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International Student and Scholar Support

Employment Requirements While on OPT

While on OPT,  you are required to report updates in your physical location and employer within 10 days of the change. Failing to report employment can lead to an automatic termination of your status. For more information on how to report your employment and physical address while on OPT, see this section of our website.

Unemployment and Hours of Work
  • You have 90 days of allowable unemployment. Those on STEM Extension OPT get an additional 60 days, for a total of 150 days of allowable unemployment. 
  • You need to work at least 20 hours per week.
The following types of work are considered employment:
    • Paid employment in your field of study
    • Unpaid/volunteer work in your field of study
    • Contract Hire (keep a list of the 1099's and the duration of your employment)
    • Self-employed (if you have the proper business licenses)
    • Multiple jobs (as long as all jobs are in your field of study)
What counts as your field of study?

You will need to report how your work is related to your field of study (major) when you submit your employment updates on the SEVP Portal. This information is subject to review by ISS staff or by SEVP officials. It is your responsibility to make sure that you are working within your field of study and that you can provide evidence and explanation as appropriate. 

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