OPT Reporting Requirements

OPT Reporting Requirements

While on OPT, you are required to keep your SEVIS record up-to-date and report certain information to maintain your F-1 status (see more details below). You will use BIO's online Student SEVIS Update (SSU) Hub to update your address, employment information, and any other status reports. The information you enter into the SSU Hub will be stored and maintained by Berkeley International Office and is used only for reporting to SEVIS, as mandated by federal regulations.

Click here to access the SSU Hub

Student SEVIS Update (SSU) Hub

Creating/Accessing your SSU Hub Account

When accessing the SSU Hub for the first time, you'll need to "Create an account" using your Student ID Number, SEVIS ID Number (the N00... on the top of your I-20), and an email that you will continue to have access to. If using a Berkeley email, please make sure that you won't lose access to it (you can "claim" it here). You will be able to create your own password. Please retain this for future logins.

For future logins, you'll need your Student ID number, SEVIS ID number, and the password you created. If you need to re-set your password, you can do so yourself (the password re-set information will be sent to the email address that you originally used to sign-up). 

  • You will be able to create an SSU Hub account as soon as BIO has recommended you for OPT.
  • You will lose access to your SSU Hub account when your SEVIS status is no longer Active (i.e. 60 days after your OPT ends, upon SEVIS transfer out, or upon Change of Status approval).
  • If you have trouble accessing SSU, please email seviscoordinator@berkeley.edu.

SSU Hub vs SEVP Portal

On March 23, 2018, the Student Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) launched the SEVP Portal for students on OPT. On Day 1 of your approved OPT, you will receive an email from SEVP with instructions on how to create an account. This is optional. Berkeley International Office will NOT use the SEVP Portal for OPT reporting purposes. The SEVP Portal will NOT replace BIO's own reporting system, Student SEVIS Update (SSU) Hub.

We ask that ALL UCB students on OPT continue to use the BIO SSU Hub for all OPT reporting requirements and use SEVP Portal as view-only.

Advantages to using only our BIO SSU Hub include:
  1. You only have to report your information in one place.
  2. A BIO international student adviser will review and check your information for accuracy before sending it to SEVIS. The SEVP Portal has no such check.

12-Month OPT Reporting Requirements

While on your 12-month OPT, you are required to...

Update your OPT employment or student personal information within 10 days of the change to Berkeley International Office online through our Student SEVIS Update (SSU) Hub

The following information must be reported to Berkeley International Office during the post-completion OPT period of authorization within 10 days of any changes:

  • Your residential address
  • Your phone and email address
  • Employer's name
  • Employer's address
  • Job Title(s)
  • Explanation of how your job(s) relates to your major area of study at UCB (see following section for further detail)
  • Start and/or end dates of employment
  • Any periods of unemployment
  • Date of exiting the U.S. (You must provide date of exit if you decide to exit the U.S and complete your OPT status prior to the end date of your OPT)
  • If your visa status changes while on OPT

You are required to update this information within 10 days of any changes.  Keep a receipt copy of the web site each time you report a change.

Direct Relationship Between Employment and the Major Area of Study

Federal regulations require that F-1 students on OPT provide a description of how their employment relates to their major area of study. There must be a logical connection between the duties involved in the practical training opportunity and the student's major area of study. In the written description, the regular duties should be explained and the connection between those duties and the degree should be described (see examples below).

UCB students on OPT will provide this description as part of their employment information in the Student SEVIS Update (SSU) Hub.

Sample Explanations of a Direct Relationship
(Source: https://www.ice.gov/doclib/sevis/pdf/optDirectlyRelatedGuidance.pdf)

1. Bachelor's degree in Electrical Engineering: I work full time as an Electrical Engineer at ABC Corp., a government contractor. In my job, I analyze client requirements for electrical systems and provide them with cost estimates of such systems. My work requires understanding of electrical circuit theory, which I studied in-depth at the University of ABC.

2. Bachelor's degree in Business: I work full time as a Loan Officer at a mortgage company, Happy Homes, where I meet with clients and evaluate, authorize and recommend approval of loan applications. On a daily basis, I use the knowledge I gained in my credit analysis, sales and marketing classes that I took as part of my major program of study.

3. Master's degree in Music: I am working at a hospital playing the harp in patient rooms. I also conduct hands-on harp beginner workshops for long-term patients. On average, I work at the hospital 35 hours a week. My duties directly utilize the skills and knowledge I acquired from my coursework and degree in music therapy.

4. PhD in Computer Science: I am employed as a Computer and Information Research Scientist at ABC Research Institute. I work as part of a team of scientists and engineers that designs experiments to test the operation of various software systems. My work builds on research in complex algorithms and machine learning, which I studied as part of my dissertation.

5. Master's degree in Kinesiology: I am working 25 hours a week in a health food store as a consultant for Self-Made Inc., designing and teaching exercise classes that are incorporated into a customer's overall nutrition and exercise plan. My designs and customer instruction draw upon my studies and classwork in exercise therapy and physical reconditioning.

Reporting changes to an existing employer

If you have reported your employer information in the BIO SSU Hub and there are subsequent changes to your employment information with that employer, you must report these changes in the BIO SSU Hub within 10 days.

Changes to report by editing the existing employer entry in SSU:

  • Employer's address
  • Job Title
  • Explanation of how your job(s) relates to your major area of study at UCB 
  • Start and/or end dates of employment

Changes to report by adding a new employer entry in SSU:

  • Employer name change
  • Change between part-time (fewer than 20 hours/week) and full-time (20 or more hours/week) status

    Instructions for adding a new employer entry in SSU due to employer name change or change of part-time/full time status:
  1. Click Edit next to your current employer line. Add an end date to this employment record. The end date should be the last date that your company used the original name or the last day of your previous part-time/full-time status. If you are not certain of an exact date, use an approximate date. 

  2. Next, in the employment section of SSU Hub, click Add. Fill in information on your "new" employer. This should include the new/current company name and the new/current part-time/full-time status. The start date should be day after your previous employment "ended" - the first date that these changes came into effect. Fill in the rest of the information as required. 

24-Month STEM Extension OPT Reporting Requirements

While on your 24-month STEM OPT, you are required to...

Update your STEM employment or student personal information within 10 days of the change to Berkeley International Office online through our Student SEVIS Update (SSU) Hub. Compared to your 12-month OPT period, there are several additional requirements while on STEM OPT. Additional details about these requirements are outlined below.

The following information must be reported to Berkeley International Office during the STEM OPT period of authorization within 10 days of any changes or reporting deadlines:

  • Your residential address
  • Your phone and email address
  • Employer('s) name
  • Employer('s) address
  • Job Title(s)
  • Explanation of how your job(s) relates to your field of study at UCB
  • Start and/or end dates of employment
  • Any periods of unemployment
  • Material Changes to your I-983 (see below for details)
  • Validation Reports every 6 months (see below for details)
  • 12-Month Evaluation I-983 (see below for details)
  • Final Evaluation I-983 at the end of each employment (see below for details)
  • 24-Month Final Evaluation I-983 (see below for details)
  • Date of exiting the U.S. (You must provide date of exit if you decide to exit the U.S and complete your OPT status prior to the end date of your OPT)
  • If your visa status changes while on OPT

Changing Employers While on STEM OPT

If you change employers during your 24-Month STEM period follow these instructions (no fee required):

1) Log into SSU and do the following:

  1. Update your address/phone/email.
  2. Upload a copy of your STEM EAD.
  3. Add the new employer information and upload a new I-983 form for the new employer. You will also choose the delivery method for your new I-20.
  4. Add an end date to your previous employer and upload the Final Evaluation from I-983 page 5 for your previous employer.

If your STEM EAD has not yet been approved by USCIS, contact a BIO advisor internationaloffice@berkeley.edu for more information.

Reporting changes to an existing STEM Employer and Reporting Material Changes to your I-983

Both STEM OPT students and employers must report material changes to, or deviations from, the student's formal training plan. This requires submission of a new I-983 to SSU.  Material changes include, but are not limited to:

  • Change in employer address or supervision
  • Any change of the employer's name and/or EIN number, resulting from a change in the employer's ownership or structure.
  • 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 these changes by editing the existing employer entry and uploading a new I-983 in SSU:

  • Change in employer address or supervision
  • 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 these changes by by adding a new employer entry in SSU:

  • Any change of the employer's name and/or EIN number, resulting from a change in the employer's ownership or structure.

    Instructions for adding a new employer entry in SSU due to a change in employer name and/or EIN
  1. Click Edit next to your current employer line. Add an end date to this employment record. The end date should be the last date that your company used the original name or EIN. If you are not certain of an exact date, use an approximate date. You will be prompted to upload a final evaluation of your work (the bottom half of p. 5 of the I-983).  Since you are not actually leaving your employment, please simply write a sentence or two explaining what change has recently taken place. Then sign and upload it.  Your supervisor does not need to sign this document.

  2. Next, in the employment section of SSU Hub, click Add. Fill in information on your "new" employer. This should include the new/current company name and EIN. The start date should be day after your previous employment "ended" - the first date that these changes came into effect. Fill in the rest of the information as required, including uploading an updated I-983. 

6-Month Validation Reports and Evaluations

Validation Reports and Evaluations must be submitted in your SSU Hub. Be advised that your F-1 record may be terminated for failure to submit these required updates.

  • Every 6 months (from the start date of the STEM EAD), students must submit a "Validation Report" through SSU.
  • At 12-months, students must submit an Annual Evaluation signed by their current employer (top of page 5 of the I-983 Form).
  • At the end of each employment (if the student stop working for an employer), students must submit a Final Evaluation (bottom of page 5 of the I-983 Form). 
    • You will do this by adding an end to the previous employer.
  • At the end of the STEM OPT period, students must submit their 24-month Validation Report and upload their Final Evaluation (bottom of page 5 of the I-983 Form).
  • For students on a regular 24-Month STEM Extension, the 6 and 12-month clock begins on the start date of your STEM EAD.
  • Students should complete the Validation Report no more than 15 days before and no later than 10 days after it is due. SSU will list your validation report due dates.

Employer's Reporting Requirements

If your employment is terminated for any reason, your employer is required to notify Berkeley International Office within 5 days. You must inform your employer of the reporting requirements at the end of your employment. Ask them to email Berkeley International Office at Internationaloffice@berkeley.edu with the following text in the subject line of the email: "OPT Employment Termination."  Your name, your SEVIS ID number and the start and end date of the STEM employment must be included in the email message.

Direct Relationship Between Employment and the Major Area of Study

Federal regulations require that F-1 students on OPT provide a description of how their employment relates to their major area of study. There must be a logical connection between the duties involved in the practical training opportunity and the student's major area of study. In the written description, the regular duties should be explained and the connection between those duties and the degree should be described (see examples below).

UCB students on OPT will provide this description as part of their employment information in the Student SEVIS Update (SSU) Hub.

Sample Explanations of a Direct Relationship
(Source: https://www.ice.gov/doclib/sevis/pdf/optDirectlyRelatedGuidance.pdf)

1. Bachelor's degree in Electrical Engineering: I work full time as an Electrical Engineer at ABC Corp., a government contractor. In my job, I analyze client requirements for electrical systems and provide them with cost estimates of such systems. My work requires understanding of electrical circuit theory, which I studied in-depth at the University of ABC.

2. Bachelor's degree in Business: I work full time as a Loan Officer at a mortgage company, Happy Homes, where I meet with clients and evaluate, authorize and recommend approval of loan applications. On a daily basis, I use the knowledge I gained in my credit analysis, sales and marketing classes that I took as part of my major program of study.

3. Master's degree in Music: I am working at a hospital playing the harp in patient rooms. I also conduct hands-on harp beginner workshops for long-term patients. On average, I work at the hospital 35 hours a week. My duties directly utilize the skills and knowledge I acquired from my coursework and degree in music therapy.

4. PhD in Computer Science: I am employed as a Computer and Information Research Scientist at ABC Research Institute. I work as part of a team of scientists and engineers that designs experiments to test the operation of various software systems. My work builds on research in complex algorithms and machine learning, which I studied as part of my dissertation.

5. Master's degree in Kinesiology: I am working 25 hours a week in a health food store as a consultant for Self-Made Inc., designing and teaching exercise classes that are incorporated into a customer's overall nutrition and exercise plan. My designs and customer instruction draw upon my studies and classwork in exercise therapy and physical reconditioning.

Reporting the Early Completion of your OPT

If you decide to leave the U.S. OR if you have been approved for a Change of Status that is effective BEFORE the end date of your OPT, you must report this to BIO via your Student SEVIS Update (SSU) Hub. Students on STEM OPT must also upload a Final Evaluation (bottom of page 5 of the I-983 Form). 

If you are looking for information about options after OPT, click here.

Leaving the U.S. before your EAD end date

If you decide to leave the U.S. prior to the expiration of your EAD, you are required to report your date of departure from the U.S. via your SSU Hub. Select "Report Early OPT/Academic Training Completion" and indicate your departure date. Please complete this process immediately after you have departed the U.S.

Change of Visa Status before your EAD end date

If you change your status before the expiration of your EAD, you are required to report the end of your OPT via your SSU Hub. Select "Report Early OPT/Academic Training Completion" and provide your I-797 Approval Notice From USCIS. Your F-1 record will be completed after the effective date of your new visa status.

If you have a pending or approved change of status to H-1B when your OPT ends, you may be eligible for a Cap-Gap Extension I-20.

Going back to school during OPT

Beginning a full-time program of study while on OPT is not allowed. If you are planning to go back to school after your OPT, you will need to request that BIO transfer your record to your new school. If you will be staying at UC Berkeley, you will need to request a new I-20 from BIO. See Options After OPT.

Students tranferring to another U.S. school do not need to report their early completion via SSU, but they must submit a Transfer Out Request. See Options After OPT.