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OPT Rules and Reporting Requirements

Your US immigration status does not change while pursuing Optional Practical Training (OPT) and you must continue to comply with all F-1 regulations and reporting requirements. Therefore, the University of Rochester remains your sponsoring institution throughout your OPT period and all required information must be reported through the International Services Office (ISO).

Submit the following information within 10 days of any change:

  • Personal address, contact details, or name change
  • Name, address, and type of primary employer (see the reporting form for details)
  • Any interruption to or end of employment
  • Notification of any changes in your immigration status or departure from the United States

Online Reporting Forms

F-1 OPT Reporting Form (for F-1 students and graduates of all University schools, other than the Eastman School of Music, and those approved for a 17-month STEM Extension)

Eastman OPT Reporting Form (for F-1 students and graduates of the Eastman School of Music)

F-1 OPT STEM Reporting Form (for F-1 students and graduates approved for a 24-month STEM Extension)

Necessary Documentation

Form I-20

You must obtain a valid endorsement signature on Form I-20 every six months from the ISO throughout your OPT authorization period, even if you are not traveling. For more about travel during OPT, see the travel risks and restrictions page.

Employment Authorization Document

Your Employment Authorization Document—also known as an EAD card—is a plastic card issued by United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) once your application is approved. The EAD card serves as your official work permission. It includes your photograph and valid employment dates.

Do NOT begin working until you have received this card!

Evidence of Employment/Training Activities

You should keep documentation of all work or other activities used to satisfy your employment requirements during OPT.

For paid positions, a letter from your employer or copies of your pay statements is sufficient. For legitimate volunteer activities, you may want to request a letter that details the dates and nature of your work. If you are self-employed or pursuing gigs in the performing arts, you should keep a detailed journal of your activities to show that you have satisfied the hourly requirements of your OPT authorization.

Restrictions on New Academic Study

If you plan to enroll in a new academic program, it is important to consider and understand the impact this will have to any current OPT authorization.

If you intend to enroll full-time at a different school, ISO will need to process an Immigration Transfer Request (PDF) to give your F-1 SEVIS record to the new school. However, once the SEVIS record is released, any remaining OPT authorization is considered void, despite having an EAD card that is not expired. Beginning studies in a new degree program part-time or without matriculating can have a similar effect, even if there is no transfer of your F-1 record or new I-20 issued.

Discuss the timing of your transfer or start of your new studies with an ISO advisor and your new school.