Students on F-1 visas are eligible for a work benefit in the U.S. called Optional Practical Training (OPT) that allows students to work in their field of study for 12 months. Those who have earned eligible U.S. degrees in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) may apply for an additional 24-Month STEM Extension.
Responsibilities and Obligations
There are numerous employer requirements to which SMU must adhere. Some of those requirements are enumerated here, but you should pay particular attention to the attestation on page 2 of the I-983 and the employer information located here. General employer requirements include being registered with the E-Verify program and ensuring that hiring an international student with STEM employment will not displace a U.S. worker.
2. Must be E-Verify employer; SMU is an E-Verify employer.
3. Must develop a training plan for the student
4. Complete Form I-983
5. Provide two evaluations for the student
6. Responsible for proving compliance during government site visits
1. Have a job offer related to their U.S. STEM degree
2. Work for an E-Verify employer
3. Have a paid position in STEM field for at least 20 hours per week
5. Complete student part of Form I-983
6. Submit the completed Form I-983 to the school that issued the Form I-20
7. Responsible for completing validation reports every six months via their school
8. Submitting evaluations to the school that issued their I-20
SMU F-1 Students:
In addition to the I-9 requirement with Human Resources, F-1 students for which SMU has issued their I-20, must get approval from the ISSS office by having the On-Campus Work Eligibility Form completed. Once the On-Campus Work Eligibility has been approved, the F-1 student is responsible for also completing the OPT Employment Verification Form and submitting to ISSS office.
Note: It is the student’s responsibility to verify that employment is related to program of study. Furthermore, it is also the responsibility of the student to report employment to the ISSS office by completing and submitting the OPT Employment Verification form.
About Form I-983
The new STEM OPT rule that provides the 24-month STEM OPT regulations increases the educational benefits that F-1 students receive from their practical training experiences by requiring the submission of a formal training plan, using Form I-983.
The formal training plan, Form I-983, must clearly articulate the STEM OPT student’s learning objectives and affirm the employer’s commitment to helping the student achieve those objectives. To fulfill this requirement, a student and their employer must complete and sign Form I-983 and submit it to the student’s international student advisor. By signing Form I-983, students and their employers agree that they understand their obligations during the STEM employment.
STEM OPT students and their employers are subject to the terms and conditions of the 24-month STEM OPT extension regulations, effective as of the employment start date requested for the associated STEM OPT period, as indicated on Form I-983.
Questions in regarding the completion of this form can be directed to Human Resources.
On-Campus Work Eligibility Form
OPT Employment Verification Form