Hiring Scholars on F-1 Optional Practical Training
What is Optional Practical Training?
Optional Practical Training (OPT) is work authorization available to degree-seeking international students who have been in valid F-1 status for at least two consecutive semesters and who plan to seek employment in the U.S. in their field of study. OPT is recommended by the international office at the institution at which the student obtained his or her degree, but final approval is granted by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS). Usually OPT is used after the student completes the degree, and is initially approved for a period of up to one year.
If an employee is currently working on OPT, and the appointment will be extended beyond the dates of the Employment Authorization Document (EAD), what steps should the department and/or scholar take?
Since each case is unique, the department should contact the Berkeley International Office 6 months prior to the OPT expiration date to discuss the time frame and next steps. The timeframe and process can vary and starting the discussion in advance will allow more options for the scholar and department to consider.
Can OPT be extended?
Some students who have received a U.S. Bachelor’s, Master’s, and Doctoral degrees in certain STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) degree programs, are eligible for a one-time, 17-month extension of post-completion OPT (for a total eligibility of up to 29 months) if they work for an employer registered with E-Verify. For information about whether a particular employee is eligible for an extension of OPT, the employee should check with the international office at the institution at which the student obtained his or her degree. The Berkeley International Office can only confirm STEM extension eligibility for employees who graduated from UC Berkeley.
What is E-Verify?
E-Verify is an Internet based system operated by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in partnership with the Social Security Administration (SSA) that allows participating employers to electronically verify the employment eligibility of their newly hired employees.
Is UC Berkeley registered with E-Verify?
Yes, UC Berkeley is registered with E-Verify. UC Berkeley's E-Verify number is 286822 and company name is listed as: University of California, Berkeley. This information should only be used for paid UC Berkeley employees. For additional information about E-Verify at UC Berkeley, please contact Human Resources at 642-5470.