CBP – Port of Entry – STEM OPT Pending – Questions

I graduated from a STEM program in 2018, have an F1 visa (valid till 2022), have a full-time job. My EAD expired on 30th June 2019; the STEM extension application is under process, have received I797C. i20 issued in May 2019 says STEM extension “requested”. Went to India for a week and came back today. At JFK, the CBP officer checked SEVIS information and said unless the status in SEVIS is changed from “requested” to “approved” (for STEM extension), I am not allowed to stay in the country beyond 29th August (60 days from the expiry of EAD). I don’t see my new EAD coming anytime soon because the application was received in the end of May only

What Did CBP Officer Mean by That?

  • https://www.uscis.gov/…/extension-post-completion…
  • “If you file your STEM OPT extension application on time and your OPT period expires while your extension application is pending, we will automatically extend your employment authorization for 180 days. This automatic 180-day extension ceases once USCIS adjudicates your STEM OPT extension application.” This is what it says.
  •  I think it could be that you exited and reentered US while your STEM OPT application is pending. You could have avoided the travel, that’s what is recommended for pending EAD applications. Make sure to get it clarified with the DSO ASAP.
  •  I checked with my DSO and also my company’s attorney and they both said it is fine to leave the country while my STEM OPT application is pending. Company’s attorney advised carrying an employment confirmation letter. DSO said just having valid Visa and proper i20 was fine.


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