2. Your Contact Information (Alumni)
    3. Your US Address (Alumni)
    4. Add New Employer Information
    5. Edit/End Current Employer Information
    6. Report Departure, Visa Status Change (e.g. Cap Gap), or Unemployment
    7. STEM OPT Validation / Self-Evaluation Report

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How to Report a Change of E-Verify Employer during 24-month STEM OPT Extension

Within 10 days of change, you are required by law to report a change of your employer to the ISO. You must submit a letter from your new employer (see below) and an updated Form I-983 to the ISO so that we can update your SEVIS record and issue an updated Form I-20 with your new employer information printed on Page 2 of the I-20.

  • Employer Letter, on company letterhead, signed by your employer verifying:
    • That the employer is enrolled in E-Verify (provide E-Verify number, if possible)
    • Employer’s name and complete address (including zip code)
    • Supervisor’s name, title, and contact information (e-mail and phone number)
    • Employment start date
    • Position title and description of how the employment is directly related to your primary field of study
  • Form I-983 (Training Plan for STEM OPT Students)

After preparing your items, upload your Employer Letter and Form I-983 to iMIT.mit.edu (F-1 Practical Training Menu -> OPT / STEM OPT Reporting Requirements -> Add New Employer). After submitting your request, send e-mail to your ISO Advisor if you need an expedited Form I-20 for your new employer.

If your employment is terminated, your employer and/or you must report this termination to the ISO within 5 business days.

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Validation Report Required Every 6 Months

During the 24-month STEM OPT extension, you are required by law to send a Validation Report to the ISO every 6 months starting from the date the 24-month extension begins and ending when the student’s F-1 status is completed or the 24-month extension ends, whichever is first.

  • This Validation Report is required even if there have been no changes in your employer, living address, or other required reporting information.
  • To complete your 6-Month Validation Report, go to iMIT.mit.edu (F-1 Practical Training Menu -> OPT / STEM OPT Reporting Requirements -> STEM OPT Validation / Self-Evaluation Report).

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Student Self-Evalution Required Every 12 Months

During the 24-month STEM OPT extension, you are required by law to send a Self-Evaluation Report on the Form I-983 to the ISO every 12 months starting from the date the 24-month extension begins and ending when the student’s F-1 status is completed or the 24-month extension ends, whichever is first.

  • The 12-month and the 24-month Self-Evaluation Report can be found on page 5 of the Form I-983.
  • Students who have changed employers during the STEM OPT Extension period are requred to submit a new Form I-983 at the time of the employment change.
  • To submit your 12-Month and 24-Month Self-Evaluation Report, go to iMIT.mit.edu (F-1 Practical Training Menu -> OPT / STEM OPT Reporting Requirements -> STEM OPT Validation / Self-Evaluation Report).

NOTE: The requirement to report any updates while on OPT continues if the student’s 24-month STEM OPT Extension is extended further by the automatic H-1B OPT Cap-Gap extension.

Please feel free to contact your ISO Advisor if you have any questions concerning the F-1 STEM OPT Extension Process.

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Periods of Unemployment while on STEM OPT Extension

During the 24-month STEM OPT Extension, maintenance of your F-1 status depends on your employment. You are not permitted to accumulate more than a total of 150 days of unemployment for the entire period of OPT (including the first 12 months of OPT prior to the STEM OPT Extension). The limits of unemployment time are 90 days for the first 12-months of OPT and 60 days during the 24-month STEM OPT extension. Accumulating more than 150 days of unemployment during the OPT period is a violation of your immigration status that could result in termination of your practical training.

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Travel while on STEM OPT Extension

Travel while on STEM OPT Extension is not restricted. During the 24-month extension, you must carry the following documents in order to return to the U.S.:

  • STEM OPT Employment Authorization (EAD) card
  • STEM OPT Form I-20 form with a valid travel signature (valid for 6 months)
  • valid F-1 entry visa stamp in passport (issued by US Consulate abroad, to enter the U.S. in F-1 status for STEM OPT)
  • valid passport
  • letter from your E-Verify employer confirming your STEM OPT employment

If you are missing any one of these documents, you risk being denied entry to the United States. If your current OPT EAD card is expired and you do not yet have the STEM OPT Extension EAD card, the ISO strongly recommends against travel outside of the U.S. at this time.

However, DHS has clarified in the preamble to the 24-month rule [81 FR 13103 par.774] that, "Students on STEM OPT extensions (including those whose application for a STEM OPT extension is pending) may travel abroad and seek reentry to the United States in F-1 status during the STEM OPT extension period if they have a valid F-1 visa that permits multiple entries and a current Form I-20 Certificate of Eligibility endorsed for reentry by the DSO within the last six months. The student's status is determined by CBP upon admission to the United States or through a USCIS adjudication of a change-of-status petition."

If you who wish to travel outside the U.S. without the STEM OPT EAD card, you must have proof that your STEM OPT application was filed in a timely manner and carry the USCIS receipt notice (Form I-797) during your travels.  Please note that your entry to the US on F-1 status while your STEM OPT application is pending may ultimately be determined by CBP upon admission to the United States.

Travel Signature while on STEM OPT

Alumni/ae who need an updated travel signature during STEM OPT Extension should request a new I-20 by submitting the "Request Replacement of Form I-20" online form at iMIT.mit.edu > F-1 Student Services.  Please make sure that your reporting requirements to the ISO are up-to-date prior to your online request.

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