The new STEM OPT rule allows for an additional 7 months of STEM OPT time for a total of 24 months. Eligible foreign nationals must file for the additional time between May 10, 2016 and August 8, 2016. Applications received after this date will be rejected.
Additionally, applicants must have at least 150 days of STEM OPT remaining when the petition is filed (i.e., receipted) with USCIS. This means that if the applicant’s existing STEM OPT approval expires prior to October 6, 2016, the applicant is not eligible to apply for the additional time.
The change is one of many included in the new rule published on March 11 of this year, and which takes effect on May 10, 2016. Other notable changes include:
- New employer attestations and reporting requirements
- New Training Plan Form (I-983) required for extension
- More CIP codes are now STEM eligible than before – double check on website if unsure
- Now foreign students are eligible for two lifetime stem OPTs
- STEM OPT extension available based on previously earned degree
- Increased unemployment limit for STEM OPT
- Increased filing timeline from 30 to 60 days for I-765 after DSO recommendation
- Decreased filing timeframe from 120 days prior to OPT expiration to 90 days prior to OPT expiration.
- Employer must report termination of employee within 5 days, increased from 2 days
Please contact our office to schedule a consultation with an immigration attorney if you feel you may be affected by these changes.