International student OPT Jobs in USA

Published: 06/11/2022

Below are commonly asked questions related to International student OPT Jobs.
 
Can International student working on OPT Jobs extend work authorization?
When F1 Visa student is working on OPT Job, they get 12 months of OPT EAD card. Additionally an OPT Student pursuing STEM field has options to extend their OPT beyond 12 months. STEM F1 Visa students can get 24-Month extension. 
 
There is Cap Gap extension provided to OPT students, this extends work authorization till the start of cap subject H-1B visa. This extension is valid, only when OPT end after H1B is applied but before Oct 1st start date of H-1B.
 
Can international students work in USA?
International F1 visa students having OPT EAD card, can work anywhere in the United States. The job should be related to degree of study and employer information is updated in SEVP portal. They can work in 
 
Paid position 
Unpaid position 
Work with multiple employers 
Work more than 20 hours
Change employers at any time
 
Can I extend my OPT Job for Non STEM major?
F1 Visa student are authorized for 12 months of OPT while working on OPT Job. However, OPT Student pursuing who is in on STEM field cannot extend OPT beyond 12 months. Hence non STEM F1 Visa students cannot get additional 24-Month extension.

When to apply for post completion OPT online?
It’s always required to attend OPT workshop organized by ISO office prior to applying for OPT. It’s recommended to attend workshop atleast one semester prior to graduating. A student graduating in Spring 2023, should attend Fall 2022 workshop. 

After a student complete course requirement for studies, they can choose an OPT start date from one day after their program completion date to 60 days after that date. Once the OPT start date is determined, end date for OPT will be 12 months after the OPT start date. However, latest end date is always 14 months after the student completed their studies, since OPT can be applied 60 days after the course completion.

After OPT application is submitted, what are the next steps?
USIC can take 90-120 days to adjunct OPT applications. Once USCIS has processed your application, most Employment Authorization Documents (EADs) are sent to the address mentioned in the application or sent to ISO office. Hence it’s better to start early. 

OPT online applications denial reasons? 
USCIS can deny applications. The applications are reviewed carefully. Students are recommended to apply for OPT early, this way any unforeseen issue can be resolved. Common reasons for denial are
-Incomplete I-765 or with one with errors
-Payment issue 
-OPT application was sent to USCIS more than 30 days from the day ISO created the I-20. 
 
Can OPT candidate pause OPT period in USA?
Once OPT candidate received OPT EAD card, one cannot “pause” OPT. If OPT candidate stops working, they will start accruing unemployment time. Hence OPT candidate should actively look for employment and reduce accruing unemployment period by reporting promptly. OPT candidate must report any changes in employment within 10 days of the change. 
 
I submitted OPT application and now I decided not to work. Can my application be rescinded?
If you have submitted the application, but haven’t received the OPT card and your start date has not yet approached, you can check with you ISO about cancelling the application.
However if your application has been approved and the OPT start date reached, then it won’t be possible to cancel the application. OPT student looking for OPT job should be very sure if they want to start working prior to applying for OPT. If F1 visa student is interested to pursue higher field of study or move back to home country, then applying for OPT would not be right approach, as once can’t cancel OPT application after it’s being processed and start date has reached.’
 
I found paid OPT internship Job, but employer asking if I need future sponsorship? 
While filling the job application, if it asks if you will need sponsorship now or in the future to work , you should answer “yes”. 
You can explain that you are on 12 months of OPT and your OPT eligibility to work and would not require sponsorship. If you are in STEM field, you have eligibility to work for additional 24 months and would not need sponsorship.
 
I don’t have OPT EAD card yet, Can I "volunteer" while I wait for EAD card?
For F1 Visa student applying for OPT EAD card to work on OPT Job, there are immigration rules to follow.
 
If OPT Students has not yet received EAD card then they cannot work unpaid as a “volunteer”. Even if student received EAD card, they cannot volunteer till Start data on EAD card has been met. 
Hence, students can begin working on or after the OPT start date printed on the EAD.  Also, F1 Visa student can work if employment is directly related to their field of study.
 
I am not able to find OPT job, I have received my EAD card?
As per immigration rules, F1 Visa Students cannot accrue more than 90 days of unemployment during post-completion OPT. Following are other options in 90 day unemployment is approaching
 
-Find another academic program and requesting a transfer of their SEVIS
-Apply for a change of status. 
-Consider departing the US to maintain future immigration admissibility
 
Are there Rules for OPT employer information reporting?
As soon as OPT Jobseeker joins new OPT employer or changes OPT employer, they should report OPT employer information within 10 days. This can be done by accessing SEVP portal and then completing the “Add or Change OPT Employer” or “Update Current OPT Employer” e-form. This will ensure information is directly updated on SEVP portal. Alternately you can access link provided by your ISO and provide updated information by clicking OPT employer information section. The OPT Employer information is reviewed by your ISO and the SEVIS is updated.
 
Can I leave the U.S. while my application for OPT is being processed?
It’s suggested not travel until you have the physical EAD card. However if your OPT application is submitted and in the approval process and you plan on travelling, and you plan on coming back before completion of your degree, then you can travel without impacting your OPT application.
Things needed during travel
- valid visa stamp 
-Valid I-20. 
While coming back make sure your I-94 card reflects that you were admitted as an F-1 student

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