For F-1 students and employers participating in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) optional practical training (OPT) program, the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) may visit employer locations.
Overview of Employer Site Visits
The March 2016 STEM OPT rule allows the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to conduct site visits of employers that train STEM OPT students. These are routine visits that SEVP initiated shortly after the rule became effective in 2016.
Reasons for Employer Site Visits
The visits provide a mechanism for DHS to ensure that STEM OPT students are engaged in a structured, work-based learning experience that is consistent with the goals of practical training and with the information supplied on the student’s Form I-983, “Training Plan for STEM OPT Students.” DHS visits a cross-section of employers to obtain information about the mentoring process and assess how the program is working for students and employers. Per the 2016 STEM OPT rule, employers will receive advanced notification prior to a site visit.
How to Prepare
Students and designated school officials (DSOs) can take steps to prepare for site visits to student employers.
What to Expect
As part of a site visit, DHS may:
In an effort to streamline the review process, DHS may request information concerning compliance by email or phone before conducting an inspection. This request may seek to confirm the work locations of STEM OPT students and their supervisors or may request documentation on the STEM OPT program to assist in assessing the commensurate wage requirements or similar regulatory requirements.
For more information about the rules and regulations regarding employer site visits, please visit the Emp