Frequently Asked Questions

Listed below are general answers to OIS’ most frequently asked questions. Please also check our Fact Sheets and My OIS for information. If you cannot find the answer to your question on the OIS website, other ways to contact OIS are as follows:

Yes, if you have filed your STEM OPT application before the end date of your 12-month OPT period, you may continue working for 180 days after your current OPT end date. Your STEM OPT application must be received at USCIS before the end date of your current OPT period in order for this 180-day rule to apply.
For more information about OPT and STEM OPT, please visit the Optional Practical Training webpage.

Students may travel internationally while on OPT. It is easier to travel on OPT if you have your EAD card and a letter confirming/verifying your employment. For this reason, we do not recommend that you travel until you have both of those items, especially if you must apply for a new F-1 visa in order to return to the U.S. If you do leave the U.S. while your I-765 OPT application is pending, you will need to make arrangements to have your EAD card mailed to you abroad before re-entering the U.S.
For more information about OPT and STEM OPT, please visit the Optional Practical Training webpage.

If the USCIS Case Status website indicates that your EAD card was mailed, but you did not receive it, you may first submit an inquiry to USCIS about non-delivery of a card. If UCSIS indicates that the card was delivered, check the tracking information provided by USCIS.

If your EAD is lost or stolen, you must apply to USCIS for a new card by submitting a new I-765 and filing fee.

OIS generally processes student casework within 5-7 business days after the case is fully submitted in OIS. Some casework requires an academic advisor to submit/confirm additional information. OIS must wait until all portions of the case are completed before we can begin processing your case. Please allow at least 7 business days before you email OIS to check on the status of your case.

OIS cannot directly assist with applications for a waiver of your 212e home residency requirement. However, it’s important that you consult with OIS if you are planning to apply for the waiver, since your J-1 program cannot be extended after a waiver is approved. We may want to extend your J-1 program before you submit your waiver application, so check with OIS about the timing of your application. More information about the 212e waiver, including a link to application information, can be found here:

The employment verification I-9 Form will be completed with the University’s Human Resources Department. An appointment is required can be requested at the following link:

Please work with your new employer to initiate a new H-1B petition for that new job. H-1B petitions are employer-specific, so your new institution must initiate a new H-1B petition before you are permitted to begin work there. Please also email to let us know of your intended last day of employment with Pitt.

To request a transfer, there is a two-part request in My OIS that you must initiate called the ‘J-1 Scholar Transfer Out’ request. One form will require confirmation from your current supervisor/department. The second form will require confirmation from the new institution and some information from them to be submitted. SEVIS transfers can be scheduled ahead of time, so we recommend submitting the request as soon as you are aware that you will require a transfer.

Students who wish to attend a different U.S. college/university/institution within 5 months of the last date that they attended Pitt (or participated in OPT/STEM OPT) typically qualify for a "transfer" of their SEVIS record from Pitt to their new school. Please log-in to My OIS and submit the ‘Transfer Out’ request.

You do not need to request J-2 extensions separately. OIS will extend all DS-2019s for the J-1 and any J-2s listed in the SEVIS record, using the J-1 Program Extension request submitted by the department. Please be aware that if you are receiving an extension, we will need to see that your finances for the extension are sufficient for you and all J-2 dependents.

Program extension requests must be initiated by the host department in My OIS, so you should start with your department to ask if an extension will be possible. If the department is willing to support a program extension, your administrator will submit a J-1 Program Extension request in My OIS . Once your department and you have submitted the required e-forms, OIS will review the request and issue a new DS-2019 with the extended program end date within 5-7 business days.

If you are not going to be able to finish your program by the end date on your I-20/DS-2019, you must apply for an extension of stay in order to remain in lawful status. Extensions may only be authorized if the reason for the delay is academic in nature and satisfies the requirements for an extension as set forth in the U.S. immigration regulations. To request an extended I-20/DS-2019, please log in to My OIS and submit a ‘Program Extension’ request. To allow adequate processing time, OIS recommends submitting your request at least 30 days prior to your program end date.

Congratulations! We are excited that you have completed your program and will be continuing as a Pitt student. Please login to My OIS and submit a ‘Change of Level’ e-form, located in the Admission to Orientation menu.

Please log into My OIS and submit a ‘Notification of New Non-Pitt Status’ e-form. This is located in the ‘Biographical Information’ menu.

If you are considering dropping below full-time enrollment, you must receive authorization from OIS in advance. You can submit your RCL Request in My OIS. Failure to receive OIS approval BEFORE dropping below full-time may jeopardize your legal status in the U.S. If you have any questions, please contact your Immigration Specialist .

Students in F-1 or J-1 status must maintain full time enrollment during the fall and spring terms. Full-time for undergraduates is 12 credits/term and full-time for graduate students is 9 credits/term. If you can drop the class and still be enrolled full time, please talk to your academic advisor. If dropping the class will cause you to have fewer than full-time credits, your immigration status will be in jeopardy. Please contact your Immigration Specialist to discuss your options.

International students do not need to be enrolled in the summer term, UNLESS it is their first or last term of enrollment. Contact your Immigration Specialist if you will graduate in the summer term. Students who wish to be enrolled in the summer term may do so.

International students are required by law to maintain full-time enrollment during fall and spring terms.

  • Full-time for undergraduates is 12 credits/term
  • Full-time for graduate students is 9 credits/term

Contact the Human Resources department at your company to find out the EIN number.