Foreign nationals who enter the United States to pursue educational degrees are admitted as F-1 nonimmigrants. Students on an F-1 Visa have the option of training in the United States by engaging in practical training related to the student’s major or course of study. In short, in some cases, students can work for a period of time after they complete their studies and this study period is called optional practical training. (OPT)

Students are required to provide details related to their employment and adherence to the OPT rules to the Government and this reporting is done through the educational institution.   On March 23, 2018, the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) launched the SEVP Portal for students participating in post-completion optional practical training (OPT) to report certain personal and employer information directly to SEVP without the assistance of their designated school official (DSO).

Using the SEVP Portal is optional. However, federal regulations require that international students report the following changes within 10 days to properly maintain their student status:

  • Physical address and/or mailing address;
  • Telephone Number;
  • Certain Employment Information; and
  • Legal name.

Some changes can only be made by the DSO, including:

  • Transferring to a new SEVP-certified school;
  • Traveling outside the U.S.;
  • Bringing dependents into the country; and
  • Requesting employment or training authorization.

The employment information that an international student can edit in the portal depends on the type of OPT they hold.

  • Students on 12-month post-completion OPT can use the portal to add, edit, or delete an employer. They can also update other employment information, such as the employer’s address, the student’s job title, the dates/hours of employment, and details about how the job relates to the student’s degree.
  • Students on STEM OPT must first receive confirmation from their DSO that their employment opportunity is STEM-compliant. Once the DSO certifies the STEM employment and it becomes active in SEVIS, students on STEM OPT may use the portal to correct a typographical error in the employer’s name, update the employer’s address, or edit the student’s job title, dates/hours of employment, supervisor’s name and contact information, and explanation about how the job relates to the student’s degree. For more information about employer/student obligations under the STEM OPT program, please click here.

Data entered into the SEVP Portal is sent immediately to the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) to update the student’s record. Students are encouraged to keep their employment information in the portal up-to-date to meet their reporting obligations and ensure that unemployment limits are not inadvertently triggered in SEVIS.

For more information about how to create an account in the SEVP Portal, please see the Department of Homeland Security’s detailed instructions on its Study in the States page.

For information about applying for a Social Security Number as a student on OPT, please click here.

For information about permissible business activities while in F-1 status, please click here.

To find out more about the new rules or other investor visas, contact Scott Legal, P.C.

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Ian E. Scott, Esq. is the Founder of Scott Legal, P.C. He can be reached at 212-223-2964 or by email at info@legalservicesincorporated.com.


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