Hiring F-1 OPT Employees

University policy requires OISS to keep records of all Yale academic appointments on F-1 Optional Practical Training (OPT) in the event the employee may need Yale visa sponsorship in the future. Departments must submit a New Sponsorship Request (NSR) record in OISS Connect and upload the documents listed below in Additional Documents Required to Request an NSR for a F-1 OPT Employee.

F-1 international student graduates may be eligible for Optional Practical Training (OPT) work authorization. Basic information about OPT is provided below, however please be sure to speak to your OISS adviser before taking any action. As Yale University is the employer, we use the term “employee” below to describe the F-1 student who graduated and is seeking to work at Yale using OPT authorization. Some government forms describe the employee as a “trainee” as the intent of this rule is that it is primarily a training opportunity

What is OPT?

  • OPT is an extension of F-1 student status after completion of an academic program to engage in a period of training or employment in a position related to the student’s major field of study (as stated on the form I-20).
  • The academic institution from which the student most recently graduated, which may or may not be Yale, recommends OPT and retains visa sponsorship for the duration of the OPT period.
  • F-1 OPT is authorized by USCIS and upon approval sends the student an Employment Authorization Document (EAD)
  • The expiration date of OPT is the end date on the student’s EAD.
  • F-1 OPT is granted for a period of up to 12 months. The student may be eligible for an extension of up to 24 months if they qualify for the F-1 OPT Stem Extension.

Additional Documents Required to Request an NSR for a F-1 OPT Employee

As part of the New Sponsorship Request (NSR) process for an F-1 OPT employee, the following documents must be uploaded:

  • Form I-20 with OPT recommendation
  • Employment Authorization (EAD) card 
  • Passport ID page

See Step 9: If F-1 OPT, Please Upload Documents for details on where to upload these documents.

Staying at Yale After F-1 OPT Expires

Depending on the position, there may be options for some F-1 OPT employees to continue to work at Yale after the OPT expires. Hiring departments (and the employee) should speak with your OISS adviser before the initial offer is made to make certain that this is a possibility. If the F-1 OPT employee is eligible, they may apply for a STEM OPT Extension. The other most typical options are to apply for a change of status to H-1B or J-1 research scholar, if the position qualifies for one of these statuses

Questions for Solarski

Do they also have to upload the F-1 Visa Stamp during the NSR? - no

Anything else specific to hiring F-1 OPTs that should be on this page?  Do we want to revise this page to be more similar to https://oiss.yale.edu/for-departments/hiring-international-students  rather than keeping it solely to F-1 OPT?