OPT Students: What to Do If Your Employer Closes During the HolidaysPublished: 12/23/2016
If you are an F-1 student participating in optional practical training (OPT) and your employer closes for an extended period during the winter holidays, the Student and Exchange Visitor Program does not consider this time as unemployment.
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However, there are different rules students must follow depending on whether you are participating in pre-completion OPT or post-completion OPT. These different rules impact unemployment limits. Below, we outline these differences.
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Pre-Completion OPT Students
If you are participating in pre-completion OPT, you do not have any unemployment limits. This means that if your employer closes over the winter break, your status will not be impacted.
However, while school is in session, you are limited to only 20 hours per week of training. . During breaks and annual vacation, you are permitted to train full time if your employer remains open.
Post-Completion OPT and STEM OPT Students
If you are participating in post-completion OPT, including the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) OPT extension, you do have unemployment limits. However, if your employer closes on a weekend, holiday or provides for other equivalent days off, these days do not count toward your unemployment limit.
Unless your employer authorizes leave before or after the dates your employer is closed, any additional days you take off will count toward unemployment.
Unemployed Post-Completion OPT and STEM OPT Students
If you are participating in post-completion OPT or STEM OPT but are not currently training with an employer, SEVP considers this unemployment. When a student is considered unemployed, every day, including weekends and holidays, counts toward your unemployment limit.
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