Can you travel outside the US while on STEM OPT Extension?

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  4. Can you travel outside the US while on STEM OPT Extension?

Short Answer: Yes.

What to Consider:

  1. Is your F-1 Visa stamp Valid?
  2. Do you need to attend visa interview?
  3. Do you have a job?
  4. Did you violate your status while on F-1 or any other previous visa status?
  5. Can you gather all the required documents for re-entry?
  6. Is your job related to your degree?
  7. Are you working as consultant at 3rd party site?
  8. Does your employment meet the rules of STEM OPT?
  9. Would you be able to answers the questions at the port of entry by CBP officer?

What’s stated in the STEM OPT Rule – [81 FR 13103 par. 774]

Students on STEM OPT extensions (including those whose application for a STEM OPT extension is pending) may travel abroad and seek reentry to the United States in F-1 status during the STEM OPT extension period if they have a valid F-1 visa that permits multiple entries?and a current Form I-20 Certificate of Eligibility endorsed for reentry by the DSO within the last six months. The student’s status is determined by CBP upon admission to the United States or through a USCIS adjudication of a change-of-status petition.

For re-entry to the U.S. with STEM OPT application, you should carry:

  • STEM OPT I-20 signed by your DSO
  • USCIS Approval Notice for STEM OPT application
  • EAD Card
  • Proof of employment
    • Employment Verification Letter
    • Recent Pay Stubs (3 months)
    • Offer Letter
  • Valid passport
  • Valid F-1 visa (unless you are eligible for automatic visa validation)

And here is a detailed discussion at about travel during OPT.


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