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OPT Reporting Requirements

While you are on OPT you remain in F-1 status. During this time, you have an obligation to report certain pieces information to OIS. Most reporting will be done via the SEVP portal and GlobalHome. Please see below for further information regarding the SEVP portal, qualifying employment on OPT, unemployment time, and address changes during the OPT period.

The SEVP Portal

While on 12-month post-completion OPT, you must report the start and end of employment to SEVP (Student and Exchange Visitor Program) within 10 days of the change. You will be reporting and updating your employment information in the SEVP Portal.

The SEVP Portal allows OPT students to report their address, telephone number and employer information. The portal shares information with SEVIS, but does not give students direct access to SEVIS. Only OIS advisors have direct access to your SEVIS record.

Registering your SEVP Portal account: You will receive an email from SEVP with instructions on creating an SEVP Portal account. This email should arrive after your Employment Authorization Document (EAD card) is issued and the start date on your EAD card has arrived (or within 1-2 days after the start date).  This email will come from to the email address associated with your SEVIS record (which will be the email address you have checked as “preferred” in your MyPack account).You must set up the account right away, even if you haven’t started working yet. If you don’t set up the account, the link will deactivate. 
Please review the process for creating an SEVP Portal account on this DHS webpage.

  1. Remember, SEVP will send you this email only when your OPT is approved and active, meaning that you have been issued an Employment Authorization Document (EAD card) and the start date of you EAD card has arrived (or within 1-2 days after the start date). If you already have your EAD card, but the start date of your EAD card is still in the future, you will not have the SEVP email yet.
  2. The SEVP email will come from to the email checked as your preferred email in MyPack. The email that is checked as your preferred email in MyPack is associated with your SEVIS record and will be used for the SEVP Portal. You can change your preferred email in MyPack, if you need to. If you change your preferred email in MyPack, it will take 2-3 days for the system to transmit the update into SEVIS and the SEVP Portal. 
  3. Check your spam/junk mailbox to make sure you didn’t miss the SEVP email.
  4. If you have your EAD card, it has been more than 2 days from the start date, but you still haven’t received an email from SEVP, please submit the SEVP Portal Unlock Request in GlobalHome. One of our DSOs will request a reset to your portal account. In this case, you should soon receive the missing email from SEVP.

When there are SEVP system problems affecting many users, SEVP will post an announcement on the login landing page, here. If you see such a notice, please follow the instructions to address the problem. You can also call the SEVP Response Center at 703-603-3400.

Students are required to add their employer information in the SEVP Portal within 10 days from the start of employment. If you miss the 10 day reporting deadline, employment updates must still be reported although the SEVP Portal will not allow OPT students to report employment that began more than 10 days in the past. As such, you will need an OIS advisor’s assistance to submit your employment information for you. In such cases, please complete the OPT Employment Update request in GlobalHome.

  1. Remember to add your employer’s information within 10 days from the start of employment.
  2. If you have multiple employers at the same time, make sure to add each employer in your SEVP Portal account.
  3. If the end date of your employment has not been specified, you can leave this field blank.
  4. When your employment ends, make sure to update your employer information in the SEVP Portal by editing the end date. When you start to work with a new employer, remember to add a new employer record. If your position changed within the same employer, do not add a new employer record, just edit your job title in the record that already exists for this employer.
  5. In the “Employer Address” field, make sure to put your work site’s address, which can be different from your employer’s main office address. If you continue to work for the same employer but move to another worksite, you will need to edit the employer address field.
  6. The detailed instructions on updating employer information in the SEVP Portal are available on this DHS webpage.

Please submit the SEVP Portal Unlock Request in GlobalHome. A DSO will reset your portal account. After that, you should receive an email from Please follow the instructions in that email to unlock your account or create a new one. 

  • You should collect and retain all documentation (offer letters, time sheets, paycheck stubs,  etc.) related to your employment while on OPT. You may need it when applying for future benefits or changes of status.
  • In addition to the employment information, you are responsible for updating your physical home address, mailing address, and telephone numbers. Any address change must be reported within 10 days through GlobalHome.
  • If you change your immigration status, please send a copy of proof of such change (e.g. USCIS  Approval Notice) to OIS by submitting a Proof of Change of Status form in GlobalHome.

Address Reporting on OPT

Physical addresses should be submitted to OIS and the SEVP portal within 10 days of an address change. If you are unable to update your address on your own in the SEVP portal, please submit the Update US Address form in GlobalHome.

Qualifying Employment on OPT

All OPT employment is required to be in a job that is directly related to the student’s degree program. Employment under pre- or post-completion OPT may include:

  • Full time / Part time:
    • Pre-completion OPT can be part time (20 or less hours per week) or full time. 
    • Post-completion OPT must be full time (more than 20 hours per week)
  • Unpaid employment: Students may work as volunteers or unpaid interns, where this practice does not violate any labor laws. The work should be more than 20 hours per week for students on post-completion OPT. A student should be able to provide evidence, acquired from the student’s employer, to verify that he or she worked more than 20 hours per week during the period of employment.
  • Multiple employers: Students may work for more than one employer, but all employment must be related to each individual student’s degree program and for pre-completion OPT cannot exceed the allowed per week cumulative hours.
  • Short-term multiple employers (performing artists): Students, such as musicians and other performing artists, may work for multiple short-term employers (gigs). The students should maintain a list of all gigs, the dates and duration.
  • 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, students 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: Students on standard OPT may start a business and be self-employed. The student should be able to prove that he or she has the proper business licenses and is actively engaged in a business related to his or her degree program.
  • Employment through an agency or consulting firm: Students on post-completion OPT should be able to provide evidence showing they worked more than 20 hours per week while employed by the agency.

Important note for STEM eligible students: the above mentioned types of employment apply to pre-completion OPT and the first year of OPT only. Employment requirements for the STEM extension differ from the first year of OPT in many ways. Please review our STEM pages for more information. 

Unemployment Time

Students are permitted to be unemployed temporarily during their OPT period. Students have 90 days of unemployment during their OPT period. Employment time is recorded based on the information in the SEVP portal. For this reason, it is important to make sure that the employment information in the SEVP portal is always up to date.

Note for STEM eligible students: Any unemployment time not used during your first year of OPT rolls over to your STEM extension period.