OPT And STEM Extension
There may be always constant change within the law of immigration and associated regulations, certainly one of which is the eligibility of extending their employment authorization in the U.S. This article is aimed to offer an outline of the changes within the law of employmentauthorization and give you some guidance in preparing the extension applications.
It’s well known that undergraduate and graduate foreign students in F-1 status earning a level from a U.S. university are eligible to request a 12 month period of Optional Practical Training (“OPT”) upon completion of the degree program requirements. This period of OPT allows students to work in the U.S. to achieve practical training that complements their studies. Many students use this period of OPT to work and seek for a permanent position within the U.S. If a permanent position is found, a student is then faced with the challenge of adjusting status to a different visa category that permits for longer periods of employment. The choice most frequently selected is the H-1B non-immigrant visa category.
On April 8, 2008, the Department of Homeland Security published regulations to allow students receiving a degree in a Science, Technology, Engineering or Math (“STEM”) field to use for a 17-month extension of OPT. To be eligible, the student must provide evidence that a Bachelor’s or higher degree in a STEM field was earned and that a suggestion of employment exists with an employer participating in the federal government’s E-Verify system. It’s then expected that the student will apply to alter their status (i.e. to H-1B) within the whole 29 months of OPT (initial 12 months + 17 month extension).
If you’re involved within the technique of filing an application for a STEM OPT extension, there are quite a few issues that need to be considered. On the whole, the following have to be considered prior to submitting an application to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) Nebraska Service Center:
Is the applying filed before the current standard OPT period expires, but no more than 120 days from the present standard OPT expiration date
Have all degree requirements been met
Have you ever included a duplicate of the current Employment Authorization Document
Have you included a pink wigs with bangs replica of the Form I-94 Arrival/Departure Record
Have you included a duplicate of the SEVIS I-20 form
Is the I-20 form endorsed within the last 30 days by the Designated School Official on pages 1 and three
Is the I-20 form signed by the student on page 1
Is the beginning date listed on the form 1 day after the present standard OPT ends
Is the top date listed on the form 17 consecutive months from the beginning date
Have you ever included a copy of the degree
Have you ever noted “C,3,C” on Line 16
Is the Classification of Instructional Programs (“CIP”) code for the degree listed properly CIP codes may be found at nces.ed.gov/pubsearch/pubsinfo.asp pubid=2002165. The list of CIP codes eligible for STEM extensions may be found at www.ice.gov/sevis/stemlist.htm.
Is the employer’s name listed exactly how it is listed in the E-Verify registration
Is the E-Verify Identification Number listed properly This number is 5-6 digits long and is not the employer’s tax ID number.
Have you ever included 2 passport-style photographs of the applicant
Have you ever included a check for the correct filing fee payable to “Department of Homeland Security”
Most people will let you know, from experience, that it only takes one uncrossed “t” or undotted “i” to have an application rejected by USCIS. It’s important that the application be properly prepared and submitted. Mistakes could cause unnecessary delays in getting work authorization approved. Delays in work authorization approval can result in missed employment opportunities and even financial distress. The checklist above will assist you to submit an organized application, making it easier for USCIS quickly turn around a decision.
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