Q. When I am on OPT, what is my status?
OPT is part of F-1 status. Even though you are no longer a student, you are still in F-1 status.
Q. What happens to my IU Southeast e-mail account and network ID/password once I graduate?
Your account and network ID password are valid for the entire period you are authorized for OPT. If you receive an e-mail indicating that your account will be terminated, forward that e-mail your International Student Advisor.
Q. Do I need to have health insurance while on OPT?
No. We do recommend, however. That you extend your student insurance coverage for up to six months after your current policy expires. If you graduate between January 1 and August 14, your policy expires on August 14, if you graduate between August 15 and December 31, your policy expires December 31. To extend your policy, notify your foreign student advisor at least two weeks before your policy expires.Q. Can I travel while on OPT or before my OPT starts?
Yes, but you must have the documents necessary to reenter the United States. See our section on travel for more specific information.Q. Do I have to pay taxes while working on OPT?
Yes. You must pay state and federal income taxes. Taxes are due on April 15 each year. Most large cities will have tax assistance services to help you with this process. VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance) is an example of such assistance. When dealing with a tax service center, make sure that the tax consultant confirms if you are classified as a resident or non-resident for tax filing purposes, which is different from immigration status.
NOTE: If you have been in the U.S. for less than five years, you may be exempt from Social Security taxes. Look at IRS publication 519 (found on the IRS website), pages 5 and 42 for more information.
Q. Do I need a new social security card?
You only need a new social security card if your current one says: NOT VALID FOR EMPLOYMENT. In order to obtain a card that says: VALID FOR EMPLOYMENT WITH CIS WORK AUTHORIZATION, go to any Social Security office with your passport, I-94 card, OPT I-20, job offer letter, and EAD (OPT card).
Q. Can I take classes while on OPT?
You may take a class or two for credit. If you begin study at another educational level, your OPT authorization is automatically terminated.
Q. What if CIS takes a really long time to process my application?
If more than 90 days passes from the Receipt Notice date that you receive 2-3 weeks after submitting your initial application, you may apply for a temporary EAD card, an "interim EAD card," from a CIS office, (e.g. Indianapolis). Your International Student Advisor can help you with the application. The interim EAD is valid for work and is generally issued the day on which you apply for it. The interim EAD should be issued with the same work start date as you requested on your original OPT application, of the current date, whichever is later. If not ask then to correct it.
Q. If my employer wants to sponsor me for an H-1B, when should they start the process?
Start as soon as possible. The number of available visas has been reduced considerable. A good resource for information on the H-1B is the H-1B Frequently Asked Questions on the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services website.