Optional Practical Training Requirements and Reporting

mans hand writing a daily report

How to Stay in Status while on OPT 

Employment must be directly related to your program of study at the appropriate degree level. 

 

  • Employment cannot start until the EAD card is received AND it is within the authorized dates shown on the EAD card. 

  • Employment can be paid or unpaid. 

  • Employment can be from multiple employers and include: 

    • Payment by short-term employers 

    • Work for hire (i.e. contract work) 

    • Self-employed business owner 

    • Employment through an agency 

You are responsible for keeping records of all employment including documentation of hours worked and how the employment is directly related to the program of study.   

 

  • Keep record of the position title, duration of employment, supervisor’s information and a description of the job. 

  • If it’s not clear from the job description how your job is related to your field of study, obtain an official letter from your employer with an explanation of how your degree is related to the work performed. 

  • If employment is unpaid, keep a log of hours worked and have your supervisor sign it periodically 

To maintain your eligibility you must accumulate no more than 90 days of unemployment  

 

  • Students on OPT are allowed a total of 90 cumulative days of unemployment during their OPT authorization.  This 90 days starts on the first day of the authorized employment. 

  • Update your employer information through the iGlobal portal to avoid being erroneously viewed as unemployed. 

  • Consider tracking your unemployment days using the unemployment calculator