Optional Practical Training FAQs


1. What employer information do I need to report during OPT?
You should report the following information: employer name, employer address, start date of employment, and any periods of unemployment.

2. How do I report my employer information?
You will report your employment information in iStart. You can find Employer Reporting Instructions here.

3. Does my employer have to be in the E-Verify program during my 12-month standard OPT period?
No. However, to be eligible for the 24-month STEM extension your employer is required to be an E-Verify employer. For more information on the 24-month STEM OPT extension, please see our website.

4. Do I need to continue to update my personal address while on OPT?
Yes; you must continue to report any changes to your physical U.S. and foreign addresses while on OPT. This cannot be a PO Box or your company's address. Complete the Personal Information Update e-form through iStart.

5. Can I be unemployed during OPT?
Unemployment is allowable while you are on post-compleiton OPT. However, you may not accrue more than a total of 90 days of unemployment during the initial 12 months of post-completion OPT.

6. What counts as time unemployed?
Each day (including weekends) during the period when OPT authorization begins and ends that the student does not have qualifying employment counts as a day of unemployment. OPT authorizaton begins on the employment start date shown on the student's EAD card.

7. How do I report that I am unemployed?
You report that you are unemployed in iStart. Type "Unemployed" in the "Name of Employer" field. In the "Date Employment Began" field, use your OPT start date (if you are not employed by the EAD start date) or the date you became unemployed (if you became unemployed during OPT).

8. What type of work is allowed on standard post-completion OPT and which documents should I have to prove employment?
Please see ISSS's website on what types of employment are allowable while on OPT and a list of documents that have been suggested by USCIS to prove employment.

9. My employer has asked me to take a business trip outside the US. What do I report?
You are not required to change employment information (i.e. the address) if you will take a business trip outside the US.

10. I work in one location, but my employer's office is in another location. What should I report?
Report the address of the location where you are working.

11. Will I still have health insurance through Georgia Tech?
No, you will no longer be enrolled in an insurance plan and should seek personal medical insurance. Please see our Health Insurance after Graduation website for more information.

12. What is the H-1B cap-gap extension?
The H-1B cap-gap extension allows students who have timely-filed H-1Bs to continue working or staying in the U.S. until their H-1B becomes active. Read more at our H-1B Cap-Gap Extension website.

13: Can I use the OIE address as my mailing address on the I-765?
We encourage students to use their personal mailing addresses on the I-765.

14: If I move while my OPT is pending, how can I update my mailing address with USCIS?
Once you have received your receipt number, you can use the USCIS My Case Status website to request your mailing address be updated.

15: If I am furloughed, or placed in a period of temporary unpaid leave, while in a period of post-completion OPT, will OIE count this as unemployment time towards the maximum limit?
If your employment is not terminated, but rather you are placed in a period of unpaid administrative leave with the expectation that you will return to full time paid employment after the temporary period, you are still maintaining OPT employment. We encourage individuals on Optional Practical Training to consult with a qualified immigration attorney about this question.

Temporary leaves of absence as outlined above do not need to be reported to OIE. However if your employment is terminated by your employer during the furlough/temporary leave period, this must be reported to OIE using the iStart portal. F-1 visa holders participating in 12-month post-completion OPT must complete the OPT Personal Contact/Employment Update and those participating in 24 Month OPT STEM Extensions must complete the Material Change to Employment e-form.