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Policy Guidance

SEVP Publishes Guidance on OPT Employment and Student’s Major Area of Study

October 1, 2019

On Sept. 30, 2019, the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) published new policy guidance titled, “Practical Training: Determining a Direct Relationship Between Employment and a Student’s Major Area of Study.”

F-1 students can apply for authorization to engage in optional practical training (OPT) that is directly related to their major area of study. The newly published guidance explains that students are responsible for providing a description of how their job duties relate to their major area of study, which their DSO must review and retain in the student’s file. 

The new guidance also outlines:

  • How DSOs should document the relationship between a student’s job and major area of study, as well as notes additional resources that might assist DSOs in determining whether there is a direct relationship between a job and a course of study.
  • Common scenarios and responsibilities related to establishing a relationship between practical training opportunities and a student’s major.

Please note that this new guidance supersedes any information previously provided by SEVP and applies to both OPT and science, technology, engineering and mathematics OPT.

You can download the new policy guidance under the Policy tab of the Schools page on ICE.gov/SEVP.

If you have questions or comments about the guidance, please contact the SEVP Response Center.

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