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STEM OPT Extension Rule Latest News Updates, Timeline, Background

In general, Optional Practical Training(OPT) is available for 12 months for F1 students. But, someone with a degree in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields is eligible to get additional 24 months of OPT. This was not the case in the past and STEM OPT was 17 months. The below page is a summary of the case, timeline and events tied to changing of STEM OPT from 17 months to 24 months.

Background for 24 month STEM OPT

A collective bargaining organization, Washington Alliance of Technology Workers,  sued US Department of Homeland Security ( DHS) in March 2014 that the 17 month STEM OPT extension rule that was passed by DHS in April 2008 did not follow standard rule making process like notice and comment period and it is invalid.  

The court finally gave a judgment on August 12th, 2015 stating that the STEM OPT extension rule will be vacated (canceled) from February 12, 2016, if DHS does not follow the formal process of notice and comment period and re-issue the rule. After the judgment, DHS Followed proper process and re-issued the STEM OPT rule and made it 24 months. Below is the timeline of events.

Latest News Updates on STEM OPT Extension Rule

  • July 2021 : As of July 2021, STEM OPT Extension continues to be available and there are no issues around the same.
  • May 10, 2016 : The 24 Month OPT rule is effective from May 10, 2016.You can check the full description of the rule at  Federal Registry 24 Month Rule .
  • March 2, 2016 : The much awaited OMB review of final rule is complete. The Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs ( OIRA), which is part of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs completed the review of the propose 2016 OPT STEM Extension rule.  See screenshot below. It is expected to be published in federal register the next few days, around March 10th.  You can check the actual status update on RegInfo.gov Page 
  • Feb 5, 2016 : The STEM OPT Extension rule moved from draft to final rule and now submitted for OMB to review.  We should very likely have the rule implemented as per the new deadline of May 10th. This must be a big relief for many F1 students and their employers. See below screenshot. You can go to RegInfo.Gov  and select DHS in the graph to see below.
    • In terms of the progress of the rule making process, we stand at the step 8, the last one before publication of the rule. You can see the status highlighted below that says “OMB Review Under Executive Order 12866” See screenshot below. For full steps on rule making check RegInfo.gov Rule making Steps 
  • Jan 23rd, 2016 : Judge formally issued notice that STEM OPT Deadline is extended till May 10th, 2016 ! This is in response to the original extension filed on Dec 23rd, 2015. Below is the official confirmation.  Many may wonder is this official news, below are the official sources and links.
  • Jan 21st, 2016 :  The actual day of the hearing in the court regarding the extension. No decision was made during the session. Judge heard the case from the parties and said that the order will be issued after the review.
  • Dec 23rd, 2015 : DHS filed a motion ( nothing but a request for court order/judgement ) requesting a delay for the STEM OPT termination deadline, which is originally Feb 12th, 2016.  DHS indicated that they received unprecedented amount of comments, about 50,510 and they need to review all of them to formulate the new rule. Also, they indicate that DHS officicals need to be trained on the new process. They are requesting for total 90 days delay, of which 30 days are for rulemaking and 60 days are for training the personnel. See below. You may read the official motion document here   DHS STEM OPT Extension Delay request to May 2016
  • Dec 15th, 2015 : Unfortunately, the previous update on Dec 9th from USCIS does not remain valid anymore. USCIS representative has called AILA and clarified that ” no decision has yet been made that if the  STEM OPT EADs will be valid after February 12, 2016. It is still under review. It was updated by attorney Murthy
  • December 9th :  STEM OPT Approvals Valid After Feb 12th  ( Not Valid as USCIS clarified on Dec 15th that they are still reviewing ) 
    • As USCIS is still reviewing the comments and the final new OPT rule making is in process, USCIS Nebraska center gave clarification to AILA saying that, if you have STEM OPT approved beyond Feb 12th, your EAD will be valid and you can continue to work. There was confusion around this before, now it is clear
    • Also, they confirmed that the students eligible for the 17 month OPT extension should continue to apply for the OPT and they will benefit and not be impacted with the Feb 12th deadline.   This is a big relief for many students with approved OPTs. You may check the article of attorney murthy with this update.
  • November 19th : The public comment period official closed at Nov 18, 2015 11:59 PM ET. There were about 50,000 comments submitted as part of the public comment open period. It is quite significant ! You may check out the details and comments at the STEM OPT Docket on Regulations. Gov Website  STEM OPT New Rule 24 Month Comments Closed
  • October 19th : The New  proposed 24 Month OPT Extension rule was published successfully to the federal register on Oct 19th and it is currently in 30 day comment period.
  • October 16th :  The New STEM OPT Extension rule will be published on October 19th to federal register. The pre-publication of the rule is available for everyone. Key highlights include 24 month OPT Extension for STEM Degree Students and 30 days comment period. Read full details Summary of the Proposed rule  ( includes official references and links )
  • October 2nd :  DHS/ USCIS gave official update to SEVIS stakeholders that they are aware of the WashTech court ruling and working on the rule to have it re-issued before the deadline of Feb 12, 2016.  Also, the official rule related information is published on RegInfo.Gov Website.  Check all details here
  • September 11th : White House Petition regarding the STEM OPT Extension reached 100,000 petitions and all the signees were notified regarding the same. We have no official news from Whitehouse yet on this.
  • September 4th : (Unofficial Update) Couple of attorney’s websites are updated that Council for Global Immigration ( CGI) has updated them that the STEM OPT Extension rule is in its re-issue process by USCIS and will be published for 30 day or 60 day comment period late September or Early October. We just have to wait and see, so far nothing from official sources of DHS.( Source : http://www.natlawreview.com/article/dhs-expected-to-issue-stem-opt-rule-early-fall )
  • August 30th : No official update from DHS / USCIS  as of August 30th, 2015. All are in waiting mode.  There are few bloggers and attorneys giving their own perspectives that the court ruling can be ignored as well. We will have to wait and see for DHS, cannot assume anything.
  • August 18th, 2015 : DHS has released in a memo to its stake holders in the program stating that “currently reviewing the ruling and will issue additional guidance in the coming weeks on how this ruling impacts our stakeholders.” An article on Computer World says the same that DHS responded. Nothing official is posted on DHS  or USCIS website yet for the public yet.
  • August 17th, 2015 : No update yet from USCIS/ DHS on the court ruling. Everyone are waiting…
  • August 12th, 2015 : Federal judge gave the judgment that OPT STEM Extension rule be vacated from Feb 12, 2016

Quick Summary of the STEM OPT Extension Cancellation Judgement :  

A collective bargaining organization, Washington Alliance of Technology Workers,  sued US Department of Homeland Security ( DHS) in March 2014 that the 17 month STEM OPT extension rule that was passed by DHS in April 2008 did not follow standard rule making process like notice and comment period and it is invalid.  The court finally gave a judgement on August 12th, 2015 stating that the STEM OPT extension rule will be vacated ( cancelled) from February 12, 2016 , if DHS does not follow the formal process of notice and comment period and re-issue the rule. Read the below articles for full information and questions around the same.

What are the various Options that DHS / USCIS has for this court ruling ?

  1. Re-issue the rule by proper process of notice and comment period (As per October 2nd Update )
  2. Appeal the judgement given by court at higher court
  3. Re-issue the rule and in parallel appeal the court ruling at higher court
  4. Ignore the court judgement of rule altogether as said by an Attorney  ( pure speculation)

Latest Articles on the 17  Month STEM OPT Extension Rule  :

Over 100,000 petitions were signed on this news to get White House Attention and official response.   You can sign the OPT STEM Extension Petition

Some are claiming that this is fake news as it does not have signature and not covered by mainstream news. Unfortunately, they are wrong ! Below is the exact case judgement published on Court Website. You may look for Date 8/12/2015

Official News Sources/ References :

Actual Court Ruling Document


Other Articles


  1. Is anybody got impacted because of below recent changes in OPT STEM rule?.



  2. My OPT expires on Feb 15th 2018, so I applied for OPT extension and USCIS received it on December 4th 2017.
    I’m planning to travel to India around feb 17th 2018, will i get my extension approval before that ?
    Any idea on how many days USCIS is taking to process OPT extensions currently?
    If i don’t receive OPT extension before Feb 17th 2018, Is that risk travelling to india?

  3. VD,

    Did you apply for your extension and did it approve , My current OPT is expiring next month and I am planning to apply for extension soon. Anyone who applied for the Extension after Feb , your suggestion will help .

    • Anupama ,

      Did you apply for OPT extension in March ? What is the process you followed . I am hearing the training plan to be submitted to DSO and etc . Can someone shed information on it what is the process involved.

  4. Hello all,

    My situation is my old OPT was expired on Feb 15, 2016 and I already apply for opt extension on Nov 24, 2015. But right now I still not receive my EAD card and I will apply for H1B in April, my question is that is it ok to apply for H1B without EAD card?

    Did anyone receive the EAD card recently?Am I rejected by USCIS?


    • Vivi,

      It is ok to apply for it w/o the EAD card. Submit proof of timely OPT extension submission. I assume your H-1 attorney is aware about your case details.

      You should follow-up w/ USCIS about the OPT extension delay. They should have processed it within 90 days.

    • Hi,

      I’m in CPT now (2nd masters). I joined 2nd Masters before my extended OPT expires.
      Total I used 12+ 14 months of OPT.

      Will I be still eligible to apply for 7 months of OPT as per the new rule?

      Please advise.

  5. My OPT is going to end in June 19, 2016, and I had not applied for the 17 months extension due to all confusions. Now, I have to apply for the extension without delay, but I am still confused, because the 24 months Extension is effective only from May 10, 2016. I cannot wait until that. So, what should I do?
    Any advice will be highly appreciated.

    • A little change on my situation. I mis-wrote the date. My OPT is actually ending on May 19,2016. Sorry. Please, any advice?

    • Pratik Pote,

      AFAIK, you are not eligible for 24 month OPT as you have less than 5 months left on OPT on May 10, 2016. So you are eligible for 17 month OPT, which you can apply even now.

        • I think Saurabh is wrong, the 5 month requirement for the previous 17 month opt extension. You are definitely eligible for the new 24 month extension.

          • Jim,

            You are correct. I was wrong as he is still on initial OPT and not 17 month extension. However, in order to maintain continuity of work, he wants to apply for OPT now and can only get 17 month extension and not 24 month.

    • QY….there is a section of the new rule that says those on already approved 17 month stem OPT extension should have at least 150 days to qualify for the additional 7 months. It is a bit confusing at this moment and no one can confirm whether you qualify for the additional 7 months. You cannot apply until after May 10, even if you qualify….

      • DonKay, Thanks for the reply. I am not on stem OPT extension right now. My 12 month opt will expire on Jun 30 and I am trying to apply for the 24 month extension. Just wondering in my case can I apply 120 days before Jun 30 or still have to wait till May 10th.

  6. Based on the new rule, I see that students who already completed a STEM OPT for a level of study and go on to a higher STEM degree can have another (a 2nd) STEM OPT. It is on page 173 of this document: https://s3.amazonaws.com/public-inspection.federalregister.gov/2016-04828.pdf
    Is there anyone here who can confirm that?

  7. On page 242, it says people currently on a 17 month STEM extension need to have at least 150 days left in order to convert it to a 24 month STEM extension. When would those 150 days be counted from? The date the rule goes into effect? Today? When you apply for the conversion?

      • Does this imply that if you have less than 150 days on your already approved 17 months after May 10 you don’t qualify for the addition 7 months (to get 24 months in total) on the stem opt? Is it going to be a new application, and must one provide the same material (i-20, transcripts/diploma etc)? It is a hard blow to those students who are already on opt stem 17 months and will have less than 150 days (5 months) left after May 10. Really bad though!

        • I have less than 30 days remaining in my 17 month OPT STEM extension after May 10th. I guess I won’t be eligible for the 7 month extension.

          I was hoping that USCIS would at the least accept a brand new application (instead of a default 7 month extension for all 17 month extension holders), based on the new requirements for the 24 month OPT STEM extension, and there by grant the 7 month extension.

          The only purpose the 150 days cut-off will serve is that it will limit the number of applications USCIS has to deal with.

  8. Hi,

    My OPT is expiring on Sep 7, 2016. My employer is not filing H1B this year. So I need to apply for stem OPT extension. Can I apply for stem extension before May 10, 2016 ?
    Actually I am afraid, considering the worst case if USCIS/court publishes the news to totally rule out stem extension, then I should be safe already.

    Waiting for reply.
    Thanks in advance!

    • Poonam,

      OPT extension can be applied at most 120 days prior to current OPT expiration date. USCIS is proposing the rule to put OPT extension back in place. I don’t think they are planning anything to rule it out.

  9. Does the rule come into effect when its published in the register, or does it have to be approved by both houses of Congress before it comes into effect? What timeline are we looking at now?

    • B,
      The rule does not need to go through congress or anything now. Once published to register, USCIS will give guidance on when it will be effective and other details. The deadline is extended till May 10, we will have more information from USCIS soon.

  10. I graduated with a Master’s degree in May 2015.
    I am currently on OPT and my employer is filing an H1B application for me this April 1st.
    I will also be applying for a 17 month STEM OPT extension this month.

    My F1 visa expires in August 2016.

    Here are my questions:

    1) In the event that I do not get an H1B this year, do I need to renew my F1 visa, even though I will have valid OPT? If yes, what is the process for this?

    2) In the event that I do get an H1B this year, my H1B status will only be active from Oct 1st onwards. So during the month of September, I will be on an expired F1 visa. Is this OK, since I will be awaiting an H1B status?

    Please advise.

    • Anupama,

      F-1 visa stamp is required only if you plan to travel outside of US and then return. If you continue to stay in US, then no action is required as long as your OPT gets extended. Your I-94 validity date would be Duration of Status, correct?

  11. Hi Kumar,

    I want to ask a question.
    Will the 17 months extension still be valid after the 24 months rule comes into effect?

    Thank you!

    • Ping,

      I think USCIS will provide clarification on that once new rule goes into place. I think they would ask those persons to apply for a new 7 month extension.

  12. Hi Kumar,

    Thank you so much for the updates!
    I have a question about travelling abroad. I am planning to travel between Feb 18-Mar 18, 2016 and have a approved OPT Extension EAD card (till July 2017) .Considering that the deadline for DHS have time till May 10, is it safe to travel between these dates?

    Please let me know your advice.


    • N,
      Technically, it should be fine. You can carry documentation of the original ruling and extension details as backup, if you were to be questioned. Also, in general, traveling on OPT is less recommended, unless there is a dire need for you to travel. You need to carry your current job offer and have offer that you will have future employment when you come back. Also, you need to work with DSO and get new I20 issued as well. Also, check with DSO on the risk of traveling with the current situation and take their advice.

      • one question – if by may 2016, DHS passes the new OPT extension law, making it from 17 month to 24 months, how it affects current students with OPT extension? For example, my OPT extension is valid until Oct 2016. If DHS passes the new rule, then would it automatically extended to May 2017 (+7 months?)

        • I am very sure you will be required to apply for the additional 7 months if DHS decides that already approved 17 months opt stem should receive 24 months. You will also pay for it….fact???

  13. Can anyone please provide a list of universities that provides CPT from first day? I know that Harrisburg University is one which does the same, but was wandering if i could get some more schools. Thank you.

  14. So I am already on OPT stem extension which will expire on February 2017. If USCIS is unable to issue a new rule by February 12, 2016, do I have to stop work? I hear the have asked for 3 months extension to come up with a new rule; how does that affect all those who have their 17 months EAD cards approved? Should they stop working?

    • Don Kay,

      Your approved OPT can be used to work until Feb 2017 even if the rule doesn’t change in Feb 2016.
      USCIS has still not made the decision whether to honor the approved EADs or not. Sorry for the wrong info earlier.

        • This is an outdated info. USCIS representative has called AILA in Dec 15th, 2015 and clarified that ” no decision has yet been made that if the STEM OPT EADs will be valid after February 12, 2016. It is still under review. It was updated by attorney Murthy.

          This is also at the top of this page!

        • Yes, this is validated information that neither USCIS, nor the Court, has made comments on the already-approved EADs. We don’t know yet.

  15. I have just come across a blog from Immigrationgirl which says:-

    “DHS has asked the court to extend the stay from February 12th to May 10th in order to give the agency sufficient time to review all public comments and implement a final rule.”

    I’m not sure how true this is but I’m sharing this with you all – as I’m myself affected with recent ongoing STEM OPT issues. Please find the link below


  16. My OPT expires next month and my current employer does not use E-Verify, so I plan to work as an unpaid employee under another E-Verify employer, apply for OPT extension, and will look for a new paid job with E-Verify employer while my application will be under review.

    Has anyone applied for OPT extension as an unpaid employee? If yes, is it possible to do so, and what documents I need to submit?

  17. Hope you can guide me on the following:
    My OPT extension is expiring in April 19, 2016. I also applied for MBA in University that provide CPT from Day 1. Session starts Jan 19, 2016. I am planning to defer to session II which starts in March 14. I have two scenarios in front of me-
    1. If court order stay and OPT extension is revoked, I will go on CPT.
    – Do you see any problem in transferring my SEVIS from old university to new university, if my OPT is revoked on Feb 12 (for March 14 session).
    2. If court rules not revoke OPT extension, I will apply for 7 month extension-
    – Do I have to ask my employer to create training and mentoring plan before I apply for addition 7 month extension.
    – Do I will be able to file for 7 month extension.

  18. Check this link out…


    It straight away doubts the ability of DHS to meet the deadline..

    • I just found this link where it states that the proposed rule was published on Oct 19


      Does it mean that the above article is incorrect?

      Could someone try to verify the information?

    • It depends on whether the proposed rule is a major rule or not. If it is a major rule, then there is a 60 day delay before the rule comes into affect. If it is not, then the delay is 30 days. The major rule is defined as (according to

      The term ‘major rule’ means any rule that the Administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs of the Office of Management and Budget finds has resulted in or is likely to result in–

      “(A) an annual effect on the economy of $100,000,000 or more;

      “(B) a major increase in costs or prices for consumers, individual industries, Federal, State, or local government agencies, or geographic regions; or

      “(C) significant adverse effects on competition, employment, investment, productivity, innovation, or on the ability of United States-based enterprises to compete with foreign-based enterprises in domestic and export markets.

      And the federal register rule making process can be found here:

      I guess if DHS is late in publishing the new rule, then there will be a gap between the vacancy date and the effective date. It doesn’t mean that DHS lost the ability to publish the new rule within 60 days of Feb 12, 2016.

      These are just my thoughts after researching online..

    • Could DHS use 60-day grace period to have more time?

      In principal, students cannot apply for STEM extension during 60-day grace period, but DHS can consider accepting STEM extension applications from them temporarily under this special circumstances. If DHS can, then even if all OPTs are nullified in Feb 12, 2016, students can submit new OPT STEM extension applications during their 60-day grace period til April 12, 2016.

      Of course this is just a naive hope…

  19. Is waiting-period of the new rule 30-day or 60-day?

    I am in a bit complicated situation, but simply put I need new DHS rule to be published before Dec 20. I was expecting the rule to be published by Dec 14 since I heard there’s 60-day waiting period, but some other people told me the waiting period is 30-day, and I see no activities from DHS recently…

  20. I applied for my OPT extension in May but got rejected for no valid reasons. then my lawyer filed Motion to reopen for me and it has been more than 2 months since USCIS received my appeal . The status still shows case received. they claimed that it’s still within the processing time frame, which is 3 months. But my lawyer also said if it won’t get approved by Jan 18th, I have to stop working. just wanna share my story here. Best luck to all of us.

  21. My opt (with the 17-month extension) expires on Dec 18, 2015. Do you think there will be any changes due to the new proposed rules? Thank you!

  22. My OPT expires on 4th Jan. I already applied for extension and it’s over 45 days but still my status says “Case was Received”. My application is at VSC. Does anyone have any idea how long they are taking to process OPT extension application?

    • I am on the same page. Mine will expired on Dec. 19th and it has been nearly 90 days since they received my application. I filed a service request but will not expect to hear anything from them until Dec. 10th.

        • Nuh.. I emailed them via the service request page and I am expecting to receive an answer by Dec. 10th. I will call them then.
          By the way, you can request your school to provide a letter citing the government document that you can still work up to 180/120 days after your current EAD expires as long as your opt ext application is pending. I did that and my HR is ok with it.

        • Hey,
          Here’s the email response I got from UCSIS. Anyone can help me understand what it means and how long this so called background check takes? Thanks a lot!

          We have received your service request and researched the status of your case. Our system indicates that the required background investigation for your pending application is still open. We cannot move forward with your case until the background investigation is completed.

          These background checks are required to be completed on all applicants who apply for the immigration benefit you are seeking. We will make every effort to make a decision on this case as soon as the background checks are complete.

          If you do not receive a decision or other notice of action from us within 6 months of this letter, please contact us by calling our customer service number provided below.

        • It’s ok. Just want to get back to you and tell you the updates. I just called UCSIS and asked them if they can expedite it. The officer told me they will get back to me in 5-10 business day regarding my case.

    • mikep, Chen,
      Try calling USCIS contact number and requesting them to expedite the process. You can cite the reason as upcoming expiration date, break in work, project criticality etc.

  23. Hi Kumar,
    Thanks for your post. The comments submitted by the majority of Americans are overwhelmingly negative and it seems like the opposition voice is outnumber/outweighed than the support ones. Under the circumstance, I am concerned the rule cannot be passed and result in thousands of international STEM students forced to leave US by next year. Could you post something to urge the international students support this rule by submitting a well-organized comment? We only have less than 10 days. This is really urgent.


  24. Hello, my opt (with the 17-month extension) expires on Dec 7, 2015. Do you think there will be any changes due to the new proposed rules? Thanks!

    • captianVijay, We just need to wait and see when USCIS will make the new 24 month OPT rule effective. They will give guidance on how to work with the new rule. As of now, it works like before and no changes. We just have to wait.

      • Hi CV/Kumar,

        Did you hear any update on the 24 month OPT extension for the people who are already on 17 Months STEM extension which is near completion?

        I am in the sitatuion where my 17 months STEM extension is ending early 2016. Please do update if possible.

        Thanks in Advance..


  25. OPT students please submit Public comment on OPT 24M extension now- Please do act immediately- It is your career!
    Most of the comments from supporters are not elaborative and seems to be single liner. 50000 OPT students will be going back, if this is not done properly. Why they have not posted a single comment ? This lethargy will lead to heavy loss. Hence, please submit your comments seriously with data points. See my comments posted below:
    •US needs a larger tech-savvy workforce to maximize economic growth
    •400,000 stem students from 200,000 by 2015 (Doubling of STEM graduates)
    •At rate of $200000.00 per student for 2 year degree with tuition and graduation fees, staying expenses and other education revenue the US is receiving ( Total $80000000000.00) will go other countries with OPT system.
    •US Universities and colleges will be badly affected if the OPT Stem extension is not retained and expanded to 24 months.
    • Most of the US Universities and colleges will shutting their doors if the OPT extension is not given, because student will choose other countries for higher education
    •Students will contribute to the growth of US Economy by paying the Taxes on their employment ( 3 Years x $3000 per year x 400000 students= Total $ 3600000000.00).
    •Total Benefit to US Economy Benefit in the range of $ 83600000000 for 5 years
    •Students will contribute to the growth of US Economy by innovation and research in their field of study (Example Solar Energy, Medical Research)
    •Best practices from employers/industries can be reached to the Universities
    •Without practical training the education for 3 years will not prove to be beneficial to the students (Ex: mobile- android/iOS development)
    •Students acquire skills and specialized knowledge in their chosen studies ( Ex: Cancer Research, Stem Cell Research, Nano technology)
    •In developing countries the OPT is not available and that is why the students come to US.
    •The curriculum and syllabus of the various Universities are fast changing to changing technologies in STEM
    •The employers will be getting the top notch brains and new energy filled students who can bring benefit to the company by the new developments science and technology and IT ( Ex: BIG DATA in IT, Social Networking, Mobile technology) otherwise relying on obsolete technologies
    •The new rule proposed will help that it will not affect any US based existing employees as they are covered under the provisions of new rule protects their interests
    •The Industry and College co-ordination will get improved by the OPT program
    •STEM students will allow employers the opportunity to accomplish bigger projects, achieve more innovation, and develop new products and technology, all of which will further fuel the U.S. economy.
    •Without practical training the education for 17 months will not prove to be beneficial to the students
    •Students will leave US, in the middle of their practical training with half-baked experience, if the OPT stem is not for a minimum of 3 years
    •It takes a total period of 4 years to master the field experience of stem ( like IT experience without 4 years of practical experience is not preferred by an employer).OPT Stem extension should be for 24 months
    •Welcome the new proposals (Formal Training Program and Customized Mentoring and Training Plan),which will benefit both employer and students. But this should not be a burden with lot of paper work and the procedure should be simplified by online submissions
    •The OPT Stem Extension Formal Training Program and Customized mentoring procedure and training rule should be simplified for the benefit of small employers as well and should reduce the unnecessary documentation work
    Cap-Gap Relief is an Important Part of the 2008 Rule and should be retained
    •Welcome the new proposals and without this the students will leave the US and there will be brain drain and students will be losing the touch on the Stem degree advancements and experience
    •It will make a dent in the student career and resume, if the Cap-Gap is Relief is not retained
    •Anyhow, if they are selected in H1b, they have to come back and work after 6 months. If this relief is there, it will avoid unnecessary travel and unnecessary lack of continuity in employment
    •There should be a new rule that all the OPT Students with stem extension should be given automatically given H1B visa after they complete the OPT extension to serve US with their talent
    •If US is changing the rule of Stem OPT Extension on temporary basis, then international students will find the other countries beneficial and hence this new rule should be a permanent one and should be implemented before the court deadline of 12 Feb 2016.
    •The new rule should be implemented by Jan 2016 (before the 12 Feb 2016) deadline by the court
    •This will reduce the uncertainty for the career of the student and they can focus on their work/training they are undergoing if the new rule is enacted in advance
    •The existing students with 17 months OPT stem extension should be given for 7 months additional extension automatically, without inviting any further extension application based on the new rule and new OPT card should be sent
    Here is the link


    • Yes, it will be applicable. You can request for the remaining time by filing OPT extension with USCIS. The details will be given by USCIS once the rule is final

  26. I am on STEM opt extension which will expire in first week of February 2016. I shall be benefited if this new rule comes up before that.
    But what if DHS feels that it will not be able to meet the deadline and asks for stay on the ruling? In that case what about people who have a hope of getting extra 7 months ( thereby one more H1B chance in April 016) what if stay order is vacated in march and 24months rule comes in march? I shall be on 60days of grace period so Will i be eligible for 7 months extension?

    • NA,
      Lets hope for the positive outcome. USCIS will provide guidance once the rule is published, currently we do not know how they will address. Usually, when you are in grace period and had valid status before that, you can look for alternatives to stay in US…so, technically, if the rule passes even after your OPT extension expires, you should be able to apply for the remainder 7 months as you are in grace period. Again, we need to get this clarified by USCIS…so, stay positive.

  27. My OPT expires on 18th Feb 2016, which is after the 12th Feb 2016 deadline from the court ruling. I am going to apply for my STEM extension shortly. Could you tell me what the process would be that I would have to follow if the proposed rule does not go into effect before my OPT expires to continue working at my job?

    Thanks in advance.

    • VD, As of now, nothing changes. You should follow the same exact process like normal OPT extension. As you can apply before it expires, go ahead and apply ahead of time and you should technically get full OPT extension period of 17 months. ( many users confirmed they got full 17 months OPT). USCIS will provide guidance after the rule is final and how to adjust, for now do not worry too much.


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