Am I required to participate in E-Verify in order to hire F-1 students who seek a STEM OPT extension?
Yes, you must enroll in E-Verify, sign an E-Verify memorandum of understanding (MOU), and participate in E-Verify in order to employ F-1 students seeking an extension of their optional practical training (OPT) under the STEM-designated degree program. F-1 students who participate in an approved period of post-completion OPT after earning a bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degree from the list of designated STEM degrees may apply for this extension of their OPT.
Universities seeking to hire F-1 students who are applying for the STEM OPT extension should enroll in E-Verify either as the university as a whole or as separate departments. If the university as a whole enrolls in E-Verify, the F-1 STEM OPT students may work in any qualifying STEM departments in the university. If the university departments are separately enrolled in E-Verify then only those university departments that have a signed E-Verify MOU qualify as E-Verify employers and F-1 STEM OPT students may only work for those departments.
Employment agencies and consulting firms that wish to employ F-1 OPT students who seek the extension must be enrolled in E-Verify. Third parties contracting with the agency or firm for which the student is providing services need not be enrolled.