Dear Sophie: What are my F-1 OPT options if my crypto job is no longer available?

Here’s another edition of “Dear Sophie,” the advice column that answers immigration-related questions about working at technology companies.

“Your questions are vital to the spread of knowledge that allows people all over the world to rise above borders and pursue their dreams,” says Sophie Alcorn, a Silicon Valley immigration attorney. “Whether you’re in people ops, a founder or seeking a job in Silicon Valley, I would love to answer your questions in my next column.”

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Dear Sophie,

I’m an F-1 student who graduated this month with my bachelor’s in computer science. I received work authorization under OPT and had a job lined up with a crypto company, but they rescinded my job offer.

Do I need to let my DSO know that my job offer was rescinded? What are my options, especially if I want to create my own web3 startup? How long can I stay in the U.S. without a job? Thanks in advance for your help!

— Gallant Grad

Dear Gallant,

Sorry to hear you’re being forced into a last-minute change of plans. Although it’s inconvenient, this may be an exciting opportunity to explore and even create something on your own!

Do I need to notify the DSO?

Yes, you should absolutely notify the Designated School Official (DSO) at your university ASAP about your situation. Federal regulations require you to notify your DSO within 10 days of any changes to your employment or personal information. DSOs are required to update information in the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) system within 21 days.

How long can I stay unemployed?

A composite image of immigration law attorney Sophie Alcorn in front of a background with a TechCrunch logo.

Image Credits: Joanna Buniak / Sophie Alcorn (opens in a new window)

F-1 students on OPT are only allowed to stay unemployed for 90 days after they graduate. They will then have to leave the United States.

Without Optional Practical Training (OPT), F-1 students can remain in the U.S. for 60 days after graduation. This 60-day grace period also applies after 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 hot right now, and it will relate to your computer science degree from an F-1 OPT standpoint. Founders are allowed to be self-employed in F-1 Regular OPT once you receive your EAD card.