Pre-completion OPT Requirements and FAQ

Reporting Employment

  • You must report your employment information to the international student portal via the OPT & STEM OPT Employer Update request.
  • You do not need to provide an employment offer letter but we do recommend you retain one for your own benefit.

Relation to program of study

  • Your employment must be related to your major/degree.
  • When reporting employment to ISS, write 2 – 3 sentences and be clear about why this employment is suitable for Pre-completion OPT. Remember that the employment is considered training for your program of study.
  • ISS will email you if we do not see a direct connection.

Hours worked

  • When reporting employment, you will be asked if you have a full-time job or part-time.
  • Depending on your authorization, you may be limited to part-time employment (20 hours/week).

Types of employment

  • Regular paid employment.
  • Internships.
  • Volunteer or unpaid opportunities: You need to be able to provide evidence about how it is related to your major and have evidence of the number of hours you volunteered.
  • Payment by multiple short-term employers: Keep a list of all short-term employment, dates, and durations.
  • Work for hire: Employment where an individual performs a service based on a contractual relationship rather than an employment relationship. Have evidence showing the duration of the contract periods and the name and address of the contracting company.
  • Self-employed business owner: You can start a business and be self-employed. You must be able to prove that you have the proper business licenses and are actively engaged in a business related to your major.
  • Employment through an agency: You must be able to provide evidence showing how many hours you worked through the agency.

Finding work