USCIS Reminder: OPT Terminates upon Transfer to New School or Change in Education Level

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) recently issued a notice, reminding stakeholders that optional practical training (OPT) work authorization automatically terminates if the F-1 student transfers to another school or begins study at a different educational level. Although the notice may appear alarming to many, it simply restates long established policies.

How ICE/SEVP/SEVIS Communicate with USCIS

As explained in the notice, if an F-1 student on OPT transfers to a different school or a different education level (e.g. enrolling in a master’s program after completing a bachelor’s degree), the OPT is automatically terminated. The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) then notifies the USCIS of the termination date.

One procedural change mentioned in the notice is that the USCIS will start to update its systems with the EAD termination date soon after SEVIS (Student and Exchange Visitor Information System) shares the information with the USCIS. The USCIS then will notify the F-1 student of the termination, which should provide the student with the opportunity to work with the university’s designated school official (DSO) to correct any errors, if appropriate.

Conclusion

Although the Trump Administration has been taking steps to make the U.S. less inviting to foreign national students, this particular notice does not appear to directly make any policy changes. F-1 students with questions about their status or work authorization should contact the school’s DSO or a knowledgeable immigration attorney to understand their rights and responsibilities.

 

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Disclaimer: The information provided here is of a general nature and may not apply to any specific or particular circumstance. It is not to be construed as legal advice nor presumed indefinitely up to date.
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