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Immigration FAQ

 

  I am on OPT. What are the details about the 90 day unemployment rule while I am on OPT? 

While a student is on OPT (Optional Practical Training) they are required to work full time just as they are required to attend classes full time while attending OCC.  The Immigration Service defines full time as 20 hours or more per week.  A student on OPT is not allowed to accumulate more than 90 days of unemployment over the course of their OPT period.  Your OPT period starts on the start date on your Employment Authorization Card and ends on the end date on your Employment Authorization Card. 


 
Can I work two jobs on OPT?
Sure, you can work as many jobs as you would like as long as they are all related to your major/studies and they total at least 21 hrs per week. You can work more than 40 hrs a week if you like.
 
Can I work for an employment agency while on OPT?
Yes, as long as the work is related to your major/studies and it averages at least 20 hrs per week or more.
 
I majored in Photography, Can I open my own business while I'm on OPT?
Certainly.  If  you are self-employed it will be up to you to maintain good records of the time spent establishing your business, clients you have and how long you spent.  You will need to work at least 20 hrs/week. You will also be required to have the proper business licenses.
 
I'm an artist/musician/actor on OPT.  I work gigs every weekend night or whenever I can get one.  How do I report this?
As above, you will be responsible for maintaining good records.  It may be necessary for you to also work or volunteer for an existing business in addition to your gigs to meet the minimum 20hrs/week.
 
How do I transfer next semester?
We will need you to submit a copy of your acceptance letter and a signed Transfer Statement of Understanding as soon as possible.  Your transfer must be completed within 60 days of the last day you attended OCC. Please do not wait until the last minute.  If you plan to travel outside the U.S. before classes start at the new school, you will need to get the I-20 from the new school before you enter the U.S.
 
Something really bad happened to me or my family and I am having trouble in my classes.
Please come see one of us.  We are familiar with how many situations can impact student's lives.  We are here to assist you.  We know of many resources that are available to students and you might qualify for authorization for part-time student status or an authorized early withdrawal.  Personal situations will be handled confidentially.
 
I graduated last semester and I've applied to a university but they haven't decided if they will accept me yet. What do I do?
If you have graduated from OCC and your I-20 is expired, you will need to be accepted and complete the transfer of your SEVIS record (I-20) within 60 days of the last day you attended OCC.  Once your 60 day grace period expires we will not be able to transfer your SEVIS record.  I recommend you contact the University and ask when they will be notifying new students of acceptance.  It may be necessary for you to return to your home country while you wait to be accepted.  You should never stay in the U.S. any longer than you are allowed because penalties can be severe.
 
I want to travel out of the U.S. next weekend.  What immigration documents do I need?
You will need a valid passport to leave the U.S.
To return to the U.S. you will need a valid passport that does not expire within the next 6 months, a valid I-20 with a recent (within 1year) travel signature on page 3 and a valid F-1 visa.  Please allow extra time to clear the Customs and Border Protection checkpoint. Recent changes mean each F-1 student's SEVIS record will be checked and you should allow a few hours between connecting flights with a border crossing.
 
My friend said I could ____________ Is that true?
Please do not take risks with your status by asking a friend! Immigration matters are very complicated and what is ok for one person may not be ok for another.   You should contact the Immigration Technician for clarification/authorization/information.
 
Can I work part-time?
If you have been a student at OCC for at least one semester and have earned a GPA of at least 3.00 we may be able to authorize you for part-time on campus work of up to 19 hrs/week.  Please contact the office to make an appointment for on campus work authorization. 
If you are having financial difficulties due to a change in your sponsors situation please make an appointment to see the Director or Immigration Technician as soon as possible.
 
What if I may have to return to my home country before I graduate?
Make an appointment to see the Immigration Technician for an early authorized withdrawal. We will need to cancel your I-20 in the proper way so that it will not cause you a negative mark in your immigration record.  In the future if you want to return to OCC to complete the remaining classes required for your degree we will issue you a new I-20.
 
I am finishing my degree this semester. How do I get it?
Congratulations!  You will need to apply for graduation in the graduation office on the first floor of Watson Hall.  There is an early deadline for this so please be prompt!
The graduation ceremony is held every Spring.  The graduation office will also sign you up for the graduation ceremony if you want to participate.  Please be aware of your grace period.  If you are a December graduate who chooses to return to your home country, and you wish to participate in the ceremony in the Spring following the completion of your degree, you should contact the U.S. Embassy nearest you for the proper visa needed to return to the U.S. 
Degrees are verified and sent by mail a few months after completion of coursework.
You can contact the graduation office  at (714) 432-5581 to check the status of your degree.
 
How do I get a transcript?