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Changes to OPT. MSU Office for International Students and Scholars [email protected] Overview. The new rule is effective as of April 8, 2008.

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changes to opt

Changes to OPT

MSU Office for International Students and Scholars

[email protected]

  • The new rule is effective as of April 8, 2008.
  • Still MANY unanswered questions – the government gave us the policy, but not the mechanisms for enacting the policy. (We have the “what” but not the “how.”)
  • All currently enrolled F-1 students and F-1 students on OPT are subject to the new OPT rule.
three most important points
Three Most Important Points
  • Students on OPT must continue to check their MSU email address while on OPT.
    • MSU email accounts remain active for two years after graduation.
  • The new rule includes more reporting responsibilities for students on OPT.
  • The mechanics of the new rule are not yet clear – we will send out additional information as we receive it.
new 17 month opt extension
New 17-month OPT Extension
  • Few students are eligible.
  • Two main eligibility criteria:
    • Student must have received a degree in a STEM field (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics)
    • Student must be working for an employer that is enrolled in the E-Verify system
new 17 month opt extension5
New 17-month OPT Extension
  • STEM Fields
    • The government has given a specific list of SEVIS major codes (called CIP codes) that they have classified as STEM fields.
    • The MSU Office of Planning and Budgets maintains the list of which MSU majors correspond with which SEVIS major codes.
    • If your field is not on the list and you think it should be, your academic department should contact the Office of Planning and Budgets regarding reclassification.
new 17 month opt extension6
New 17-month OPT Extension
  • E-Verify system
    • A free Internet-based system that employers can use to confirm the legal status and employment eligibility of newly-hired employees.
    • Like an electronic version of the I-9 form
    • Only 33,000 employers are enrolled in the E-Verify program at this time.
    • No list of employers who use E-Verify is available.
new 17 month opt extension7
New 17-month OPT Extension
  • Students who are eligible for the extension must first apply and be approved for the regular 12-month period of OPT.
  • Applications for the 17-month extension will require a new I-765 application and a new payment of the $340 application fee. Applications must be filed prior to expiration of the first 12 months of OPT.
  • Students who apply for the 17-month extension may continue employment after the original 12-month OPT expires until the I-765 is processed or 180 days, whichever is sooner.
new 17 month opt extension8
New 17-month OPT Extension

Reporting requirements during the 17-month OPT Extension

  • Must report to OISS within 10 days regarding any change of:
    • Name
    • Residential/Mailing address
    • Employer name
    • Employer address
    • Loss of employment
  • Must make a “validation report” every 6 months confirming student’s name and address, employer’s name and address, and verifying continuing employment.
  • No more than 120 days of unemployment is allowed during the total 29 months of OPT.

We are finished talking about the special 17-month OPT extension!

All information from here forward is about the REGULAR 12-month OPT!

h 1b cap gap protection
H-1B “Cap Gap” Protection
  • In the past few years, students and employers have both suffered from the H-1B “Cap Gap.”Example:
    • Student graduates in May 2006.
    • OPT begins June 2006.
    • Employer sponsors student for H-1B in April 2007.
    • H-1B visa status takes effect on October 1, 2007.
    • OPT expires June 2007.
h 1b cap gap protection11
H-1B “Cap Gap” Protection
  • Students may now continue working in the “Cap Gap!”
    • If a student’s employer has timely filed an H-1B petition with a requested start date of October 1, s/he may continue working, even after the OPT expires, until the H-1B takes effect.
    • If the H-1B petition is rejected, denied, or revoked during this time, the student must stop working immediately and depart the US within 60 days.
h 1b cap gap protection12
H-1B “Cap Gap” Protection
  • What we don’tknow:
    • How will this work???
    • We assume something will change about the way employers complete the I-9 form for an employee who is working during the “cap gap,” however such procedures have not yet been announced.
new version of i 765
New Version of I-765
  • I-765 is the application used to file for OPT.
  • The new OPT rule has resulted in revisions to the I-765.
  • The new form is now available on the OISS website as part of the OPT application packet. It can also be downloaded at
  • The old version of the I-765 form is only acceptable through 5/8/08.
i 765 filing window
I-765 Filing Window
  • Previously, students were required to file the I-765 prior to graduation and could file as early as they wanted.
  • Under the new rule, students must file the I-765 within the “filing window,” which begins 90 days prior to graduation and ends 60 days after graduation.
i 765 filing window15
I-765 Filing Window
  • Though it is possible to file the I-765 after graduation, we do not recommend doing so.
    • It currently takes approx. 2 – 2.5 months to receive I-765 OPT approval.
    • OPT may end no later than 14 months after graduation.
    • A student who files the I-765 60 days after graduation will likely not be able to start OPT until 4 – 4.5 months after graduation, leaving only 9.5 – 10 months of useable OPT.
reporting requirements during opt
Reporting Requirements During OPT
  • Students still must report certain information to MSU during OPT.
    • Change of name or residential address
      • Students should report this information to the Registrar only (OISS receives Registrar data).
    • Lack of employment or interruption of employment.
      • Students should report this information directly to OISS.
limited period of unemployment
Limited Period of Unemployment
  • Under the old rules, students on OPT were required to be either employed or searching for employment.
  • There was no specific penalty for unemployment during OPT.
  • The new OPT rule mandates that students on OPT may accrue no more than 90 days of unemployment.
limited period of unemployment18
Limited Period of Unemployment

We all have many unanswered questions about this new limitation on unemployment!

limited period of unemployment19
Limited Period of Unemployment
  • Some of our questions:
    • When does unemployment start accruing?
      • While there is no final statement on this topic, it appears that unemployment will start accruing on the day OPT is approved. Also, it appears that students whose OPT was approved prior to April 8, 2008 will not be subject to this rule. **THIS IS NOT FINAL INFORMATION** Please check the OISS website for future updates.
    • Are students who do not respond to an email request for employment confirmation considered out of status if they do not reply for 90 days?
opt rule updates
OPT Rule Updates
  • As we learn more, we will share it with the MSU community.
  • Check for updates at
  • Check your MSU email!!
    • Ensure that OISS emails do not go to your spam folder
questions we can try to answer
Questions? (we can try to answer!)

MSU Office for International Students and Scholars

105 International Center

[email protected]

(517) 353-1720