OPT and STEM OPT Employment Reporting
Students on OPT and STEM OPT have reporting requirements that are required by law as a part of their F-1 status. Students must report the following information to their DSOs within 10 days of the change.
While on OPT or STEM OPT F-1 students must continue to report changes to demographic information (including legal name, SEVIS USA Address, SEVIS Foreign Address, phone number, and email) within 10 days. For additional information on these requirements, including how to report, please visit the Reporting New or Updated Information page, here.
While on OPT/STEM OPT all employment must directly relate to your major. For additional information on what constitutes employment while on OPT, please review the OPT Workshop. STEM OPT has additional requirements for employment, including that the employer is enrolled in E-Verify; the employment is paid; the employment is at least 20 hours per week; and an I-983 training plan detailing how the training relates to the STEM degree is completed by the student and his/her employer.
Students must report new employment, termination of employment, and changes to previously reported information within 10 days. This includes, but is not limited to: adding a new employer; change in employer/company's name; change in employer address (where you physically work); change in hours per week; change in employment duties; change in job title; etc... In other words, if anything you previously reported has changed you must report that change within 10 days.
Explaining the relationship between your practical training and your field of study
While on OPT, all practical training/employment must be directly related to the student’s field of study (i.e. the student’s major). The burden of proof for establishing this relationship is on the student, though the student may seek assistance from their academic department and/or Career Services in establishing how the position relates to the academic major.
Students should be able to articulate how the practical training is related to the major in a clear, concise, and logical way. The explanation the student provides of the direct relationship is reported to DHS/ICE in SEVIS. Below are some examples of a direct relationship descriptions provided by ICE :
1. Bachelor's degree in Electrical Engineering: I work full time as an Electrical Engineer at ABC Corp., a government contractor. In my job, I analyze client requirements for electrical systems and provide them with cost estimates of such systems. My work requires understanding of electrical circuit theory, which I studied in-depth at the University of ABC.
2. Bachelor's degree in Business: I work full time as a Loan Officer at a mortgage company, Happy Homes, where I meet with clients and evaluate, authorize and recommend approval of loan applications. On a daily basis, I use the knowledge I gained in my credit analysis, sales and marketing classes that I took as part of my major program of study.
3. PhD in Computer Science: I am employed as a Computer and Information Research Scientist at ABC Research Institute. I work as part of a team of scientists and engineers that designs experiments to test the operation of various software systems. My work builds on research in complex algorithms and machine learning, which I studied as part of my dissertation.
An additional resource for students for establishing the relationship between the major and the occupation is O*NET Online, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor. You can view common occupations by academic major.
Students on STEM OPT have additional reporting requirements, please see below.
6 Month Check-Ins
Even if no information changes students STEM OPT must check in with ISSS every 6 months to confirm that their information is the same or to provide updated information if necessary (remember, updates must be made within 10 days of the change).
Students on STEM OPT must also complete annual (yearly) I-983 evaluations. Please see the Additional Requirements for STEM OPT section below. These annual evaluation are in addition to the 6 month check-in reporting requirements.
I-983 Evaluation (Additional Requirements for STEM OPT)
Students on STEM OPT must submit amended I-983 evaluations to ISSS within 10 days of any material change. SEVP (the Student and Exchange Visitor Program, a branch of DHS ICE) defines what a material change is, and additional reporting requirements for students on STEM OPT, on the STEM OPT Hub here. Please review this information carefully.
Students must maintain copies of their I-983, including any revisions needed for updated information. Copies must also be kept by the student's employer and the student must provide copies to ISSS to keep.
Annual Self-Evaluations: The I-983 requires annual self-evaluations, to be signed by the student and an employer with signatory authority. The first evaluation is due within 10 days of the end of the first year on STEM OPT (i.e. after the first 12 months of the 24 month STEM OPT period). The final evaluation is due within 10 days of the end of the 24 month STEM OPT period, or when the STEM OPT period ends, or when the STEM employment ends, whichever comes first.
Changing Employers on STEM OPT: Students may change employers while on STEM OPT but they must provide a new, complete I-983 for the new E-Verify enrolled employer within 10 days of starting the new employment, as well as a signed, final evaluation for the STEM OPT employer they are leaving within 10 days of ending the employment.
Other Reporting (Change of Status, Departure, Transfers)
Students OPT and STEM OPT should inform ISSS of any of the following changes:
- If you have been approved for a change of status please provide ISSS documentation of the approval (such as an approval notice from USCIS, green card, or CBP entrance stamp)
- If you intend to depart the United States and no longer plan to use OPT please notify ISSS by completing a Departure EForm and your F-1 record can be closed. Once the record is closed it cannot be undone, so you want to be certain you are departing and done with OPT before submitting the form
- If you intend to begin a new degree program either at UAlbany or another institution please contact ISSS to discuss whether or not you're eligible for a SEVIS transfer. Students must end OPT/STEM OPT employment prior to beginning a new full-time degree program.
How to Report
- Preferred Method: ISSS Employment Reporting EForm- This method is preferred because ISSS advisors are experienced in properly entering information into SEVIS. Please be sure you have all materials ready, including updated I-983s, to complete the E-Form. To submit the Employment Reporting Form:
- Click here to navigate to the AccessISSS online system. Login with your UAlbany NetID (ex: AA123456) and password.
- Watch this recording to help you navigate to the EForm menu.
- Select the "Post Completion OPT Employment Reporting Form" or "STEM OPT Employment Reporting Form" depending on which authorization you are reporting for.
- This EForm will ask you to upload supporting documents. If you need assistance, please review the File Upload Instructions webpage.
- All updates related to your EForm will be communicated over email. Please allow up to 5-7 business days for processing.
- SEVP Portal Reporting- Students on OPT may report employment information through the SEVP Portal. However, be cautious: if you enter the information incorrectly, this incorrect data will be entered into SEVIS. For example: if you unintentionally delete a prior employer you may appear as unemployed and could risk having your SEVIS record terminated by DHS. Students on STEM OPT should not use the Portal to make employment updates; they must submit an E-Form to ISSS with a revised I-983 to meet their reporting requirements.
The information contained in this web site/form is provided as a service to international students, faculty and staff at the University at Albany. It does not constitute legal advice. We try to provide useful information, but we make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of the information contained in or linked to this web site or any associated site or form. Neither the University at Albany nor ISSS is responsible for any errors or omissions contained in this website, or for the results obtained from the use of this information. Nothing provided herein should be used as a substitute for the advice of competent legal counsel; students may wish to consult an immigration attorney on the specifics of their case as needed.