Reminder for F-1 Students: Automatic Termination of Optional Practical Training upon Transferring to a Different School or Beginning Study at Another Educational Level


In this post, we bring an important reminder to the attention of F-1 Students with Optional Practical Training. F-1 students who transfer to another school or begin their studies at another educational level, such as a master’s degree program after completion of the bachelor’s degree, will have their OPT automatically terminated, as well as the corresponding employment authorization document, also known as a work permit.

F-1 students who transfer schools or begin studying at another educational level, will not be otherwise affected, so long as they comply with all of the requirements necessary to maintain their student status. F-1 students must not work with a terminated/expired EAD. Doing so violates U.S. law, and will result in serious immigration consequences, such as the removal of the foreign national from the United States or barring the foreign national from re-entering the United States, in addition to other serious consequences such as the accrual of unlawful presence.

Under current regulations, OPT termination is automatic, and SEVIS notifies USCIS of the EAD termination date. USCIS then notifies affected students and gives them the opportunity to correct any errors via their designated school official.

In sum, working with a terminated EAD comes with serious consequences that can not only lead to the student’s removal from the United States, but may also prevent the individual from re-entering the United States in the future.

If you are an F-1 student on OPT who is thinking of, or in the process of transferring to another school, or beginning another program of study, please consult with an immigration attorney before making any final decisions.