Skip Navigation

Employment During the STEM OPT Extension

In order to continue eligibility for the STEM OPT extension, you must be employed with an E-verify employer.  You must not exceed 150 days total unemployment during your period of OPT, including both the initial period and the STEM extension.  You may change employers, but each employer must meet the following requirement:

  • Your employment must directly relate to the degree upon which you received STEM OPT permission
  • The employer must be enrolled in E-verify
  • You and your employer must complete and send to OIS a training plan, form I-983
  • You must be employed at least 20 hours/week at each employer

You may not undertake any employment that does not meet all the above conditions.

Report Changes to the OIS

The following changes must be reported to the OIS to maintain your status. If any of the following occur, please submit the OPT Reporting Form to the OIS. Students who fail to report this information as required will be in violation of their F-1 status and may jeopardize their legal status in the U.S.

  • Change of U.S. address
  • Change in employer's address and ANY change to employment status
    You must also complete and submit a new I-983 for any change in employer or change in your position and duties.
  • Change of phone number and/or e-mail address
  • Change of status (i.e. H1B, F-2, J-2, Permanent Resident, etc.) A copy of the approval notice must be submitted to the OIS.

To report Employment and/or U.S. address changes:

If you continue to have access to JHU systems using your JHED login:

  • Go to http://iHopkins.jhu.edu.
  • Click on blue Login button under Full Client Sevices for Students & Scholars.
  • Login with your JHED ID and password.
  • Once logged in, click on "F-1 Student Services" in the menu on the left, then click on "OPT Reporting Form."

If you no longer have access to JHU systems using your JHED login:

  • Go to http://iHopkins.jhu.edu.
  • Click Limited Services.Click "Email me my limited access pin."
  • Enter your Hopkins/University ID.
  • A pin will be emailed to your email address that is on file with the OIS.
  • Once you receive the pin, log in using your Hopkins ID, date of birth and pin.
  • Once logged in, click on "F-1 Student Services" in the menu on the left, then click on "OPT Reporting Form."

If you experience difficulties accessing iHopkins, please contact Sonia Sanchez (667-208-7007) iHopkins Database Coordinator.

Evaluation of Student Progress

The student must complete the first “Evaluation of Student Progress” portion of the Form I-983 within 12 months of the listed STEM OPT extension start date. At the end of the STEM OPT extension, a student must conduct a second, final assessment. Once the evaluations are complete, the student must collect signatures from their employer and return the form to the DSO, who will keep it in the student’s physical student record.  Information on this requirement may be found at https://studyinthestates.dhs.gov/students-and-the-form-i-983.

Travel During STEM OPT Extension

You may travel outside the U.S. and return only when your STEM OPT extension has been approved and you have your new, valid EAD.  Students who wish to travel outside the U.S. during their OPT STEM Extension must have the following with them to reenter the U.S.:

  • I-20 with travel signature from an OIS advisor that is less than 6 months old. You can mail your I-20 to us and we will return it with a signature.
  • Valid F-1 visa stamp
  • Valid passport
  • EAD card issued for the 24 month extension
  • Letter of Employment or Offer Letter from employer

Completing STEM OPT

You have a 60 day grace period after the expiration date on your EAD, during which you may leave the US, change your immigration status, or transfer to a new degree program during that time.  You may not continue to work under STEM OPT during this period. If, at any time during your STEM OPT period, you decide to depart the U.S. and do not plan to use your remaining STEM OPT, please contact the OIS so that we can end your F-1 record.

If you chose to begin a new degree program full-time during your authorized period of STEM OPT, you will lose any STEM OPT time remaining and must cease employment upon release of your SEVIS record from JHU.

Change of Status

If you change your immigration status prior to the end of your STEM OPT Extension, please contact the OIS and provide a copy of your I-797 approval notice.

H-1B Cap-Gap Extension of Status and Employment

If an employer is filing an H-1B petition for you and that employer is subject to the annual H-1B cap, your STEM OPT period may be automatically extended to cover the gap between the end of your original STEM OPT period and the start of the H-1B petition.  Information on the “Cap Gap” process is sent to all students on active STEM OPT in early April.