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Unemployment on OPT

F-1 regulations state that students who have been authorized for post-completion OPT must leave the U.S. before they accrue an aggregate of more than 90 days of unemployment. No 60-day grace period is allowed. Days of unemployment will be counted from the start date indicated on the EAD card.

If students volunteer or intern without pay at least 20 hours per week in their area of study (where this does not violate any labor laws), this time would not be counted against the 90 days of unemployment. Students should obtain a letter from the employer/organization verifying that they are volunteering or interning and keep it for their records.

Please report all periods of unemployment in the SEVP Portal


The limit on unemployment for students participating in STEM is raised to an aggregate of no more than 150 days, applied to the entire 36-month period of post-completion OPT.

To report periods of unemployment during STEM please submit the STEM Reporting Updates webform. Complete Part 2 of the form, inputting your previous employer's information under Company 1.