UCI International Center

Mandatory Reporting Requirements for OPT

Section 1

Reporting Requirements

  • You are responsible for reporting the following changes to updating the SEVP Portal within 10 days:
    • local address
    • email address
    • new/change in employment status
    • change in employer information
    • loss of employment

Job Description

  • When updating the SEVP portal, you must provide a detailed description of your practical training experience and how it directly relates to your degree. Below are examples about how to write this information, if you do not provide this information in a similar format, you may be asked to re‐submit this for SEVIS compliance purposes.
  • Job Description Examples:
    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. "Master's degree in Kinesiology: I am working 25 hours a week in a health food store as a consultant for Self‐Made Inc., designing and teaching exercise classes that are incorporated into a customer's overall nutrition and exercise plan. My designs and customer instruction draw upon my studies and classwork in exercise therapy and physical reconditioning."
    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."

Understanding Unemployment Time

  • SEVIS records will automatically terminate students on OPT who have exceeded unemployment time. Be sure that you have reported your employment information to the International Center. If you have any concerns, you can always contact an International Student Advisor.
  • Working before your EAD card is in your possession and before it’s approved, is not permitted.
  • 90 days of unemployment will invalidate your OPT and F-1 status. If you are not employed/do not have a valid EAD card in your possession, the first day of unemployment will start on the date printed on your EAD card.
  • If you accumulate 90 days of combined unemployment, you have the following options:
    • Leave the U.S.
    • Transfer your SEVIS record to another SEVIS approved school. These events must occur prior to accumulating 90 days of aggregate unemployment.

Types of Employment Eligible for OPT

  • Regular paid employment
    • For post-completion OPT, the work must be more than 20 hours per week.
    • You may work for multiple employers, as long as the position is directly related to your major/field of study.
  • Payment by multiple short-term multiple employers. You may work for multiple short term employers. You should maintain record of the dates and duration of the job as well as proof of payment (e.g. payment stubs).
  • Work for hire. This is also commonly referred to as 1099 employment where an individual performs a service based on a contractual relationship rather than an employment relationship. If requested by DHS, you should be prepared to provide evidence showing the duration of the contract periods and the name and address of the contracting company.
  • Self-employed business owner. While on OPT you may start a business and be self-employed. You should be able to prove you have the proper business licenses and are actively engaged in a business related to your degree program.
  • Employment through an agency. While on post-completion OPT you must be able to provide evidence showing you worked an average of at least 20 hours per week while employed by the agency.
  • Volunteers or unpaid internsStandard OPT. SEVP OPT Policy Guidance states that, Students may work as volunteers or unpaid interns, where this practice does not violate any labor laws. The work should be at least 20 hours per week and related to program of study. You should be able to provide evidence, acquired from your employer, to verify that you worked at least 20 hours per week during the period of employment.