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Did you know that if you are unemployed, exceeding the unemployment limits could result in loss of status?

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) recently announced that foreigners with F-1 visas who exceed their unemployment limits in the U.S. could be subject to loss of status, therefore, I remind foreigners with F-1 visas who participate in post-completion optional practical training (OPT) and their designated school officials (DSO) to update their information, including unemployment data, in the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS). Federal regulations require F-1 foreigners to notify their DSO within 10 days of any changes in their personal or employment information.  In turn, DSOs must update SEVIS with the foreigners’ information within 21 days. This reminder helps ensure that F-1 foreigners and DSOs properly comply with existing requirements.

Foreigners with F-1 nonimmigrant status may update their employer’s information through the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) Portal, a tool that allows aliens in F and M status who participate in optional post-completion practical training to report accurate and timely information directly to SEVP. DSOs can update the information in SEVIS by following the instructions for adding, editing, or deleting the employer OPT. If foreigners are unsure whether they should report the information through the portal or provide it to the DSO, they should contact their DSO for instructions. 

Foreigners with F-1 nonimmigrant status and DSOs must ensure that the information is entered into SEVIS in a timely manner so that the foreigners’ record is current and reflects current employment data. SEVIS will count each day it does not have employer information toward the total number of days of unemployment allowed. Failure to update the employer’s information in SEVIS to reflect that the alien is employed could result in any or all of the following actions:

-The foreigners exceed the unemployment limits and, therefore, fail to maintain F-1 nonimmigrant status, which puts them at risk of being subject to removal, unless the alien is otherwise in a period of authorized stay.

-SEVP proceeds to place the foreigner’s registration with SEVIS as “cancelled” if the foreigner has exceeded the unemployment limits.

-U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) initiates procedures to revoke the foreigner’s Employment Authorization Document if the alien has exceeded the unemployment limits, and 

-Exceeding the unemployment limits will negatively affect future foreign benefit claims filed with the USCIS.

For more information about the SEVP Portal, including detailed instructions and videos, visit the SEVP Portal Help section on the Department of Homeland Security’s “Study in America” website. See the Unemployment Reporting page on the SEVIS Help Portal for information about unemployment calculations in SEVIS.