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Optional Practical Training

OPT Reporting

Optional Practical Training (OPT) is an important opportunity for many F-1 students. To maintain F-1 status during OPT you must comply with U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) employment and reporting requirements. The Queens College ISSO provides the following information to assist you in meeting those requirements.

The Department of Homeland Security requires students to report to their schools all periods of employment and unemployment while authorized for OPT. Updates must be reported within 10 days of any change. Please use OPT Reporting Form as often as is necessary to make sure the Queens College ISSO has your most current information. Please direct any questions regarding OPT reporting to

Maintaining Your F-1 Status While on Optional Practical Training

Reports You Must Make to Homeland Security

All F-1 Students on OPT: Within 10 days of each change, you are required to report the above, plus the following:

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

All Students with an OPT STEM Extension: You are required to report all the above, plus the following:

    • Employment status, 6 and 12 months after your extension start date, even if your information has not changed.
IMPORTANT!! STEM STUDENTS: DHS has programmed the SEVIS system to automatically terminate your record if you do not file both the 6- and 12-month reports, even if the information has not changed! Send in your reports to the ISSO!

How to Report

To report a change of address or employment complete an ISSO OPT Reporting Form and submit it via email, fax or in person to the Queens College ISSO. The ISSO will report your changes to SEVIS.

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 average at least 20 hours per week. Please refer to the following chart for more details.

Type of Employment Instructions
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 120 days if you have been approved for the 17-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 17-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 days allowed during the 12-month OPT period.

Students With an OPT STEM Extension: An additional 30 days applies, for a maximum of 120 days allowed during the 27-month OPT period.

NOTE: Periods of unemployment lasting less than 10 days do not count toward the maximum limit. DHS goes by the SEVIS system to calculate your days of employment/unemployment. It is crucial that you report all periods of employment to avoid unnecessary accrual of unemployment days.

Director: Patrick O'Connell
Office: King Hall, 207
Phone: 718-997-4440
Fax: 718-997-4429
Office Hours: Mon - Fri 9am-5pm


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