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F-1 Employment - AAIE 2017

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Regina George

on 26 September 2017

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Transcript of F-1 Employment - AAIE 2017

Presented by Regina George, Director
Office of Immigration and International Admissions
University of South Alabama

F-1 Employment: CPT/OPT/STEM OPT/Cap Gap
Introduction
How To Apply
12 months of full-time OPT is available at each level (Bachelors, Masters, Ph.D.).
If you don't use it, you lose it!
If you accept 12 months (365 days) of full-time CPT, you void your OPT eligibility.
Part-time OPT will be deducted from the 12 month total at a rate of half. (Example: 10 months of part-time OPT ÷ 2 = 5 months. One would still be eligible for 7 months of full-time OPT to = 12 months)
Those in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) fields are eligible for an additional 24 months beyond the first 12 months of OPT. (Must apply for STEM extension!)
Time Limits
Make sure to look up the graduation date of your particular semester on the school's Academic Calendar. If graduating in the middle of the semester (thesis/dissertation only), determine what the "graduation" date is with the academic department.
The student must determine start and end dates, not the DSO. This must be listed when the student turns in their application materials.
Please list an email address they check regularly on this form.
Check and re-check the document checklist to make sure you have all required documents BEFORE you turn in your application to OIIA.
OPT Student Application Form
MUST be filled out by your academic advisor or department chair!
If any discrepancies appear, you will be required to go back and get a revised form filled out and signed.
OPT Department Recommendation Form
Be a degree-seeking student in F-1 status.
Possess a valid passport.
Have one academic year (two semesters) of full-time study completed before the requested start date.
Have not used 12 months (365 days) or more of full-time Curricular Practical Training (CPT).
Pre-Completion vs. Post-Completion
Pre-Completion OPT is work authorization that will begin and end before the program end date listed on the student's I-20. While school is in session, a student may apply for part-time, pre-completion OPT while also enrolling in the required hours to be a full-time student. During part-time, pre-completion OPT you may work up to 20 hours per week in the field of study listed on the I-20. Full-time pre-completion OPT may be requested for breaks (i.e. summer) when the student is not required to enroll or when a student has completed all course requirements and only lacks completion of the thesis or dissertation.

REMEMBER: Pre-completion OPT will take time away from the full year of post-completion OPT!


Post-Completion OPT is work authorization that will begin after the program end date on the I-20.
Post-completion OPT must be full-time (at least 20 hours per week) in the field of study listed on the I-20. Students who have completed all course requirements except for the thesis or dissertation may apply for post-completion OPT although it may require the I-20 end date be shortened.

*Separate applications are required for each type of OPT, thus it is not possible to request a period of part-time, pre-completion OPT immediately followed by full-time, pre- or post-completion OPT in the same petition.
OPT Eligibility Requirements
Things to Remember:
Post-Completion OPT

Filing Deadlines
Up to 90 days prior to degree completion date
No later than 60 days after degree completion date
Processing Time for OPT application
The official processing time for the USCIS is 60-90 days. The current processing time is approximately 120 days. The student will receive a receipt notice roughly two weeks after the materials have arrived to the USCIS Service Center. You may then check the status of your case online at uscis.gov with the receipt number. Students may NOT begin work until they have the OPT card in hand and NOT before the start date of the OPT card.
Post-Completion OPT Agreement
Read carefully and sign. Make sure to keep a copy of this form so that you can remember your responsibilities while on OPT.
Passport-style Photo Requirements
*Please do not wear a white shirt when you take your pictures.
Checklist of Items for Application
The following items must be turned in to OIIA at the time of OPT application:
Completed Student Application Form
Completed Department Recommendation Form
Post-completion OPT Agreement Form
Completed I-765 form
Completed G-1145 form (to receive receipt notice by text and email)
Photocopy of valid passport info page, F-1 visa page, and I-94 arrival page
Copies of all I-20s (1st and 2nd pages only) issued for current degree program
Unofficial transcript of all coursework at South Alabama
Two passport-style photos
Check or money order for $410 made payable to Department of Homeland Security
*Once all materials are turned into OIIA, a new I-20 will be created within 2-3 business days. You must sign the new I-20 before it can be sent to USCIS. The OPT application packet MUST be sent to USCIS within 30 days of creation of new I-20.
STEM OPT Eligibility
Reporting Responsibilities
All students approved for OPT must report the following to OIIA:
Any change in name (passport or official documentation needed)
Residential address changes
Name and address of employer
Dates of employment
Any change to name and/or address of employer
Any interruption of employment
Eligibility
F-1 students in post-completion OPT who have earned a bachelor's, master's, or doctoral degree in a science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM) field may apply for a 24-month extension of their post-completion OPT period.

Requirements:
Be in a period of post-completion OPT status.
Current OPT must be based on a degree in one of the STEM designated fields. A list of DHS STEM approved degree programs can be found at www.ice.gov/sites/default/files/documents/Document/2016/stem-list.pdf.
STEM Extension may be based on a previously obtained degree. Previous degree must be from an accredited, U.S. - based institution, and the degree must have been earned within the past 10 years.
Possess a valid passport.
Work at least 20 hours per week for an employer who is registered in the E-Verify program in a job related to the student's field of study.
Employer must agree to reporting requirements.
Student must complete a Form I-983 Training Plan with their employer and submit with STEM OPT Extension application
Things To Remember
Filing Deadline - May be submitted 120 days prior to the end date of current OPT card. MUST be received by USCIS prior to the current card end date.
Authorization will begin the day after the end date of the current OPT and expire 24 months later.
Those students who have an extension petition filed with USCIS before the end date of their current STEM OPT may continue to work up to 180 days beyond the expiration of the current OPT while the petition is awaiting a decision.
Unemployment limit - An additional 60 days of unemployment may be taken plus the original 90 days for a total of 150 days. Again, weekends and days spent outside the U.S. count towards unemployment.
Cancellation - same as initial OPT.
Travel - same as initial OPT.
Student Reporting Responsibilities
Students have two different timelines to remember:
1. Changes to the following must be reported within 10 days of occurence:
Any change in name (passport copy or official document required)
Residential address
Name and address of employer
Dates of employment
Any change to the name and/or address of employer
Any interruption of employment
2. Every 6 months (counted from start of STEM OPT), the student MUST report the name and address of their employer. This is required even if there hasn't been any change to the data last reported.
3. 12-Month and 24-Month Evaluations: The student must also complete and submit a self-evaluation using the I-983, signed by the employer and submitted to the Office of Immigration International Admissions at months 12 and 24 of the STEM Employment Period.
4. A new Form I-983 each time you have a change in employer!
Required Documents for Application
Completed STEM OPT Extension Student Application Form and STEM OPT Agreement Form
Completed I-765, in black ink
Completed Form G-1145 (to receive receipt notice by text and email)
Completed Form I-983
Copy of diploma or transcript showing continuous enrollment towards completion of degree.
Job offer letter (MUST list E-Verify number)
Copy of current EAD card
Photocopies of passport information page, most recent F-1 visa page, and I-94 card (front and back) or I-94 arrival page
Two passport-style photos
Check or money order for $410 made payable to Department of Homeland Security
Form I-765
Must be filled out in black ink!
For STEM extension, check "renewal of my permission to accept employment" box above #1.
List family name first, then first name, then middle (if you have one).
You can choose to leave address as OIIA's address (390 Alumni Circle Meisler Hall 2200 Mobile, AL 36688) or your current address. If you do not live in AL, this may change which USCIS Service Center you send your petition. Ask OIIA for more information.
#10 will be your I-94 card or arrival page.
#11 - You will check "yes". You will then list what USCIS Service Center your application was applied to (should be Dallas) and the start and end dates of the EAD card. You will also that it was "Granted". You will need to attach a copy of your previous EAD card.
#12 will be the date of last entry to the U.S. (listed on I-94 arrival page).
#13 will be the last city in which you entered the U.S. (listed on the passport stamp).
#14 and #15 should be "student" if you entered and are currently in F-1 status.
#16 will be (c) (3) (c).
#17 - List correct degree level, employer's name, and E-Verify # in the blanks
Sign, list telephone number, and date.
Forms
1. STEM Extension OPT Student Application Form - All information must be filled out by applicant before packet is received at OIIA. Email MUST be an email that is not your South Alabama email address and that you check regularly.

2. STEM OPT Agreement - Must be signed by applicant.

3. Employer Data

4. Form I-983 completed by applicant and employer.
The following items must be turned in to OIIA at the time of OPT application:
Grace Period
A 60-day grace period will begin at the end date of the EAD card. During this grace period, you may change status, transfer to another school, begin a new degree program, or prepare to exit the U.S.
Grace Period
A 60-day grace period will begin at the end date of the EAD card. During this grace period, you may change status, transfer to another school, begin a new degree program, or prepare to exit the U.S.
Questions?
Employer Responsibilities
1. Employer must be enrolled in the E-Verify program.
2. Employer must complete a Form I-983 Training Plan with the student.
Explain how training is related to the field of study
State training goals and means of supervision/evaluation
State duties, hours, compensation, and verify that the compensation is commensurate with similarly employed U.S. workers
Sign off on a self-evaluation by the student at two times (12th month and 24th month/end of program)
 Any substantial change in employment duties will require and updated I-983
3. Employers must agree to notify the Designated School Official using immigration@southalabama.edu if the employee is terminated or departs from employment prior to the end date on the STEM OPT Extension EAD within 48 hours of the occurrence.

DSO Immigration Advising
Factors to Consider
Institutional
Policies
Knowledge
of Regulations
Resources
NAFSA Adviser's Manual Online
NAFSA publications, conferences, workshops
NAFSA knowledge community networks and discussion forums (ISTA)
Responsibilities to students and to the university
Cooperation with departments on campus and government agencies
Professional Code of Ethics
CPT vs OPT
Curricular Practical Training, or CPT, is defined as "alternate work/study, internship, cooperative education, or any other type of required internship or practicum which is offered by sponsoring employers through cooperative agreements with the school." Thus, CPT for F-1 students is intended to provide work experience in the U.S. in situations where the work serves as an integral part of a student's academic program and an established curriculum, prior to completion of that program.
Curricular Practical Training (CPT)
The student must have been lawfully enrolled on a full-time basis for one academic year before being eligible for CPT. An exception exists for graduate students whose programs require immediate participation in an internship, a practicum, or other employment.
It is available only while the student is in valid F-1 status and before the completion of his/her program.

*Students in English language programs are not eligible for CPT.
Eligibility Requirements
Student receives application from OIIA.
Student meets with Academic Advisor and Chair for authorization signature.
Student presents completed application with copy of job offer letter to Immigration Coordinator.
Immigration Coordinator approves or denies based on eligibility. If approved, a new I-20 is created to reflect dates and type (part-time/full-time) of employment.
CPT is an "in-house" authorization process.
Must be renewed each semester.
Process of CPT Authorization
Cap Gap Extensions
Regulations specify that duration of status (D/S), and any post-completion OPT work authorization, will be automatically extended for an F-1 student who is the beneficiary of a timely-filed H-1B petition requesting change of status and an employment start date of October 1 of the current year (i.e., the first day of the following fiscal year). An automatic cap-gap extension of an F-1 student's duration of status also applies to the duration of status of the student's dependents in F-2 status, but does not grant work authorization to the F-2 dependents.
Who Qualifies?


The student must be the beneficiary of an H-1B petition that meets the following conditions:

The petition has been timely filed with USCIS.
According to USCIS, "Timely filed means that the H-1B petition (indicating change of status rather than consular processing) was filed during the H-1B acceptance period... while the student's authorized F-1 duration of status (D/S) admission was still in effect (including any period of time during the academic course of study, any authorized periods of post-completion Optional Practical Training (OPT), and the 60-day departure preparation period, commonly known as the "grace period")."
The petition is subject to the H-1B cap count, i.e., cap-gap benefits are not available if the petition is exempt from the H-1B cap count (see the practice note below);
The petition requests an employment start date of October 1 (i.e., the first day of the fiscal year from which the H-1B cap number will be drawn);
The petition requests a change of status for the beneficiary from F-1 to H-1B; and
The student must not have violated the terms or conditions of his or her F-1 status.
H-1B cap-gap extension eligibility checklist
The cap-gap extension of status and work authorization officially commences on the date the I-129 petition and fee are received by USCIS, not the date that the receipt notice was issued.
If a student is not in authorized OPT on the eligibility date, he or she is not eligible for an extension of employment authorization. If the student was still in his or her 60-day grace period, the student is eligible for an extension of status, but not of work authorization.
H-1B petitions filed by cap-exempt employers like institutions of higher education cannot serve as the basis for an F-1 cap-gap extension. DHS clarified in the preamble to the final 24-month STEM OPT rule that only H-1B petitions filed by cap-subject employers can serve as the basis for F-1 cap-gap extension benefits. An H-1B petition filed by a cap-exempt employer like an institution of higher education, therefore, would not impart cap-gap treatment to a student. In the preamble to the final rule [para 757], DHS rationalized that such petitions did not justify the cap-gap benefit, since cap-exempt employers can file an H-1B petition at any time, whereas given the demand for H-1B slots, cap-subject employers must file their petitions requesting a future October 1 start date.
The automatic extension terminates when USCIS rejects, denies, or revokes the H-1B petition. However, the student would have a grace period after the termination during which s/he is authorized to remain in the United States for up to 60 days to prepare for departure from the U.S., change degree level, transfer, change status, etc. as long as the student has not otherwise violated status. The student's cap-gap employment authorization, would no longer be valid during the 60-day grace period.
The 90-day limit on unemployment continues to apply to students with employment authorization while on a cap-gap extension.
Students on cap-gap extensions must continue to report all changes of name and address, and interruptions of employment, just like other students on OPT.
Other F-1/H-1B cap-gap guidance


H-1B Petition Status OPT Employment Extended Until:
Filed June 1
Waitlisted July 28
Receipted September 30
Rejected, Withdrawn, or Denied 8 CFR 214.2(f)(5)(vi)(B) states that the cap-gap extension of duration of status and employment authorization "shall automatically terminate upon the rejection, denial, revocation, or withdrawal of the H-1B petition filed on such F-1 student’s behalf or upon the denial or withdrawal of the request for change of nonimmigrant status, even if the H-1B petition filed on the F-1 student’s behalf is approved for consular processing." SEVP OPT Policy Guidance 1004-03 (sec. 9.1.1), however, states that "OPT authorization ends 10 days after the date of the withdrawal or denial."
Cap-Gap Extension Dates
Full transcript