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Automatic Termination of OPT for F-1 Students if they Transfer to a Different School or Begin Study at Another Educational Level

By May 21, 2018April 8th, 2021Immigration
Photo courtesy of Evonne on Flickr, labeled for reuse:

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) have issued a reminder that F-1 students on Optional Practical Training (OPT) will have their OPT status terminated automatically if they transfer to another school or begin studying at another education level. For example, if a student is current on OPT after studying at the undergraduate level and will begin school for a graduate degree on September 1, the student’s OPT will automatically expire on September 1 and the student can no longer legally work in the United States. It should be noted that it is only the OPT status that is terminated, students in F-1 status will not be otherwise affected as long as they comply with all requirements for maintaining their student status, which includes not working in the United States with an expired Employment Authorization Document (EAD). To learn more about working in the United States, please click here.

Working in the U.S. without proper authorization has serious immigration consequences, including removal from the country and bars on reentry. Remaining in the U.S. in violation of lawful nonimmigration status can lead to an accrual of unlawful presence which includes penalties that can rise to a 3 year or 10 year bar from entering the U.S. Currently, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) informs USCIS of the termination date of student EADs. Please click here to learn more about the SEVP portal and how to use it. USCIS has updated its systems and will begin to enter EAD termination dates into these systems after being notified by SEVP. This process is intended to strengthen the integrity of the F-1 and OPT programs, to ensure consistency between SEVP and USCIS systems, and to inform students of possible consequences of working with a terminated EAD.

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