Base on the Interim final Rule published April 8, 2008 and the Final Rule Published March 11, 2016 with defective date of May 10, 2016, F-1 student has 90 days aggregated (total) maximum allowed period of unemployment while on the 12-month post-completion OPT and additional 60 days allowed for STEM OPT Extension.
Does the rule mean I have to find a job within the first three months of my OPT or go home?
- You must be gainfully employed by the 90th day after the start date listed on your EAD Card. The total number of days allowed for unemployment while on post-completion OPT is a maximum of 90 days.
- I am applying/on a STEM OPT Extension (OPTX). How many total days of unemployment am I allowed?
- Students who receive a 24-month STEM OPT Extension are allowed an additional 60 days of unemployment for a total of 150 days over their entire post-completion OPT period.
- I am qualified for an H-1B Cap Gap Extension. How many total days of unemployment am I allowed?
- Students who qualify for an H-1B Cap Gap Extension of employment authorization remain subject to the 90/150 days maximum of unemployment for the entire duration of OPT.
- What are the possible consequences if I remain unemployed for more than 90/150 days?
- A student who has exceeded the period of unemployment while on post-completion OPT/STEM OPT Extension has violated her/his status unless he/she has taken one of the following actions:
- Applied to continue her/his education by a change of degree level or transferring to another university
- Departed the United States
- Taken action otherwise to maintain legal status
According to the SEVP Policy Guidance 0801-01, “Students may be denied future immigration benefits that rely on the student’s valid F-1 status if DHS determines that the student exceeded the limitations on employment.” Other possible consequences include DHS terminating the student’s F-1 record if it reflects more than 90 days unemployment.
Federal documents discussing periods of unemployment while on OPT:Federal Register, April 8, 2008.
- 214 eCFR
- SEVP Policy Guidance
- p. 13-19
- USCIS FAQ