25 FAQ’s About STEM OPT Extension for F1 Students

Ready to apply for OPT or STEM OPT Extension? Here’s some FAQ’s about OPT and STEM OPT Extension about application, deadline, processing time to unemployment period.

1. What is OPT?

Optional Practical Training (OPT) is work authorization available to international students in the USA.

To be eligible for OPT students should have been in valid F-1 status for at least two consecutive semesters.

2. What is the deadline to apply for OPT?

The earliest you can apply for OPT is 90 days before your course completion date.

The latest date the USCIS will accept your application is 60 days after your course completion date.

Example

  • Your I-20 currently expires on  – Dec/9/2015
  • You can choose an OPT start date as early as – Dec/10/2015
  • you can choose an OPT start date as late as – Feb/7/2016

An I-765 (OPT Application Form) for standard post-completion OPT can be filed up to 90 days before the program end-date and up to 60 days after the program end-date, provided that it is filed within 30 days of the date the DSO enters the OPT recommendation into SEVIS. Applications for the 17-month STEM extension must be filed before the current OPT expires.

3. What is the Processing Time for OPT and Extension

As per law, EAD cards should be issued within 90 days of the application.  It applies to Initial OPT application and STEM OPT Extension application. On an average USCIS takes about 75 to 90 days to approve and mail the OPT Card.

4. Who is eligible for 12 months OPT?

12 months of OPT is available after completing each higher level degree program.

  • Bachelors – 12 months
  • Masters – 12 months (MS, MBA, etc.)
  • Ph.D. – 12 months

If you complete, all three-degree levels, then you are eligible to get three 12 month OPT Period.

5. I completed M.S. and planning to study MBA. Do I get 12 more months of OPT?

If you complete MS followed by an MBA, you can get only ONE 12 month of OPT. Since MS and MBA are both considered as Masters Degree level.

6. Do I need to have a job to apply for OPT?

A job offer is not required to apply for OPT. You can apply within the allowed time frame of OPT application deadlines.

7. I received a job offer, what should I do next?

After you find a  job, you must inform your university DSO about your new job ( Employer, Location, Salary, Job Type, Title, etc.). This is to make sure you are not going to violate 90 days unemployment period.

I know someone who had a job in OPT but failed to report to the DSO, While applying for STEM OPT Extension, it was denied. As per USCIS, he was unemployed for 12 months. So, make sure to inform your DSO after receiving a job offer.

8. How is 90 days unemployment calculated?

  • After OPT start date, you cannot stay unemployed for no more than 90 days.
  • There are no limits on job location within USA (Hawaii and Alaska counts).
  • If you switch jobs and take a week break, it will count towards 90 days period.

10. I have a new job offer, can I change jobs during OPT period?

  • If you change jobs during OPT, inform your DSO about the new job.
  • DSO can then update your SEVIS record of your new employer.
  • If you don’t update your DSO, then your new employer will not be recorded.
  • While applying for OPT Extension, you may receive an RFE.
  • During OPT, you will be in F1 visa (OPT is considered to be part of the program of study).

11. Is it possible to get OPT in less than 90 days?

  • No premium processing for OPT.
  • Some USCIS service centers can take longer than 90 days to issue your OPT Card.
  • There’s an expediated process, but you have to provide hardship reasons.

12. My OPT application is approved. Can I start working before I receive the card?

  • OPT Card or Employment Authorization Document (EAD) that allows you to begin working on OPT.
  • After graduation, you cannot work until you have the EAD in your hand.
  • You can start working only after the start date on the your EAD Card.

13. What kind of job can I do on OPT?

STEM OPT Extension – 17 Months

  1. OPT can only be extended beyond 12 months (for up to 17 additional months) if you meet the following three conditions:
    • Your degree qualifies as a STEM major (Science, Technology, Engineering or Mathematics).
    • Your employer is e-Verified (E-Verify ).
    • You are currently authorized for OPT and working in a job related to your field of study.
  2. Only one 17-month STEM extension is granted, regardless of additional degrees awarded or level of degrees.
  3. New STEM extension EAD card begins the day after the expiration of the 12-month EAD card.
  4. 17-month extension will be granted as one period. It cannot be split into smaller periods.
  5. It is possible to change employers during the 17 months.  The new employment must meet the STEM extension requirements.
  6. Students whose applications are received before the EAD card expires will be able to continue employment while the extension application is pending until they receive the final decision from USCIS on the application or for 180 days, whichever comes first.  It is possible to change employment while the application is pending, as long as the new employment meets STEM extension requirements.
  7. If extension application is denied, the student will still have the 60-day grace period after expiration of the 12-month EAD card.

More information at SEVIS Policy Guidance

STEM OPT Extension Eligibility

  • You must currently be on post-completion 12-month OPT.
  • Verified completion of a degree on the STEM Designated Degree Programs List.
  • The CIP code is found on top of page 3 of the I-20, next to “Primary Major.”
  • Employment Requirements:
    • Paid or Unpaid
    • At least 20 hours per week
    • Directly related to field of study and appropriate to degree level obtained
  • Employer Requirements:
    • Registered with the U.S. Government E-Verify employment verification system
    • Agrees to report any termination of employment within 48 hours to OIS.
  • An additional 30 days of unemployment time will be available during the extension, combined with the 90 days granted during initial 12-month.  The aggregate total allowed is 120 days during the possible 29 months.

Travel while on OPT (and STEM OPT)

Required documents to re-enter the U.S. while on OPT and STEM OPT

  • STEM extension OPT I-20 with page 3 endorsed for travel; travel endorsement cannot be more than six months old
  • Valid F-1 visa stamp
  • Valid passport
  • STEM Extension, EAD card
  • Job offer letter or statement of employment from company
  • Recent Pay Checks

 What are the eligibility requirements for the 17-month extension of post-completion OPT?

  • The student must have a bachelor’s, master’s, or doctorate included in the STEM Designated Degree Program List.
  • The student must currently be in an approved post-completion OPT period based on a designated STEM degree.
  • The student’s employer must be enrolled in E-Verify.
  • The student must apply on time (i.e., before the current post-completion OPT expires).

153 Comments

  1. Anonymous on March 6, 2018 at 11:25 AM

    I am going to complete my Masters in Electrical Enginerring this Spring’2018.
    I am getting a job offer as an Electrical Assembler on my OPT.
    I have no prior work experience anywhere.
    Should I not take this job offer considering it is less appropriate for a Masters Student to work as an assembler.
    Or should I start working at this position and maybe switch later after gaining some experience.

    • Raghuram Sukumar on March 6, 2018 at 10:41 PM

      IF you want someone to take time to respond, use a name and not fake email id.

  2. Kiran on December 3, 2017 at 10:05 PM

    Hellow
    My opt was started on August 22, 2017. My job was stated on the September 1st, 2017. Due to some situation, my manager gave me time period (Feb 28th, 2018) to leave this job. After losing my job, How long will I have time to start another job. My opt will expired on July 22nd, 2018. I think I need to apply opt extension in April 22, 2018. Could anybody give me good answers about it?

    • Raghu on December 4, 2017 at 3:14 AM

      You have 90 days of unemployment in initial 12 months OPT.

  3. howard on October 20, 2017 at 7:46 PM

    Hello,

    I am recently applied for the OPT STEM Application and I have received a e-receipt with my case number. I realized that I have made some serious mistake in the form and would like to withdraw and re-apply again.

    My Question is :

    1) What is the process of withdrawal?
    2) How much time does it take to withdrawal the application?

    Any help is really appreciated!

    Thanks

  4. Sree on October 5, 2017 at 11:59 AM

    I’m on OPT right now. I got a job in a small start-up. They said they cannot do a payroll but they can give only electronic check. May I still accept this job opportunity? Is it legal to take the check without having payroll running?

    • Raghu on October 10, 2017 at 9:23 PM

      Talk to an Attorney to understand the implications of this.

  5. Ea on September 17, 2017 at 1:06 PM

    Hi
    My question is if I do MBA and get otp of 12 months and after that I do a stem course eg:- business analytics will I be eligible to work in the US for 3 years or not ?

  6. Ankita Patil on July 28, 2017 at 4:46 PM

    Hi, I have a question on my conversion of status from F1 to H4.

    So, my H1 wasn’t picked up in last chance either so I will have to go on H4 visa to legally stay in the US. My Opt is expiring on 01/17/2018 , can I go to India for a month and come back in December while one moth is still remaining on OPT, and can switch on to H4 after I come back from India. Because I’m still working and son’t want to go on H4 before going to India. Please advise.

  7. GVS- Dilemma Pls Help!!! on April 16, 2017 at 3:20 PM

    Hi , I have got denied for OPT extension and I have my 60 day grace period which ends on April 21,2017 because my opt ended on Feb 21,2017.
    So I got an admission from another university and i am trying to get SEVIS transferred from my old university.
    Is it legal to stay in the United states as soon as I transfer my sevis to the new University?
    I also was working with a company and they terminated because I have lost work authorization ?
    So how possible is to work on CPT searching for a new job vs returning back to India for good ..I am in a dilemma and tensed about the situation, please advise.

    • KD on May 4, 2017 at 11:50 AM

      Hi,
      Why was your STEM opt denied? Did you get a reason from USCIS?

  8. Naveen Reddy on December 21, 2016 at 6:49 PM

    Hi!
    I’m currently working on OPT( 10th month) and I have to apply for stem extension this January! But I failed in my comprehensive exam and I will lose my F1 status because I cannot get my degree. I have been studying in this college since August 2014. Now, I’m planning to apply for day 1 CPT college! So I was wondering if I could apply for 24 months CPT college after using OPT? What are my limitations and what are the chances that I will be approved for CPT after OPT? I’m working on the same field I studied in my masters!
    Please help

  9. Nikita on November 11, 2016 at 4:36 PM

    Hello,

    I need some help.! I am currently on F1-OPT. My 12-month OPT expires on December 6th. My current employer is not E-Verified. I was not able to find a good consultancy offering Stem OPT extension. I have applied to Universities for Spring 2017. I have 2 questions:
    1. Should I apply for COS to H4 visa since spring term starts in Jan 2017 and my Opt expires in first week of December?
    2. Does anyone know of any consulting firms offering stem extension?
    Thanks

    • Prashant on November 16, 2016 at 12:56 AM

      HI Nikita,

      I am in a similar situation as yours. I am researching on this issue and may have a possible solution to this

      Feel free to reach out to me

  10. anu on October 27, 2016 at 12:06 AM

    Hi,

    I am Anu, I am on OPT and it started on May 17 2016. My opt was started immediately after my masters. I have a plan to India in the last week of November. Initially i am with XXXX consultancy and later I changes to XXX and I informed to ISS about my first employer and a bit lately about 2nd employer. I have pay stubs from July but i updated about this employer in September to ISS. I am not working but I can manage client letter(original).

    Now my question is Can i travel to India without any fear. I am flying through Etihad airways while returning back my port of entry is in Abu dhabi. I am a bit tensed about the questions and all.
    what I need to carry with me and what i don’t need to carry. Please suggest me with some ideas.

    Do i need to tell them that I am coming back to continue my work ??

    Can someone help me in this

  11. devajyothi on July 25, 2016 at 12:38 PM

    Hi,
    I got my visa for one college and i want to transfer to other college. i saw below post in fb . Is this true?

    Transfer to other University: Before it was a very easy process to switch. Recently from May 2016, Many students OPT request was denied coz of transferring to other University without completing at least one semester or full time course, its now Federal Law to minimum of one semester. When You apply or intend for transfer, No one will suggest or guide You for NOT TO Opt. You’ll face the consequence after completing MS but not while you’re pursuing it. Make sure you will be able transfer credit otherwise you will lose money and time both.

  12. Raghu on October 24, 2015 at 10:10 PM

    Hi,

    I am currently on CPT, is it mandatory to run pay roll every month in CPT? Will there be any issues in approving my opt or while H1 if my employer doesn’t run pay roll in CPT?

    • Raghuram Sukumar on October 25, 2015 at 8:22 AM

      Hey – You could have issue when applying for OPT and H1B. Get consulting from Attorney ( http://www.happyschools.com/ask-an-attorney/ )

      • Raghu on October 25, 2015 at 5:05 PM

        HI,

        If I run my payroll ,with less amount than the previous will it be ok? Just to maintain my status?

        • Raghuram Sukumar on October 26, 2015 at 7:38 AM

          I can’t answer questions that affecting your legal status.

  13. Amulya Pulijala on September 21, 2015 at 8:20 PM

    Hello Sir,

    I applied for my opt and USCIS received on April 10th 2015. In Mid June I was asked for additional evidence(Photos). USCIS has received my photos on July 1st. Since then there has been no update on the case. When I raised service request ,I got a reply saying my application is with the Immigration officer. I raised a service request earlier and got a similar reply.

    I spoke to the customer service representative again and I was told that If i can show proof and submit a letter saying that this delay in processing the EAD Card is causing financial hardship, they might expedite the process. I want to take your suggestion on this. Should I wait a little more or go ahead with this process? If so, what proof do I need to submit to make my case strong?

    I have an offer with me right now and waiting for my Ead card

    Please advise.
    Thank you
    Amulya

    • Raghuram Sukumar on September 21, 2015 at 9:43 PM

      Post this to Attorney Via Ask n Attorney

  14. Rushik Panchal on January 4, 2015 at 1:06 PM

    My OPT is expiring on Feb. I have already applied for STEM. Is is possible for my company to file H1B on April 1st even if I haven’t received my STEM ?

  15. Nagarjuna on August 6, 2014 at 9:43 AM

    My CPT ends on 31 December. Can I register for in class course during my OPT.

    • Raghuram Sukumar on August 6, 2014 at 10:49 AM

      That’s called Pre-Completion OPT. Yes, you can and talk to your DSO.

      • Nagarjuna on August 14, 2014 at 10:13 PM

        Hi Raghuram Sir.. Could you please Please call me on 315-790-2049. I do really need a career advice and I am in dilemma to make a decision right now. Pl help me

        • Raghuram Sukumar on August 15, 2014 at 12:19 PM

          I have send you an email to sign-up for consulting call.

          • Nagarjuna on August 15, 2014 at 12:39 PM

            I did signup .. Can’t wait to speak to you.
            Thank you



          • Raghuram Sukumar on August 15, 2014 at 6:43 PM

            I will talk to you tomorrow morning.



          • Nagarjuna on August 17, 2014 at 12:31 AM

            Hi Sir..
            I would like to talk to you once .. If possible I would like to schedule for an another call ..
            Please call me on 315-790-2049



      • Nagarjuna on August 15, 2014 at 1:18 AM

        Hi Raghuram Sir,
        I have come to USA in Fall 2012. I have finished all of my courses and got registered for Masters thesis. I am on CPT now working for full time which expires 31 December 2014.

        After working on 6 credit thesis for an year , I wanted to drop out of thesis and register for 3 credit project as I have found thesis so tough for me.

        Now for the other 3 credits I have to go back to school to do a course either this Fall 2014 or spring 2015.

        I took up thesis because I got failed in a course during spring 2013. Do you encourage me to register for course this fall leaving Job and find another Job in January with OPT (Or)
        Do you encourage me to repeat the course that I got failed in spring 2015 with pre-completion OPT being on the Job now.

        On My I20 I have this information as follows:
        Complete studies not later than 12/31/2015, the normal length of the study is 30 months.

        If we consider 30 months, the date supposed to be 12/31/2014. My DSO says that was a mistake. I am confused with all the options available and There’s allot more that I wanted to say, I would be glad If you can call me for a couple of min over the phone at 315-790-2049.

        I took a wrong decision when I were in my third semester and messed up my career by going for thesis. I don’t want to repeat the same this time and Please please call me Once anytime.

        Thank you

      • vinni on September 27, 2016 at 5:06 PM

        I have a question. actually I’m graduating this august but I failed in one subject because of that is not a good reason , now I’m graduating in dec 17th 2016 but I am on OPT(EAD card) right now(started on sep 3rd).(I have 60 days to do so, which ends in December 3rd but I still have not found a job.
        so I don’t have any idea to do for 90 days period update.

        • Raghuram Sukumar on September 28, 2016 at 8:01 AM

          Talk to your DSO or an Attorney. Make sure you don’t stay unemployed beyond 90 days in OPT.

  16. DenisFlux on August 4, 2014 at 5:40 PM

    Hi , i’m a student of Finance in Italy and , before or after my degree ( i have to take a decision ) i want to move to New York for study Film and Video for a little period at maximum one semester. so will am i eligible for OPT ? 🙂

    • Raghuram Sukumar on August 4, 2014 at 6:32 PM

      What visa would you come to USA?

      • DenisFlux on August 5, 2014 at 6:23 AM

        With F1 ’cause i wanna follow some courses in School of Visual Arts in New York , but i can’t understand the minimum time for being eligible for OPT , for example if i’ll make a course of two weeks or one months , can i apply for OPT ? or there is a minimum time before i can apply for OPT? ( i really would to make an entire year there but the courses cost too much )

        • Raghuram Sukumar on August 5, 2014 at 11:37 AM

          OPT is available only after you graduate from the degree. You can try for CPT to work as intern.

          • DenisFlux on August 5, 2014 at 5:29 PM

            So if i graduate here in Italy how can i work legally there in US if i can’t find an Employer?
            There is some way that i can take ?
            because it seems very difficult for work there without an employer …



          • Raghuram Sukumar on August 6, 2014 at 11:01 AM

            You need work authorization to work in USA under F1 visa. I know its tough.



          • DenisFlux on August 7, 2014 at 4:45 AM

            Thank you very much you are very kind 🙂



          • Guest on August 7, 2014 at 4:47 AM

            thank you very much , you are very kind 🙂



  17. guest4 on August 4, 2014 at 10:17 AM

    I have an approved OPT card, a new valid I-20 but do not have a valid US visa. I travel extensively within the USA suing my state ID. I intend on travelling to Hawaii and/or Alaska. Would I have a problem?

  18. Husam on August 2, 2014 at 6:12 AM

    Is it possible to apply for STEM extension while I didn’t receive my MS diploma yet?

  19. Liyah on July 30, 2014 at 9:41 PM

    Hi
    I graduated with a Finance degree and I currently work for New York Life as a Financial Advisor. Is that considered to be a part of STEM? I am not sure that I can get a sponsorship from the company. What should I do?? What are my options to stay here and work if any??

  20. lostandfound on July 22, 2014 at 2:31 PM

    Hi! I finished my masters this year and got my OPT in July (EAD card), but I still have not found a job (I have 90 days to do so, which ends in September) but I am actively looking and it is advanced process. I would like to go for holidays abroad in August for a week to catch some breath. Would I have problems to re-enter?

    • Raghuram Sukumar on July 22, 2014 at 5:24 PM

      I wouldn’t advise to travel in OPT even with a job. Without a ob, forget it. What is important – losing 7 days of your 90 day period in OPT or vacation + risk not not being allowed to enter USA.

    • atmuri on September 27, 2016 at 5:05 PM

      I have a question. actually I’m graduating this august but I failed in one subject because of that is not a good reason , now I’m graduating in dec 17th 2016 but I am on OPT(EAD card) right now(started on sep 3rd).(I have 60 days to do so, which ends in December 3rd but I still have not found a job.
      so I don’t have any idea to do for 90 days period update.

  21. chandana on July 19, 2014 at 5:14 PM

    Hi all! I graduated with my masters degree in summer 2013 & I am on OPT right now and will be applying for the extension soon. My F1 VISA expired in Aug 2013. My OPT extension will be valid till March 2016. Now, I want to travel India for a 4-6weeks vacation. I would like to know what do I have to do so that I can re-enter into USA without any problem. My employer will file H1B in April 2015.

    • Raghuram Sukumar on July 21, 2014 at 11:39 AM

      You need to attend visa interview for passport stamping. Check if you qualify for visa waiver, if not then attend interview. Travel during OPT always has its risks. Take all required documents.

  22. Anthony on July 17, 2014 at 12:40 PM

    Hi everyone. I hope you are doing well. I am currently on OPT with an oil and gas company in Houston. I am within the first 4 months of OPT and the company would not be filing for an H1-B visa for me until April 2015. Do you know whether I can go offshore to Gulf of Mexico with the company while on OPT? and if so what do I need to do to be able to make this happen? Thanks.

    • Raghuram Sukumar on July 17, 2014 at 3:46 PM

      You have to consult an attorney for this. Is it within U.S. waters or international waters?

  23. NINE on July 9, 2014 at 7:57 PM

    Hi Raghuram
    I am on H4 Planning to Do my Ms ,
    1 )I Got one Consultancy person He said he wiil get admission in one of Universtiy with out gre or Tofel.
    Is it Possible to get admission without gre and tofel .

    2) asking to pay 4500$ for collage at a time and 1000$ for the Conversion of H4 to F1 status
    3) He said he will give cpt also and said he will apply for the h1b .
    4) I am good at sap abap with WebDynpro..
    5) he said he will Show some Opportunities to attend interivew on sap .and pLACE in some companies

    MY QUESTION IS ALL THIS ARE POSSIBLE.! IF NOT GIVE ME SUGGESTIONS . WHAT IMPORTANT THING I NEED TO ASK HIM
    WHAT ARE GOOD AND BAD IN THE ABOVE POINTS

  24. Jai on June 23, 2014 at 8:10 PM

    Hi, I have a question for which I couldn’t find an answer. Currently I have a masters and I will complete my 12 month OPT, I do not have STEM. I plan to do a PhD which is a STEM major. Will I get STEM extension after my
    Phd? Thanks!!

  25. ba on June 19, 2014 at 6:13 PM

    I did not receive my OPT. Its been more than 90 days. what should I do and when would I be considered out of status and what should I do to avoid it? Thank you!

  26. Anna123 on May 31, 2014 at 5:29 PM

    Hi, sone school say that you have to be on f1 for two consecutive semester and some say you need to be on f1 at the time of applying for opt. Does this vary from school to school, I am on h4 and planning to convert my visa to f1 to apply for opt, but my school says that I don’t need to be on f1 for one full year to be able to apply for opt. Please help me with this doubt.

    Thanks

    • Raghuram Sukumar on June 2, 2014 at 11:50 AM

      That is correct. Rules vary by school but most schools follow the above policy.

      • Anna123 on June 2, 2014 at 10:06 PM

        Thanks Sukumar, so if my university is ready to provide me with i20 without one full year on f1 restriction, should it cause any problem from uscis people, I mean do they see the date I received my f1 visa.

  27. Puja Verma on May 21, 2014 at 2:29 PM

    Hi, I am an MCA from India and on H4 in US currently? Are there some short term courses also through which F1 can be obtained?

    • Raghuram Sukumar on May 21, 2014 at 3:40 PM

      F1 will come only for full degree.

      • Puja Verma on May 21, 2014 at 4:20 PM

        Thank you for your information.
        Can’t I work online in any case being on H4 if it is not possible to do a degree course.

        • Raghuram Sukumar on May 21, 2014 at 5:04 PM

          Online courses don’t give F1 visa.

          • Puja Verma on May 21, 2014 at 5:08 PM

            But can’t I work and earn in any way. I can’t get an F1 because I can’t join a university.



          • anand101092 on May 10, 2015 at 11:33 AM

            how do i contact you? Needed some guidance regarding H1B and OPT. Thanks



          • Raghuram Sukumar on May 12, 2015 at 7:39 AM

            ​You can send an email via contact form https://www.happyschools.com/contact/



  28. Scud on May 15, 2014 at 12:23 PM

    What is the minimum salary provided during OPT?
    What are the possibilities of OPT in the field of Hospitality and Tourism ?

  29. nd on April 11, 2013 at 2:55 PM

    I have a question. I will be graduating on May 11 2013. i want to attend my sis wedding on may 29th in India and comeback to US. My OPT date starts on july3. I am planning to stay for 3 weeks in India. What options do i have regarding this.? and what are my chances in coming back to US without any problem. Did anyone face this type of situation.Please help.
    Thank You

  30. Ritesh on March 19, 2013 at 7:13 PM

    Can I get the OPT extension of 17 months after the 12 month OPT without valid visa at the period of extension?
    I am a STEM major.

  31. Pearl on February 27, 2013 at 8:32 PM

    Hi,
    I’m currently doing MBA on H4 visa and planning to graduate in Dec 2013. I was planning to do a COS to F1 starting Fall 2013 so that I can get OPT upon graduation in Dec. But when I spoke to my university, they said, in order to receive OPT on graduating, I should be on F1 visa for at least 2 semesters. How far is this information true? Please advice is there any other way I can get OPT upon completion.

    Thanks
    Pearl

    • HSB Counselor on February 28, 2013 at 2:26 AM

      Hi,
      Yes that is true. You need to complete one academic year or two semesters before applying for an OPT.

      • n on February 28, 2013 at 7:29 PM

        Not true. AS per USCIS we do not necesarily need to be on F-1 status for two semesters. Most schools don’t know this. All USCIS needs is ful-time registration over the last two semester unless it is the student’s final semester in which case you can just take whatever is left.

        I’m not sure how I can post the document here but there is a document by nafsa that outlines this statement very clearly. All you need is full-time enrolment. Some schools are strict that they need you to be on F-1 but you can talk to them about this.

        Good Luck

        • Raghuram Sukumar on February 28, 2013 at 8:23 PM

          http://www.ufic.ufl.edu/iss/currentF1studentsOPT-FAQ.html

          This rule is implemented by your school and their interpretation is that matters.

        • Raghuram Sukumar on February 28, 2013 at 8:23 PM

          You can paste the link to the document here in comments.

          • n on February 28, 2013 at 8:47 PM

            Please google for
            ” p in practical training nafsa”

            It should be the first link that comes up in the result. I cannot paste the link because the link is actually a document(as opposed to a webpage).

            And Yes, it is the school that has final discretion on the USCIS interpretation but I believe she/he can talk to the school based on this document.



          • Pearl on February 28, 2013 at 10:00 PM

            Thanks very much. I found the document.



          • n on February 28, 2013 at 10:26 PM

            Great, I believe the information that you need is on the second or third page.
            This is the exact statement : “An F-1 student need not have been specifically in F-1 status for 9 months, provided he or she was lawfully
            enrolled as a full-time student at a service-approved
            school in another nonimmigrant status that does not
            prohibit full-time study (INS Operations Instructions
            214.2(f)(14)(ix))”.

            Enjoy, Good Luck.
            Do update us on what your DSO says because it will help future students.



          • Pearl on April 5, 2013 at 4:44 AM

            Hi,

            I spoke to my school DSO regarding my visa situation and OPT eligibility upon completion and also sent them the link to the NAFSA document. After careful consideration they said I’m ELIGIBLE for OPT when I graduate in Dec 2013 since I was enrolled as a full-time student for the past one year although not on f1 visa.

            A recap of the rule – “An F-1 student need not have been specifically in F-1 status for one full academic year, provided he or she was lawfully enrolled as a full-time student at a service approved school in another non immigrant status that does not prohibit full-time study (INS Operations Instructions 214.2(f)(14)(ix)) “.

            Good luck to all those students who are in a similar situation like mine.

            -Pearl



          • Pearl on February 28, 2013 at 10:07 PM


  32. ne on February 10, 2013 at 3:13 PM

    Hi,

    Can we apply for a F-1 new stamp at home country if we are on F-1 OPT status with a valid EAD card and a job offer/job in progress?

    I might have to travel after my graduation and I won’t be able to re-enter because my visa has expired(however, my status is still F-1). So I was thinking of travel after receiving the OPT card and a job offer?

  33. Bumble on January 31, 2013 at 9:59 AM

    Hi Raghu and every member
    Thank you for helping clueless people like me.
    My question is reagding OPT.
    I’m currently a full time student enrolled for Spring 2013.
    I’m on H4 visa. And i’m going to apply for change of status to F1.
    So i’ll be on F1 visa for Fall 2013.
    How soon am i eligible for OPT?
    Should i been on F1 for 2 semesters for getting OPT?
    Please let me know.
    Thank you for your time and valuable advice.
    Bumble.

    • HSB Counselor on February 1, 2013 at 5:10 AM

      You can study on H4 status but in order to be eligible for OPT, you should be on F1 status and should have completed an year as a full time student with the University you are enrolled to. I would suggest to get the change of status done soon to have sufficient time spent in this visa status to be eligible to apply for OPT.
      Good Luck!

      • Bumble on February 1, 2013 at 4:37 PM

        Thank you for the reply. I just 1 more question. Should i be on F1 throughout the full time period? Or can i be on H4 for one semester and then be on F1 for the next and apply for OPT after that?

        • HSB Counselor on February 2, 2013 at 4:23 AM

          You can study on H4 visa status. Just make sure that you complete at least 9 months as a full time student which makes on academic year in order to apply for OPT.

  34. Karthik on January 24, 2013 at 10:21 PM

    Is it possible to do Internship during OPT ?

  35. lpy on January 22, 2013 at 7:37 PM

    Hi,

    I am currently on OPT and will expire by the end of this month. I have decided to stay back in US, therefore extending my OPT for another 17 months. But the moment I made up my mind on staying back, it was already in the mid December. So I applied and there were some bumps but I managed to sort it out. It was probably around mid on Jan. And by that time I mailed out my application to USCIS, it was maybe one or one and half week before my OPT ends. Some of my friends told me it will be okay since I am extending my OPT and as long as my application is received by USCIS before the deadline. But still, it did not put my mind at ease. Is this going to affect my application?

  36. Shal on January 16, 2013 at 8:11 PM

    I have applied for OPT on Oct 28th 2012 and till date it shows its in initial reveiw. I am worried that it will take full 90 days its been already 75 Days. What should I do if it takes more than 90 days ?
    Can you let me know if you have any idea what is OPT trending date for this time frame same as mine ?

  37. Amit on January 13, 2013 at 1:07 PM

    Hi,
    I am on L1 visa and have enrolled for an MBA program. Can I straightaway apply for OPT after 12 months of study being on an L1 visa or is it mandatory to be on F1 visa before applying for OPT. Please advice.

    Thanks
    Amit

  38. Rohit Asawa on December 23, 2012 at 3:40 AM

    Hello, My Post – OPT expires in may 2013 and my F-1 visa expires in August 2013.

    Say, i get a 17-month stem extension from May 2013 and i travel to India during Dec 2013, so for re- entering, will i again need to give an visa interview ?

    If, i have to give visa interview, what would be appropriate… having a 17 month extension or H-1B ??

    Please help.
    Thanks,
    Rohit

  39. Venky Arun on December 22, 2012 at 8:44 AM

    Respected Sir/Mam,

    Had a request ! need some clarification on the below.

    I’m currently in the US on OPT (that expires on 7/5/2013) on my F-1 visa (expires on 5/2015), I also have the H1B approved to start from (Oct 1st 2012) – (currently has my visa status changed just by the approval of H1B ? or is still the same – F1 ? On the I 797 the only thing that was mentioned was the approval and nothing about the COS).

    I need to go to India for a marriage in the family in Jan 2013. Can I
    travel on OPT and enter back into the US without getting my visa changed ? Or is it a must that – in order to enter back in the US I need to have the H1B visa stamped.

    I also read the following that the moment your H1B is approved and becomes active (1st October 2012 in my case), your F1 visa becomes no longer valid as you cannot have 2 visa’s at the same time, is that true ?

    Please could you send some light on the above.

    I sincerely appreciate your help in this regard,

    Thank you,

    Venky

    • Mandava on December 22, 2012 at 8:51 PM

      While your OPT valid, You can travle,but carry your employer letter that you are presently working with them.

      Mandava.

      • Venky Arun on December 23, 2012 at 12:01 AM

        But in my case my H1B is approved and scheduled to start from Oct 1st 2012….. Can i still travel on OPT ?

  40. srikanth on December 19, 2012 at 12:18 PM

    Hello,

    I am on OPT.I started working full time in last week on November 2012.I have an e-verified employer.I have to go to India in first week of may for 20 days.My OPT will end on June 25th 2013.I will apply for extension in march 2013. will there be any problem while coming back from India on OPT.Is there any specific documents or letters we need to carry with us. or is it good If I apply for H1-B in April 2013 and go to India if I get my H1.I am planning to apply for H1 in 2014 April. lease give any idea which is better to apply in 2013 or 2014.

    Thanks,
    Srikanth

    • Raghuram Sukumar on December 19, 2012 at 2:40 PM

      Traveling in OPT is always risky. Consult your immigration attorney.

  41. Irfan Mohammed on November 12, 2012 at 12:22 PM

    hello i have a question

    i am graduating in may 2013 and my f-1 visa also expiring in may 2013,, can i go back to india in dec 2012 and cme bak in jan 2013

    and i am joining consultancy in jan 2013 soo when can i start applying for opt
    can i stay back here even after my f-1 visa expires????????//////
    please help me regarding these?????///

  42. vani on November 7, 2012 at 12:43 PM

    Hi, I am a graduate student and planning to go to India and return to U.S. after my graduation. And my situation is as follows

    1. I will be graduating this December 2012.
    2. I have an EAD card, and my start date on the card is from 4th Feb 2013. ( I had already been approved and received my EAD card)
    3. I have an employment offer with a start date 14th February 2013 and currently working as an intern for the same company ( working as an intern from past 5months for the same company and my CPT ends on 20th Dec 2012)
    4. I have a valid visa until 2016 and a valid Passport.
    5. In addition to an employment offer I can get a letter from the company stating to allow me to re-enter U.S so that I can return and start as a full time employee there ( as I am currently working as an intern there).

    So my question is , is it safe to travel out of U.S after my graduation and return after my OPT start date (i.e after 4th Feb 2013) and before my full time employment starts (i.e before 14th feb 2013). ??

    Can anyone please let me know how safe is to travel in my case? and what do you advise??? I am very confused what to do.. I already booked my tickets but now i am in a state where i am not able to decide if its safe to travel or not.

  43. sandy on October 21, 2012 at 10:41 PM

    hi all i would like to know that- A student CANNOT apply for OPT if:
    The student is enrolled in an intensive English-language or certificate program.is it true or not please provide me the information how to pbtain opt if they doesnt accep
    t it

  44. mallikarjun on October 11, 2012 at 4:36 PM

    i LEFT u.s WHILE MY OPT EXTENSION IS IN PROCESSING. MY OPT EXTENSION GOT APPROVED EVEN WHEN I LEFT U.S. NOW I CAME BACK TO U.S. THEY DID NOT ASK ME FOR OPT EXTENSION CARD. THEY JUST ASKED ME FOR I-20 AND PASSPORT.

  45. Vignesh Ethayarajan on October 1, 2012 at 8:52 AM

    Hi,
    I recently completed my Masters degree and have joined a full time position in an e-verified company. I would like to travel to India now. I have my EAD card valid till March 2013 and F-1 Visa valid till 2015. Is it safe to travel to India? If so, what documents would I need. to be allowed re-entry to the USA. I also heard that I need to get a signature from my International Advisor as well. Is this necessary?

  46. Abhijit Kulkarni on September 10, 2012 at 2:21 PM

    Hi,
    Is a student eligible to apply for OPT-extension when the current employer is not E-verified but the previous employer was E-verified? How long does it for an employer to become E-verified? I work for Halliburton (>55000 employees) which, to my greatest surprise, does not participate in E-verify?

  47. saya on September 9, 2012 at 10:18 AM

    Hi I have a question
    I know that you have to inform to your international office after you find a job. My question is that what’s the purpose of it? Do they put it in somewhere? And do they call the company and make sure if you are really working?
    Thank you.

  48. Yasser on September 5, 2012 at 1:26 AM

    Hi
    Im a MBA student I m graduating in this semester FALL2012.

    I really would to obtain an OPT visa so I can work and get experience here before go home. But I dont know how to find a job and what is the expected salary I will get ?
    I have 2 years experience in banking. Plus I do have an Arabic Language

  49. priya on August 30, 2012 at 11:10 AM

    Hi…….I am gonna graduate by the end of june 2013 and planning to start my opt from august.However my grad walk would be in september. can i plan a visit to india in the month of july and re-enter us?

    • Kirty on August 30, 2012 at 11:18 AM

      It is better to visit India once U have your OPT card and new I-20 in your hand. Many of my friends traveled like this and no one had any problem.

      • priya on August 30, 2012 at 12:43 PM

        thanku so much could u pls provide me an idea of the questions they faced at the port of entry

  50. Ashwin on August 20, 2012 at 7:08 PM

    Hello,

    I graduated in May 2012 & My Opt started on july 4th 2012. My DL will be expiring by the end of AUG 2012. Can any one plz tell me how to renew my DL?

  51. MARCO VITALE on August 15, 2012 at 2:04 PM

    HELLO,
    I ve an OPT , thats gonna expire in the middle of October 2012.
    I m planning to travel in Europe for the first couple weeks of September and then come back to USA.
    Can i have any problem at the USA Custom….coz when i ll back i have only 1 months before my visa expires ???

    • Rajan on December 2, 2012 at 1:23 PM

      Hi Marco, did you travel? I have a similar situation and would really appreciate if you share your experience.

  52. Ash on August 13, 2012 at 12:45 PM

    Hi , I have done my Masters from Pennsylvania University and I am in my OPT( expires Jan 2013), I came back to my country after completing my internship . Is there a necessity to inform the USCIS abt my immigration bak to my homeland?
    Also I have a student Visa for 5 yrs , I am plannin to take up another course nxt year from the same university , I20 with a valid F1 visa is that al I need, to reneter US ? Kindly reply.

  53. tserin on August 9, 2012 at 12:56 PM

    I came to the u.s with an f1 visa which is valid till 2014. my opt ends on sept, and i intend to study further and use my time in the u.s till 2014. However, I am not enrolled for any class currently. Does that mean I am illegal?

  54. Diana on July 28, 2012 at 10:12 PM

    Hello all,

    I’m currently doing an internship in a company while on my OPT, which expires in February 2013 and, since I studied a master in business, I´m not eligible to get a STEM extension.

    The company where I’m doing the internship wants to sponsor me for a H1 visa, but the cap for 2013 applications was filled couple of weeks ago. And applications for 2014 H1 visas won’t start until April 2013. Therefore, after February 2013 I will already be out of status.

    What can I do in order to stay legally authorized to work in the country after my OPT expires? I read there’s a possibility of extending your stay in the us through the I-539 application but I don’t kow if it is applicable to my situation.

    Can somebody help me?

  55. Blanche on July 28, 2012 at 9:17 PM

    Can I avail of the “work from home” option for OPT if all my work can be done online, and my employer is agreeable to this?

  56. Zubair on July 24, 2012 at 4:10 PM

    Hi,

    what is the minimum and max time taken by USCIS to process the Filed OPT 17 months STEM extension. I am not concerned about initial 12 months of OPT but about 17 months of OPT extension.

    Any one please let me know how many days it took you people to receive your new 17months STEM extended OPT card.

    Thanks

  57. Melih Ozturk on July 23, 2012 at 5:38 PM

    Hello everyone,

    I have a question regarding my situation. I am planning to graduate in next year, probably in August. I will be graduating from MBA and I have a Computer Engineer title as a bachelor. If I find a job related with my bachelor, am I still able to extend my OPT to stay here in United States ?

    I know that my OPT will be based on the degree I am in now because the OPT follows my graduation. So it will be for my MBA.But;
    My other question is, let’s say the IT company wants to hire me immediately after I graduate as software developer, and they say they would be sponsor for my visa change.(from F1 to H1B) Is that means still I can’t work with them because I would be a new MBA graduate ?

  58. RS on July 12, 2012 at 9:24 AM

    What does being unemployed means? If I do have an offer starting at a later time am I still unemployed?

    I want to accept a job offer but the first day of work would be the 92nd day since the beginning of my OPT. Does this mean that I accumulate 91 days of unemployment and I break the conditions of my OPT? I am going to accept the offer and announce the university’s official about this one month before the OPT deadline is reached.

    I am also in a STEM field, so I was thinking a solution would be to apply for a STEM extension in order to make sure everything is fine if I go 1 day over the 90 days.

    • HSB on July 12, 2012 at 9:42 AM

      You need to be actively working. Talk your school DSO, to avoid problems in your status.

      You must be employed by the 90th day after the start date listed on your EAD Card. The total number of days allowed for unemployment while on post-completion OPT is a maximum of 90 days.

  59. Rushika on July 12, 2012 at 3:44 AM

    @HSB – Where does the H1 come into this whole picture? When we graduate, if we have an employer who can file H1 for us, do you suggest to file the H1 and continue working on OPT till the H1 gets confirmed? If not, what do we do?

  60. Ankit Patel on June 28, 2012 at 2:30 AM

    Hey Right now I am on my 12 months OPT which started from October 2011 and will be ended on October 2012. But now my problem is I planed to graduate in this summer but because of some thesis problem I wont and I am going to graduate in December 2012. So here my question is in the case if I will graduate in December 2012 am I eligible for OPT extension without graduation ,also is it possible to eligible for OPT extension that I complete all my thesis related tasks and all before October 2012 (before my OPT will expired)?
    Please guide me with this.

  61. Gem on June 20, 2012 at 10:31 PM

    Must opt employment be full time (40 hours per week) or can it be part time (around 20 hours)?

    • HSB on June 20, 2012 at 10:58 PM

      It can be part time.

  62. Dapo on May 30, 2012 at 11:09 PM

    Is it possible to submit the OPT extension a few days after the EAD card expiration? Financial problems prevented me from submitting my application for the extension prior to the EAD deadline.

  63. Kapeel on May 30, 2012 at 2:42 PM

    I applied for OPT Extension on March 12 2012. My 1st OPT period is coming to end on June 12 2012. I have just couple of weeks before my OPT expires, I am a little concerned as the online status on still says under initial review. Do USCIS issuse a temporary EAD card????

  64. KAY on May 28, 2012 at 8:11 AM

    Please, has anybody traveled while on OPT ? Kindly share your experience

  65. akib on May 15, 2012 at 2:52 AM

    In all my academic documents my name is MD. AKIBUL ISLAM. but making a machine readable passport in our country there is no short form could be written. so my name is in passport and IELTS certificate is MOHAMMAD AKIBUL ISLAM. So is it a major problem to get the student visa???

    • Maqdum on June 4, 2012 at 10:35 PM

      Absolutely no problem with your name in regards to get your visa. This is the same case with me also. I had my visa approved & Alhamdulillah I’m happy in US now on F1.

  66. akib on May 15, 2012 at 2:51 AM

    In all my academic documents my name is MD. AKIBUL ISLAM. but making a machine readable passport in our country there is no short form could be written. so my name is in passport and IELTS certificate is MOHAMMAD AKIBUL ISLAM.. So is it a major problem to get the student visa???

  67. Nick on April 30, 2012 at 9:15 PM

    Hello, I have a question regarding OPT extension. I have completed my masters in chemistry last fall. I was on OPT till now still looking for jobs. My OPT will expire in August. I’m planning to do MBA. Can I apply for OPT extension after completing my MBA? Could you please help me figure out this problem!!

    • Maqdum on June 4, 2012 at 10:36 PM

      Hi Nick,

      You cannot apply for OPT extension once you exhausted with 12 months initially. MBA does’nt qualify under STEM Program.

  68. mike on April 27, 2012 at 3:57 AM

    My STEM Extension (29 months) and the current job are expiring in June.
    If I do not have a job offer, what are the options I have to stay in the US after June?
    Can I apply for a visitors visa?
    Do I get a grace period after the 29 months expired period?

  69. mandy on April 20, 2012 at 8:29 PM

    I just graduated from college with AA degree and just got my OPT card. but I could only find server’s position. Can I use my opt for that or no? my major is Business Administration. Thank you

  70. Harpreet on April 6, 2012 at 11:33 PM

    Hi I am student in kansas ,usa. In month of may my first sem. will end and i am planing to go to philadelphia in my relatives house for summer break(3 months) . will you please tell me that can i work there or not ?

    • HSB on April 7, 2012 at 9:10 AM

      Nope, unless you have CPT approved for Internship.

    • kanav mahajan on May 28, 2012 at 1:59 PM

      are you the guy from phagwara………….?

  71. swetha on April 5, 2012 at 7:36 PM

    Thanks for sharing!!!! Very helpful!!!!!

  72. DA on March 28, 2012 at 10:09 PM

    Can i get an OPT on an Associates Degree or Post Associates Degree?

  73. KIREETI on March 19, 2012 at 11:55 AM

    HI Guys,

    I am doing my Master’s program, will be graduating in August 2012 and my Visa expires on May 2013. As I will get my OPT for 12 months, will I be able to work here even if my Visa expires in my OPT period and also for y extension.
    Thanks and Appreciate your Help,

    Kireeti

  74. Harish on March 16, 2012 at 8:30 PM

    I will be graduating in this december 2012 , can I go to India on Opt,any risk involved

    • HSB on March 16, 2012 at 8:57 PM

      Yes if you don’t have job offer. Days will count toward 90 days unemployment.

  75. Mohammadi on March 14, 2012 at 9:10 AM

    Hi

    I have a doubt is MBA comes under STEM ..

  76. Vishal on March 10, 2012 at 2:40 AM

    I have option of extending my OPT for another 17 month or apply for H-1B visa (academic). Advice me on using my OPT extension vs going for H-1B visa. Thank you.

  77. Amod on February 3, 2012 at 1:13 AM

    Hey,

    If someone can help with this, I would indeed be very grateful. I’m applying for a masters in information systems program for Fall 2012. This i guess comes under STEM, however, I was wondering if an MBA in information systems comes under STEM as well.

    I read somewhere on HSB that this applies only for Bachelors, Masters and P.HDs.

    Thanks and Regards

  78. rahul on January 23, 2012 at 12:43 PM

    Hi, I applied for opt extension and got the receipt number on 01/23/2011. I am planning to travel to india on feb 25th and come back on mar 20th. Will there be any problem if i dont get my approval before approval. Thanks

    • Amzee on August 9, 2012 at 5:33 PM

      Rahul, did you travel on OPT and return without any problems? Did you have to apply for a new F1 visa?

      Please advise.

  79. Rakib on January 23, 2012 at 9:37 AM

    Thanks for the information. They were really helpful. 🙂

  80. Siddhesh Parkhi on January 4, 2012 at 2:48 AM

    Hello All,

    I am on OPT right now!! I have travel Plans to India. can I travel to India and come back??
    I was informed by some of my friends that immigration officer may reject the reentry to US.
    Please let me know all details and facts. I am currently Employed.

  81. Kranti on December 28, 2011 at 6:07 PM

    Thanks for sharing…!!

  82. Rakesh Singh on December 28, 2011 at 3:12 PM

    good information about OPT

  83. Nav on December 27, 2011 at 12:37 PM

    Can you also give information on what are the requirements for a company to sponsor H1b? Can any company meeting STEM requirement sopnsor H1b visa?

    Thanks
    Nav

    • Diana on July 28, 2012 at 10:09 PM

      Hello all,

      I’m currently doing an internship in a company while on my OPT, which expires in February 2013 and, since I studied a master in business, I´m not eligible to get a STEM extension. So my

      My problem is the company where I’m doing the internship wants to sponsor me for a H1 visa, but the cap for 2013 applications was filled couple of weeks ago. And applications for 2014 H1 visas won’t start until April 2013. Therefore, after February 2013 I will already be out of status.

      What can I do in order to stay legally authorized in the country after my OPT expires? I read there’s a possibility of extending your stay in the us through the I-539 application but I don’t kow if it is applicable to my situation.

      Can somebody help me?

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