April 11, 2008

CIS Announces New Rule Allowing Extension of Optional Practical Training

On April 4, 2008, the CIS announced that optional practical training (OPT) may be extended in two situations. First, if an F-1 student has a pending H-1B petition and is working pursuant to post-completion OPT, the student’s status is automatically extended until the October 1 start date indicated on the approved H-1B petition. The extension terminates when the CIS rejects, denies or revokes the H-1B petition. A person here in F-1 status may remain in the United States during this period and if the student is working pursuant to OPT, that student may continue working until the October 1 start date.

Second, a student may be eligible to extend post-completion OPT by an additional 17 months. To be eligible for this extension, the student must have at least a bachelor’s degree in certain designated fields (STEM degree), the student must be in an approved post-completion OPT period based on that STEM degree, the student’s employer must be enrolled in E-Verify, and the student must apply for the OPT extension before the current post-completion OPT expires. Note that this is not an automatic extension, but one that must be applied for timely.

The STEM designated degrees include the following courses of study:

  • Computer Science Applications
  • Actuarial Science
  • Engineering
  • Engineering Technologies
  • Biological and Biomedical Sciences
  • Mathematics and Statistics
  • Military Technologies
  • Physical Sciences

For more information on these extensions, click here

By: Martha James