Here’s another edit from “Dear Sophie,” the advice column that answers immigration-related questions about working at tech companies.
“Your questions are vital to the spread of knowledge that enables people around the world to cross borders and pursue their dreams,” says Silicon Valley immigration attorney Sophie Alcorn. “Whether you’re in people operations, a founder, or looking for a job in Silicon Valley, I’d love to answer your questions in my next column.”
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I am an F-1 student graduating this month with a bachelor’s degree in computer science. I received work authorization under OPT and had a job aligned with a crypto company, but they rescinded my job offer.
Do I need to inform my DSO that my job offer was terminated? What are my options, especially if I want to create my own web3 startup? How long can I stay in the United States without a job? Thanks in advance for your help!
— Gallant Graduate
I’m sorry to hear you’re being forced into a last-minute change of plans. Although inconvenient, this can be an exciting opportunity to explore and even create something of your own.
Do I need to notify the DSO?
Yes, you absolutely must notify your university’s Designated School Official (DSO) as soon as possible about your situation. Federal regulations require that you notify your DSO within 10 days of any change in your employment or personal information. DSOs are required to update information in the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) within 21 days.
How long can I stay unemployed?
F-1 students on OPT can only remain unemployed for 90 days after graduation. They will then have to leave the United States.
Without Optional Practical Training (OPT), F-1 students can remain in the US for 60 days after graduation. This 60-day grace period also applies after the OPT expires, unless the F-1 student applies for a two-year extension known as STEM OPT or finds another visa category.
What are my options?
The first option is to create your own job opportunity by founding or co-founding a startup. Web3 is all the rage right now, and it will relate to your computer science degree from an F-1 OPT point of view. Founders can be self-employed in F-1 Regular OPT once you receive your EAD card.