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Student Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) Portal

The SEVP Portal is a reporting tool for students on OPT and STEM-OPT that allows students to directly update, change, and review their contact and employment information.

Use of the portal is required for approved OPT and STEM-OPT students. OPT “requested” or “pending” students will receive an email for the SEVP portal once your OPT is approved.

The portal is accessible from both your mobile device and computer. Once the Approved OPT state date begins, students will receive an email with instructions on how to create a SEVP Portal account.

Students will receive an email from that contains an unique link which is only valid for 14 days. If you do not see the email, check your spam or junk mail folder. If after 72 hours from your approved start date you still have not received the activation email, contact ISSS.

The SEVP Portal will allow you to:

  • View details about your post-completion or STEM OPT
  • Report changes to your address, telephone and employer information
  • View and update data on all your employers in one place
  • STEM OPT students are not be able to add a new employer or change the start date with their employer but can update other information about an employer already in the system. The Form I-983, “Training Plan for STEM OPT Students,” requires DSOs to add new employer information directly into SEVIS for STEM OPT students, because DSOs must verify the form has been completed and submitted.

Any data updates you make in the SEVP Portal will be sent directly to the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) for a DSO to review.

For more information, review the following:

If you have any questions about the SEVP Portal or need assistance, call the SEVP Response Center at 703-603-3400.

SEVP Portal Website: Click here

Remember: You can only login to the SEVP Portal after you have activated your account. Once your OPT is approved you will receive an email with an activation link. This link is only valid for 14 days.

Governmental Updates and Regulatory Reminders

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  • Release Date: 02/26/2021


    USCIS today announced flexibilities for certain foreign students affected by delayed receipt notices for Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization. These flexibilities apply only to applications received on or after Oct. 1, 2020, through May 1, 2021, inclusive.

    USCIS has experienced delays at certain lockboxes in issuing receipt notices for Form I-765 for optional practical training (OPT) for F-1 students. These delays are a result of COVID-19 restrictions, a dramatic increase in filings of certain benefit requests, postal service volume and delays, and other external factors. While we have made progress in addressing the problem, we are extending the following flexibilities to assist certain applicants for OPT impacted by the delays.

    14-month OPT Period Flexibilities

    F-1 students may participate in up to 12 months of post-completion OPT, which must be completed within 14 months from the end of their program. Due to the delays at the lockbox, some applicants may only be eligible for a shortened period of OPT within that 14-month period. To allow F-1 students to complete the full period of requested OPT (up to 12 months), USCIS will allow the 14-month period to commence from the date of approval of the Form I-765 for applications for post-completion OPT.

    Beginning today, USCIS will approve applications for post-completion OPT with validity dates reflecting the same amount of time originally recommended by the designated school official (DSO) from their school on the Form I-20, Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status.

    F-1 students requesting post-completion OPT who receive an approval of Form I-765 for less than the full amount of OPT time requested (not to exceed 12 months) due to the requirement that the OPT be completed within 14 months of the program end date may request a correction of the EAD due to USCIS error. USCIS will issue a corrected EAD with a new end date, as requested, to cover the full amount of OPT time recommended in the original application.

    Refiling Following Rejection

    Applicants for OPT must file the Form I-765 during certain timeframes. However, we recognize that due to the lockbox delays, some applicants who timely filed Form I-765 for OPT and whose applications were later rejected are unable to timely refile within the required application timeframes.

    USCIS will accept a refiled Form I-765 for OPT and STEM OPT as filed on the original filing date if:

    • The original, timely filed application was received on or after Oct. 1, 2020, through May 1, 2021, inclusive; and
    • USCIS subsequently rejected it.

    Refiled applications must be received by May 31, 2021, for USCIS to treat the application as though filed on the original received date.

    Applicants refiling a Form I-765 for OPT or STEM OPT do not need to obtain a new Form I-20 with an updated OPT recommendation from the DSO, as long as they originally submitted an application for post-completion OPT within 30 days of the DSO’s recommendation or an application for STEM OPT within 60 days of the DSO’s recommendation as required by the regulations.

    Applicants refiling an application should include a copy of the rejection notice to facilitate review of the case.

    Missing or Deficient Signatures

    Applications with missing or deficient signatures are generally rejected at the lockbox. This policy remains unchanged. However, if the lockbox accepts a Form I-765 application for OPT or STEM OPT with a missing or deficient signature, USCIS will issue a Request for Evidence rather than deny the application, to give the applicant the opportunity to respond and provide the necessary signature or correct the deficiency. We encourage applicants filing Form I-765 to review the form instructions on our website to ensure their application is complete before filing it.

  • Email from CIS Ombudsman

    Dear Stakeholder,

    The CIS Ombudsman would like to provide the following updates regarding requests for case assistance and USCIS’ responses to these inquiries.

    Receipt Delays

    If more than 90 days have passed since you filed a petition/application with USCIS, you may submit a request for case assistance with the CIS Ombudsman, and our office will reach out to USCIS to resolve your issue. If less than 90 days have passed since you filed a petition/application with USCIS, the CIS Ombudsman will close your request. Please remember that before contacting the CIS Ombudsman, you must first try to resolve the problem with USCIS. Provide evidence of the contact with USCIS and the agency’s response, if available, when submitting your request for case assistance.

    Application Support Center (ASC) Appointments Current processing times for ASC appointments are affected by several factors, including varying capacity at ASCs. If your ASC appointment was cancelled due to COVID-19, and was not rescheduled within 45 days, you may file a request for case assistance. If your ASC appointment was made for a location other than the one closest to your home, you are unable to travel to the designated location, and you asked USCIS to reschedule your appointment but no action has been taken within 45 days from the request, you may file a request for case assistance. Because USCIS has indicated it will not expedite ASC appointments, there are limited situations in which the CIS Ombudsman will reach out to USCIS. The CIS Ombudsman is closing the majority of these requests.

    Processing Delays Related to Employment Authorization Documents (EADs)

    If your Form I-539 application (not Form I-765 application) is pending beyond the posted normal processing times, you may submit a request for case assistance to the CIS Ombudsman. If your EAD is based on a Form I-539 (even if it was not filed at the same time), you must first look at the Form I-539 case inquiry date to determine if that application is outside of the normal processing times. Your EAD will not be adjudicated before your Form I-539 (regardless of the processing times for the Form I-765). The Form I-539 biometrics requirement that went into effect in March 2019 led to changes in the process. Previously, many nonimmigrant dependents had their applications approved at the same time as the principal nonimmigrant. This is no longer the case due to the biometrics requirement. The CIS Ombudsman has asked USCIS to look into the significant processing times discrepancy for Form I-539s pending at the California Service Center. The CIS Ombudsman understands that these delays cause many difficulties for applicants, not only regarding their work authorization, but also with driver’s licenses, health insurance, and the ability to travel.

    If your EAD is based on a Form I-821D, you must look at the Form I-821D processing times to determine if your request is outside of the normal processing times. Your EAD will not be adjudicated prior to your Form I-821D. USCIS policy currently excludes applicants for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals from requesting expedited processing. However, if your Form I-821D is outside of the normal processing times, the CIS Ombudsman will inquire with USCIS about the status of your pending application.

    For more information on our office, visit our website.

  • The Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) is rescinding Broadcast Message 2101-02: New SEVP Unit to Oversee Employment Compliance in the OPT Programs and Report on Impact on U.S. Workers, issued Jan. 13, 2021. After conducting additional reviews of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s optional practical training (OPT) compliance efforts, the program determined that it is already performing much of the work outlined in the Broadcast Message. As such, the creation of a new unit is not necessary at this time. SEVP will continue to ensure transparency into OPT data and compliance via our existing communication channels at and Study in the States.


    This Broadcast Message is not a substitute for applicable legal requirements, nor is it itself a rule or a final action by SEVP. It is not intended to, does not, and may not be relied upon to create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law by any party in any administrative, civil or criminal matter.

  • Broadcast Message: New SEVP Unit to Oversee Employment Compliance in the OPT Programs and Report on Impact on U.S. Workers

    Date: Jan. 13, 2021

    Number: 2101 – 02

    The Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) has determined that it must take bold action to ensure that the Optional Practical Training (OPT) programs operate in a manner that does not harm U.S. workers or foreign student employees, consistent with regulatory and statutory law.

    Recently, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) discussed strategies with subject matter experts at the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services aimed at fulfilling SEVP’s regulatory requirements. Under the two-year OPT extension, the duties, hours, and compensation of a foreign student who participates in the program must be commensurate with terms and conditions applicable to the employer’s similarly situated U.S. workers. More broadly, ICE’s mission has always included a focus on ensuring lawful practices at U.S. worksites.

    SEVP is currently unable to evaluate the impact OPT has had on U.S. workers and foreign students who have obtained work authorization through the programs. To remedy this, SEVP is announcing the development of a new unit — the OPT Employment Compliance Unit — that will be dedicated full-time to compliance matters involving wage, hours, and compensation within OPT, the OPT extension, and Curricular Practical Training (CPT).

    This unit will publish a public-facing report at least annually on its findings, which will include detailed information on duties, hours, and compensation of OPT workers in a standard formatting that will allow for comparisons against DOL data. The first report will be published on by July 31, 2021. This unit will also be responsible for recommending investigations of employers and students, as needed, to Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) to ensure that the OPT programs operate in a lawful manner at U.S. worksites. The unit will identify any evidence of unlawful practices within the OPT programs and notify the appropriate authorities. For example, if the unit were to detect evidence that an employer is using OPT in a discriminatory manner (e.g., as a means to hire only foreign nationals, or only individuals of certain nationalities to the exclusion of others), or in a manner that negatively impacts wages, this unit may notify DOL and the U.S. Department of Justice of such evidence, where HSI is unable to address such matters, so that the evidence can be investigated further.

    The OPT Employment Compliance Unit will also evaluate whether employers are adhering to the attestations and training plans required under the OPT extension, which will include on-site visitation, as per the regulation. This evaluation will ensure that employment through the OPT extension is commensurate with the terms and conditions of employment for other similarly situated U.S. workers, as the employer has attested to, as required by law.

    The regulatory process that created the 2016 OPT extension included significant public input during the notice and comment period on the impact the policy would have on U.S. workers.[1] DHS explained that the requirements in the OPT extension are important for “guarding against adverse impacts on U.S. workers.”[2] When the 2008 version of the rule to create the OPT extension was published, we concluded that the extension would apply to only “12,000 students per year.”[3] We explained that this number “represents a significant expansion of the available pool of skilled workers.”[4]

    As of 2019, a total of 135,960 SEVIS records have authorizations to participate in the OPT extension.[5] Because this program has grown rapidly and is likely to be significantly more impactful to the labor market than we had originally estimated, it is critical that we collect and report wage and related data with the greatest amount of transparency. The total number of SEVIS records that have authorizations to participate in either OPT, the OPT extension, or CPT as of 2019 is over 536,000 when combined.[6] While some of the individuals who have been authorized to obtain employment through these programs have not reported an employer into SEVIS, the program’s size warrants greater oversight.

    The public comments included a request that SEVP release raw data gathered from the Training Plan and other relevant forms as to the gender, age, country of origin, level of training, field of training, institution(s) of higher education, job title, wages, employer, and work location so that an impact analysis could be run. In the response, we noted that some of this information may be available through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) process. Because this information is not currently compiled in a meaningful format that would lend itself to a FOIA request, our new unit will take the initiative to collect and report this information online, across all OPT programs, to the greatest extent possible.

    As to the OPT extension, the regulation explains that “the employer must be enrolled in and remain in good standing with E-Verify; assist with the […] reporting and training plan requirements; and attest that (1) it has sufficient resources and trained personnel available to provide appropriate training in connection with the specified opportunity; (2) the student on a STEM OPT extension will not replace a full- or part-time, temporary or permanent U.S. worker; and (3) the opportunity helps the student attain his or her training objectives.”[7]

    SEVP is ready to advance our regulatory pledge to protect U.S. workers and ensure that the OPT programs do not harm foreign students or the labor market. The loss of employment many U.S. workers have faced since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic as employers lay off significant portions of their workforce (while still, in some cases, seeking to hire more foreign workers), makes this work particularly timely. Anyone who observes unlawful employment practices, including OPT participants, should call the ICE Tip Line at 1-866-DHS-2-ICE or send a tip using the webform at:


    This Broadcast Message is not a substitute for applicable legal requirements, nor is it itself a rule or a final action by SEVP. It is not intended to, does not, and may not be relied upon to create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law by any party in any administrative, civil or criminal matter.


    [1] The term “U.S. worker” appears 175 times in the rule.

    [2] Id.


    [4] Id.


    [6] Id.

    [7] As noted in the regulation, “If the employer does not employ and has not recently employed more than two similarly situated U.S. workers in the area of employment, the employer nevertheless remains obligated to attest that the terms and conditions of a STEM practical training opportunity are commensurate with the terms and conditions of employment for other similarly situated U.S. workers in the area of employment. ‘Similarly situated U.S. workers’ includes U.S. workers performing similar duties subject to similar supervision and with similar educational backgrounds, industry expertise, employment experience, levels of responsibility, and skill sets as the student. The duties, hours, and compensation of such students are ‘commensurate’ with those offered to U.S. workers employed by the employer in the same area of employment when the employer can show that the duties, hours, and compensation are consistent with the range of such terms and conditions the employer has offered or would offer to similarly situated U.S. employees.”

  • Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and other factors, USCIS is experiencing delays in issuing receipt notices for some applications and petitions filed at a USCIS lockbox facility. The information below explains the current state of our lockbox operations and the issues affecting receipt notices.

    Current Situation

    As a result of COVID-19 restrictions, an increase in filings, current postal service volume and other external factors, you may experience a delay of four to six weeks in receiving your receipt notice after properly filing an application or petition with a USCIS lockbox. These delays will not affect the receipt date which is determined pursuant to 8 C.F.R. 103.2(a)(7). Delays may vary among form types and lockbox locations. In some cases, you may experience significant delays if you filed a non-family based Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, or Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, based on eligibility categories described in 8 C.F.R. 274a.12(c)(3), relating to F-1 students.

    The health and safety of our workforce remains a top priority. Across all USCIS offices, including lockbox facilities, the agency has taken necessary measures such as increased social distancing and frequent cleaning in accordance with the Centers for Disease Control guidance to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Some lockbox operations in locations that have been severely impacted by COVID-19 must adhere to stricter local guidelines.

    What USCIS Is Doing

    The USCIS lockbox workforce¹ is working extra hours and redistributing its workload in order to minimize delays. Once we open and process your application, we print and mail the receipt notice. We do not anticipate any receipting delays that would result in a payment that is past its validity date. What You Can Do If you have already filed your application and are waiting for your receipt notice, we appreciate your patience. We are working as quickly as possible to complete the intake of all filings.

    You can take steps to decrease the time it takes us to process and send your receipt notice or find out the status of your case:

    • Create a free USCIS online account and check the status of your case from your mobile device, anywhere, anytime using our case status online tool; or

    • Complete Form G-1145, E-Notification of Application/Petition Acceptance, and clip it to the front of your form when filing at a USCIS lockbox to request a text message and/or email when we accept your form.

    Finally, visit our Form Filing Tips webpage for more information on filing with USCIS and our online tools for help in managing your application.

  • Date: Jan. 4, 2021

    Number: 2101 – 01

    General Information

    We write to inform you about a recent enforcement operation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) and to remind educational institutions that they must routinely update all employer information in the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS).

    By regulation, Designated School Officials (DSOs) assume the responsibility for maintaining the SEVIS records of all students for the entire period of authorized Optional Practical Training (OPT). Foreign students participating in the post-completion OPT are allotted 90 days of unemployment, or 150 days in the aggregate if engaged in a 24-month STEM OPT extension, before they are considered to have violated the terms of their nonimmigrant status. If they exceed that period, they can be terminated from SEVIS and are subject to removal proceedings.

    A significant number of SEVIS records have not been properly maintained.

    This has significant national security and public safety implications that will not be tolerated by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

    This past summer, SEVP sent notices to nonimmigrant students who failed to report employment while on OPT, reminding them of unemployment limits and the obligation to report employment. The notices advised that failure to report employment could result in additional action, including the potential initiation of removal proceedings, if a student was determined to have violated their nonimmigrant student status, either for failing to report employment or for exceeding the permissible period of unemployment. Compliance concerns were discussed at a recent DHS and ICE press conference, available for viewing online.

    This serves as an important reminder for educational institutions and foreign students that failure to update SEVIS records can have a significant impact on school certification and the immigration status of foreign students. By regulation, a foreign student must notify their DSO of certain personal or employment information changes. DSOs must update foreign student information in SEVIS within 21 days.

    By statute, material failure of an educational institution “to comply with the recordkeeping and reporting requirements to receive nonimmigrant students…shall result in the suspension for at least one year or termination…of the institution’s approval to receive such students[.]”[1]

    By regulation, “When a DSO recommends a student for OPT, the school assumes the added responsibility for maintaining the SEVIS record of that student for the entire period of authorized OPT.”[2]

    By regulation, SEVP can determine that an educational institution should “no longer be entitled to certification for any valid and substantive reason.”[3] Routine failure to maintain SEVIS records is a valid and substantive reason for SEVP to decertify an institution. Institutions are certified with the understanding that they will maintain a relationship with their students throughout the educational experience, to include any OPT, to ensure that SEVIS records are properly maintained and updated. The nation’s security rests on SEVP’s assurances that SEVIS records are reliable and appropriately updated, and for that we rely on institutions fulfilling their responsibilities.

    To maintain the integrity of our foreign student program, and to protect national security, HSI and SEVP are continuing to identify improperly maintained SEVIS records and will make notifications to institutions and individuals as needed. Educational institutions must ensure proper maintenance of SEVIS records.


    This Broadcast Message is not a substitute for applicable legal requirements, nor is it itself a rule or a final action by SEVP. It is not intended to, does not, and may not be relied upon to create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law by any party in any administrative, civil or criminal matter.


    [1] 8 U.S.C. § 1762

    [2] 8 C.F.R. 214.4

    [3] Id.

  • August 28, 2020

    Notice: Failure to Report Employment While on Optional Practical Training

    The USCIS notice informs F-1 students of the following:

    • The Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) is conducting a review of SEVIS records for OPT participants and is mailing notices directly to students who have not reported employer information and have exceeded 90 days of unemployment.
    • The notice informs students of their lack of employer/employment information and provides an opportunity for them to update their records either through their DSO or directly through the SEVP Portal.
    • If the student’s SEVIS record is not updated, SEVP will set the record to “terminated” to reflect the lack of employer information and the potential that the student may have violated their status either by failing to timely report OPT employment or by exceeding the permissible period of unemployment while on OPT.
  • August 18, 2020

    Notice: USCIS Reminds F-1 Aliens in Post-Completion OPT and Their DSOs to Enter Employer Information in SEVIS

    The USCIS notice informs F-1 students of the following:

    1. Ensure information is timely (within 10 days) entered in the SEVP Portal
    2. Exceeding the unemployment limits is status violation which can subject you to removal proceedings from the US.
    3. SEVP will now terminate F-1 students who have exceeded the unemployment limit (this was always been the warning but has not be instituted until now)
    4. USCIS will now revoke EAD cards that have exceeded the unemployment limit
    5. Exceeding the unemployment limit will negatively impact a future immigration petition (i.e. H-1B or permanent residency)
  • November 25, 2019

    The Form I-983 - "Training Plan for STEM OPT Students" must now be submitted to SEVIS by the DSO. The Form I-983 is submitted when an F-1 students:

    1. Applies for STEM OPT
    2. Experiences any material changes to employment (i.e. change of employer, change of work-site location, ending work with an employer)
    3. Reporting the 12-month Self-Evaluation and 24-month Final Evaluation

    See more about STEM OPT reporting requirements for more information.

  • September 27, 2019

    US Department of Homeland Security officials are actively conducting Compliance Reviews of students' SEVIS profiles including reviewing OPT/STEM job descriptions.

    Review the SEVP Policy Guidance: Determining a Direct Relationship Between Employment and a Student's Major Area of Study.

    See Frequently Asked Questions in the lower Section of this page for additional information.


Frequently Asked Questions: