The Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP), requires schools to maintain certain information in SEVIS for all students currently on approved OPT and STEM OPT. As an F-1 student on STEM OPT, you continue to be under WashU’s sponsorship. Therefore, OISS continues to maintain your SEVIS record so that you remain in valid immigration status.

It is important that STEM OPT students are familiar with the following guidance and OPT reporting requirements.

Summary of STEM OPT reporting deadlines and instances requiring a report

TimelineSTEM OPT Reporting Requirement
Within 10 days
report change to personal information

Report any changes to personal information via the SEVP Portal:

Any change in your residential or mailing address

Any change to your legal name

Updated email address or phone number
Within 10 days
report employment changes or material changes to existing I-983
Submit the OPT/STEM OPT Employment Update request in MyOISS to report any material changes to an existing Form I-983:

Any change to current employment (change of employer, loss of employment, change in hours, etc.). If you end/terminate employment, you must submit an “Evaluation on Student Progress” on Form I-983 page 5 as part of your OPT/STEM OPT Employment Update request.

Change of employer name and address (i.e. if you get a new job).

Change of the employer’s EIN.

Any reduction in student compensation that is not tied to a reduction in hours worked.

Any significant decrease in hours per week that a student engages in a STEM training opportunity.

Changes to the employer’s commitments or student’s learning objectives as documented on the Form I-983.
Every 6 months
STEM OPT Validation Report
You must submit the STEM OPT Validation Report request in MyOISS to confirm the following has not changed:

Your legal name

Your residential and mailing address

Current status of employment

Employer name and address
12 months after your STEM OPT start date
Evaluation of Student Progress
At the 12 month mark, you will need to submit your “Evaluation on Student Progress” on Form I-983 page 5 as part of your STEM OPT Validation Report in MyOISS.
24 months after your STEM OPT start date
Evaluation of Student Progress
At the 24 month mark, you will need to submit your “Final Evaluation of Student Progress” on Form I-983 page 5 as part of your STEM OPT Validation Report in MyOISS.

Detailed STEM OPT reporting requirements

Students on STEM OPT must report any change in employment or personal information within 10 days of the change. All employment changes must be made in MyOISS. Compared to the 12-month Post-Completion OPT, there are additional requirements while on STEM OPT. Read on for details.

STEM OPT Data Validation Report – Every 6 months

While on STEM OPT Extension, you must submit a new STEM OPT Validation Report in MyOISS every 6 months starting from the date the STEM OPT extension begins and ending when your F-1 status or the extension ends, whichever is first. You may submit your report up to 30 days before your validation due date and no more than 10 days after your validation due date. The report is to confirm that your SEVIS record accurately reflects your current circumstances.

While on STEM OPT, you will receive email notification reminders when it is time for you to submit your STEM OPT Validation Reports. In the STEM OPT Validation Report, you must confirm the following:

  • Your STEM OPT start date and end date
  • Employer ID Number (EIN)
  • Start date with your employer
  • Supervisor name, phone number and email
  • Your job title
  • For the 12 month validation report, you will also need to upload the completed “Evaluation on Student Progress” on page 5 (top evaluation box) of your I-983.
  • For the 24 month validation report, you will also need to upload the completed “Final Evaluation on Student Progress” on page 5 (bottom evaluation box) of your I-983.
Report any changes to your employment information within 10 days

While on STEM OPT, you are required to report any changes to your employment information including including job title, address changes, employment end dates in MyOISS by submitting the OPT/STEM OPT Employment Update request.

For every new employer, you must submit a new completed Form I-983 training plan. If you end/terminate employment, you must submit an “Evaluation on Student Progress” on Form I-983 page 5.

Report material changes to an existing Form I-983

While on STEM OPT, you must report to your OISS adviser any material changes to, or material deviations from, your Form I-983, Training Plan for STEM OPT Students. These changes must be reported via an updated Form I-983 submitted in MyOISS by using the OPT/STEM OPT Employment Update request.

As outlined in the DHS Form I-983 overview, material changes or deviations from the original Form I-983 may include, but are not limited to:

  • Any change of the employer’s EIN.
  • Any reduction in student compensation that is not tied to a reduction in hours worked.
  • Any significant decrease in hours per week that a student engages in a STEM training opportunity.
  • Changes to the employer’s commitments or student’s learning objectives as documented on the Form I-983.
Report any changes to address, email or phone number via the SEVP Portal

While on STEM OPT, you must update any change to the following within 10 days of the change in the SEVP Portal:

  • Residential address
  • Mailing address
  • Telephone number
  • Email address

Unemployment while on STEM OPT

While on the STEM OPT Extension, you receive an additional 60 days of unemployment time in addition to any of the 90 days you did not use during your Post-Completion OPT, for a total of 150 days maximum unemployment days during the entire 36 months of OPT (12 months standard post-completion OPT + 24 months STEM OPT).

If you accrue all of the STEM OPT unemployment time prior to the EAD card end date, you must submit the Early Departure Notification in MyOISS and prepare to leave the U.S. prior to the EAD end date. The 60-day grace period is not eligible for those who use all 150 days of unemployment days prior to the STEM OPT end date.

International travel while on STEM OPT

Can I travel overseas and re-enter the U.S. while on STEM OPT?

Yes. Remember that your immigration status is still F-1. To re-enter the U.S., you must have:

  • Valid EAD card
  • I-20 with travel signature (no more than 6 months old) with current employer information listed on 2nd page of I-20
    Need a new I-20? Submit an Reprint I-20 request in MyOISS
  • Valid F-1 visa stamp or plans to renew yours before re-entering the U.S. (Canadians are not required to have an F-1 visa stamp)
  • Current passport (valid for at least 6 months into the future unless your passport country belongs to the Six Month Club)
  • Job offer letter (highly recommended, but not required)

Can I travel overseas if my original 12-month EAD is expiring soon and my 24-month STEM OPT Extension is still pending?

Contact your OISS adviser for guidance on your particular situation. If there are any problems with your STEM OPT application and you are outside of the U.S., you may not be able to respond to USCIS in a timely manner, which could delay processing of your EAD.

If your STEM OPT application is denied while you are outside the U.S., and your original OPT EAD has expired, you will not be able to re-enter the U.S. in F-1 status and will not be able to reapply.

My F-1 visa has expired while I am on STEM OPT. What should I do?

If you are traveling abroad and your F-1 visa stamp has expired, you must obtain a new F-1 visa before returning to the U.S. (Canadians are exempt from this requirement). Bring these documents to your visa interview:

  • Valid passport (at least 6 months in the future)
  • Valid STEM OPT I-20 with travel endorsement from an OISS advisor within the past 6 months
  • STEM OPT EAD Card
  • Proof of current STEM OPT employment (employer should match employer info listed on the I-20)
  • Evidence of sufficient funds (e.g. a bank statement, a letter from a sponsor or a job offer letter)


Check the U.S. Department of State website for the most up-to-date information about obtaining a visa and specific requirements at the local U.S. embassy or consulate.

Ending STEM OPT, departing the U.S. & changes of status

You are allowed a 60-day grace period following your STEM OPT end date to leave the U.S., change your immigration status, transfer your F-1 record to a new school, or begin a new program at WashU. You may want to pursue these options before the end of your STEM OPT. If you remain in the U.S. past the end of your 60-day grace period without transferring to a new school, beginning your new program, or having applied for a timely filed Change of Status, you will begin accruing days of Unlawful Presence, which has serious consequences based on the length of the overstay. Read on to learn more.

Leave the U.S. Permanently

If you are leaving the U.S. before the end date on your EAD, you must submit the Early Departure Notification request via MyOISS before you leave the U.S. You will be required to submit a “Final Evaluation on Student Progress” on Form I-983 (page 5) as part of the request.

Change to another visa status in the U.S.

If you change to another visa status in the U.S., such as H-1B, E-3, G-4, TN, etc. or obtain Legal Permanent Resident (LPR) status, you must report this change by submitting a Report Change of Status request in MyOISS. You will also need to submit a completed “Final Evaluation on Student Progress” on Form I-983 (page 5) via MyOISS within 10 days of changing your status.

Pursue a new program of study in the U.S.

During STEM OPT Extension

If you wish to start a new full-time academic program while on STEM OPT, the remainder of your STEM OPT must be forfeited before beginning classes with the new program.

  • If you are beginning a program of study at another U.S. school, you must request a Transfer Out request in MyOISS in order to transfer your F-1 SEVIS record to another school.
  • If you are beginning a new program of study at WashU, you must submit a Change of Education Level request in MyOISS.

After STEM OPT Extension

If you are planning to go back to school after your STEM OPT ends, you will need to submit either a Transfer Out request to transfer your F-1 SEVIS record to another school or request a Change of Education Level if returning to WashU. Both requests are located in MyOISS.

You must complete the Transfer-Out or Change of Education Level requests before the end of the 60-day grace period following the STEM OPT Extension end date.

When considering transfer (to another school), keep in mind the following:
  • After the SEVIS transfer release date has passed, you may not continue working on STEM OPT, even if your EAD has not expired. The transfer release date, in effect, cancels the EAD.
  • Your SEVIS transfer release date can be within the STEM OPT period dates listed on the EAD or up to 60 days after the expiration date on the EAD.
  • Classes at the new school must begin within 5 months of the transfer release date or at the start of the next available term, whichever is earlier.
  • You may request a transfer release date in the future and continue working on STEM OPT until that date, as long as the EAD has not expired and the new program of study has not yet begun.
  • If the length of time between the STEM OPT end date and the start date of classes at the new school will be more than 5 months, meet with your OISS adviser to discuss options.
H-1B Cap-Gap Extension

“Cap-Gap” refers to the period of time between the official end-date listed on the OPT or STEM OPT EAD card and the official start date of an H-1B filed as a Change of Status.

The cap-gap OPT extension is the period in which an eligible F-1 student’s immigration status and employment authorization under OPT/STEM OPT is automatically extended to bridge the gap in status and employment between the end of F-1 status (OPT/STEM OPT end-date) and start of H-1B status.

Learn more about Cap-Gap Extension

Additional STEM OPT Resources