Allowable Employment

Types of  Allowable Employment

  • A STEM-eligible employer must be listed in E-Verify and have an E-Verify Company Identification Number or valid E-Verify Client Company Identification Number (checked by USCIS).
  • You  must be a bona fide employee of the employer: have a bona fide “employer-employee relationship.” The employer that signs Form I-983 must be the same entity that employs you, and provides the practical training experience.  As an employee, you may participate in entrepreneurial ventures but cannot act as your own employer or be the signatory as the employer on Form I-983.
  • Volunteer, unpaid positions, self-employment are NOT allowed.

Temporary or Staffing Agencies and Third-Party Worksites 

Staffing and temporary agencies may employ students under the STEM OPT program but only if the agency provides the practical training experience to the student and maintains a bona fide employer-employee relationship with the student. 

The training experience may take place at another site other than the employer’s principal place of business as long as all training obligations are met. The STEM OPT employer may not assign or delegate its training responsibilities to a non-employer third party (e.g., client/customer, employees of the client/customer, or contractors of the client/customer).

Only the E-Verify employer providing the actual training relevant to the student STEM degree field is authorized to complete and sign Form I-983. Find more information at  Study in the States STEM OPT Hub, Employer Resources.