No more than 90 days of unemployment allowed.
The 4/8/08 regulations add a new requirement that students on OPT may not remain unemployed for more than a total of 90 days out of a 12 month OPT period, or 120 days out of a 29 month OPT period. Immigration expects you to report any stop and restart of your employment, unless the period of unemployment is less than 10 days.
Short-term multiple employers (performing artists). Students, such as musicians and other performing artists may work for multiple short term employers (gigs). The student should maintain a list of all gigs, the dates and duration. If requested by DHS, students must be prepared to provide evidence showing a list of all gigs. For the above form, enter “Multiple Gigs” and your personal living address or that of your company’s location.
Work for hire. This is also commonly referred to as 1099 employment where an individual performs a service based on a contractual relationship rather than an employment relationship. If requested by DHS, students must be prepared to provide evidence showing the duration of the contract periods and the name and address of the contracting company. For the above form, enter the company that is paying you (ex. Temp Agency, Inc., 1 Main St., Rochester, NY 14623)
Self-employed business owner.Students on OPT may start a business and be self-employed. In this situation, the student must work full time. The student must be able to prove that he or she has the proper business licenses and is actively engaged in a business related to the student’s degree program. For the above, enter “Self Employed” and your personal living address or that of your company’s location.
Unpaid employment. Students may work as volunteers or unpaid interns, where this does not violate any labor laws. The work must be at least 20 hours per week for students on post-completion OPT. These students must be able to provide evidence from the employer that the student worked at least 20 hours per week during the period of employment.