Reinstating Student Status: Overcoming I-20 Termination for Exceeding OPT Unemployment Limit
August 30, 2023

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We are sharing a case in which the student's F-1 status was terminated because the school did not receive the student's employer information report during her OPT on time. With our help, this student successfully reinstated his student status.

The student applied for OPT after graduation, which took effect in February of the same year. After the student successfully found a job, she used the school email to report the employer's information to the school. In August, the student opened her email and was surprised to find that her student status had been terminated. The termination was that the school did not receive her employment information until 90 days after the start date of her OPT.  

After the student applied for reinstatement of her student status, she received a Request for Evidence letter (RFE) from the USCIS and asked to supplement evidence. The RFE letter asked the student to answer the following questions and requested related evidence:

- Provide a detailed explanation of the circumstances that led to the violation of your status and explain why the circumstances were beyond your control. Provide documentary evidence of your claims.  

- Submit an original, signed, dated letter from a DSO at your university explaining why your status was terminated.  

The US government expressly provides that the cumulative number of unemployment days for a 12-month OPT cannot exceed 90 days, and the cumulative number of days for a 36-month OPT cannot exceed 150 days. Therefore, students must find an employer within the maxim unemployment period. Otherwise, they might fall out of legal status. When students find a job, they need to update their employer information through the methods provided by the school.

One way to inform schools is to use the SEVP Portal. SEVP Portal is an online system that allows international students to report address, phone number, and employer information to SEVP without relying on their designated school officials (DSO) to update student information.

Students can consult their school DSO who is responsible for international students and confirm how they can provide and update employment information. However, students must provide information to the school promptly. Otherwise, students may lose their F-1 student status due to the number of unemployed days exceeding the cumulative limit. Fortunately, our team responded to the RFE request for the student, providing strong evidence and arguments. Soon after, USCIS quickly approved the student's reinstatement of status.  

If you are in a similar situation and need to apply for reinstatement, please contact us at (213)375-8096.

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