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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.

OPT STEM Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Required Reporting During the STEM OPT Extension

You are required to report information to OIS during your STEM Extension every six months AND whenever there is a change (see below for list of relevant changes).  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.  Reporting is done using the STEM OPT Reporting form in iHopkins.  During STEM OPT, the SEVP Portal only allows limited updates related to information about existing employers, home address, and phone number.

Reporting Every Six Months

You are required to report to the OIS every six months based on the start date of your STEM OPT EAD. This reporting is required confirmation that you are still employed while on the STEM extension. Reporting must be completed within 10 business days of the six-month due date.

At 6 and 18 months, you only need to report very basic information about your employment. At 12 and 24 months, you need to report employment information and complete the evaluation section on the last page of your I-983.

Completing form I-983 at 12 and 24 months

At 12 months, you need to fill out the top section of the last page of your I-983. If you are unemployed you can leave the supervisor signature blank or you could ask your previous employer to sign it. Your self-evaluation should be based on what you have learned that year in all jobs you held during that time.

At 24 months, you must submit the final reporting section found on the last page of your I-983. Information on this requirement may be found at

Reporting Changes during STEM OPT

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.

  • New employment* – When reporting a new employer, you will be required to explain how the job relates to the degree that qualifies you for the STEM extension.  You may review some examples of acceptable explanations here.
  • Change of U.S. address
  • Change in employer’s address and ANY change to employment status*
  • 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.*

    *You must also complete and submit a new I-983 in these instances. 

Reporting Process

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

  • Go to
  • Click “Login” under “Active JHED Login”.
  • Login with your JHED ID and password.
  • Once logged in, click on “F-1 Practical Training”, then click on “STEM OPT Reporting Form.”

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

  • Go to
  • Click “No JHED Login”  
  • 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 Practical Training”, then click on “STEM OPT Reporting Form.”

If you experience difficulties accessing iHopkins, please email

Travel During STEM OPT Extension

For information on travel while the STEM application is pending or approved, review our OPT travel information page.

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.  

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.  Please reach out to OIS if your employer filed a cap-subject H-1B petition for you during your STEM extension. An approval or denial of an H-1B petition can impact your F-1 status.