Read and understand about Reporting Requirements for students on STEM OPT Extension. Pay close attention to 10 Days Reporting Requirements deadline.
Let’s first look at the exchange between a student and DSO.
Student: I failed to submit my evaluations on time. Is this a problem? Are there any chances for getting an RFE?
DSO: It could be. The ten day reporting requirement has always been there, but in the past it wasn’t so tightly enforced, especially if you’re talking about a discrepancy of a couple of days. Usually it was an issue if something was not reported at all, or way more than ten days. But in this new environment, things are starting to tighten up. I don’t think it’s a reason to panic. But you should be aware so that nothing catches you by surprise and you can plan accordingly.
Student: My college told that I have to submit evaluation every 6 months, if I’m on the same job. I did change jobs every 6 months.So I did not submit. Seems like it’s not the case now!
DSO: There is a difference between reporting and submitting evaluations.
Reporting is basically you checking in and saying, “Hi DSO, It’s me and I’m still working at the same employer and my address has not changed.” This is done at 6 and 18 months into stem.
Evaluation is submitted at 12 months and 24 months. This is more involved and requires a written statement on page 5 of the I-983 which is signed by you and the employer.
There is also a requirement to submit a final evaluation (page 5) any time you leave an employer. For example, if you are two months into stem and you quit your job, you need to submit to your DSO page 5 of the I-983 (final evaluation section, bottom half of the page), even though it is only month 2 of stem.
Student: Am I required to submit my stem opt evaluation as I’m about to transition into H-1B status coming October 1st? I started STEM OPT this year.
DSO: Yes. Even though your change of status to H will happen before you reach the 12 month mark of STEM (which is when your first evaluation would be due), you would still need to submit a final evaluation at the end of your F-1 status. So you just need to fill out the bottom portion of page 5 on the I-983.
Student’s Reporting Requirements for STEM OPT from Study in the States site:
Warning: USCIS is looking for dates when the new employment or changes in employment are reported to the DSO and updated in the SEVIS Record. There could be RFE issued by USCIS when H1B Visa application is processed.
Here’s a word from aDSO:
The other RFE we are seeing is unusual. They are asking for evidence that an F-1 student reported employment details within the 10 days of starting the new job.
Same for STEM students as it pertains to 6/12/18/24 month verification.
An additional layer of complication is for STEM students who are also on cap-gap; since the application of cap gap to a STEM record will mess up the dates in SEVIS, there is a potential that you may not even realize that you missed a STEM reporting check in.
Talk to your DSO to make sure they send reporting reminders rooted around the correct dates. And for initial OPT, don’t take the ten day reporting rule lightly. Any material change needs to be updated within ten days of the event. This could save you from an RFE in the future.