> Following post was shared by Kollu.
Most of us aware of many rules involved while on OPT and extended OPT.
I want to share my experience and troubles I faces while extending my OPT.
OPT and Internship
I got an internship opportunity when I was in the 3rd semester of my Masters. I did not get CPT approved ( CPT Guide ) as I was enrolled in Thesis option. I was not ready to let go the opportunity. So took a step ahead and applied for post-completion OPT (as I was done with all my course work and to be able to work 40hrs even when school is in session) on the approval from my adviser. Things went smooth and got my OPT approved within 20days of my application and I started my Internship.
Time passed by and I got the internship renewed for one more year. At the same time I started looking for full time position and also worked on my thesis in parallel during evenings and weekends. There was no scope for a full time position at the company where I was interning because the min. qualification is Ph.d.
There came the time to apply for OPT extension for which the requirement is to have degree certificate or atleast a letter of proof from the school stating we met all the degree requirements and will be graduating by the time OPT extension period starts. By squeezing my thesis work and my work hours in my daily routine, I managed to defend my thesis in time.
Worked it out with international services department and my department chair at School to get the letter of proof and sent out the packet to USCIS 20 days before my OPT expiration date expecting everything else to work fine as I started working from day 1 of my OPT in my core field.
I continued working even after the expiration of the OPT period as we can continue working for up to 180 days beyond the expiration of the prior post-completion OPT.
I attended several phone-screens and was invited for onsite interviews for a full time position. Things worked out and grabbed the position. I was so happy that everything was working in my favor beyond my expectations.
OPT and Full time Job to H1B
Based on my husband’s suggestion joined the full time job within 15days (which I did not like initially but realized as a wise decision later). Submitted all the required paper work to my employer to file for H1b. A week after I joined my new employer, I received a letter from USCIS which I thought was OPT approval but it happened to be a rejection letter. This happened in the last week of March (A week before my employer filed my h1b).
OPT Extension Rejection
I was so shocked to see that. The reason for rejection was “CIP code not eligible for OPT extension”. I wondered what is this CIP code and what it has to do with my extension. Then learned that it is the code which USCIS looks to determine if we belong to STEM category or not. It exists on the 2nd page of I20 (at top left corner).
When I looked closely at my I20 I noticed that it’s a clerical error made by my school.
Instead of electrical and computer engineering they had it as Electrical technology. My first page of I20 said ECE, my transcripts said ECE and letter from chair said ECE but USCIS is so blind to look at all of those.
They took the decision based on CIP code.
(Tired of typing now. Will continue as what happened later in my next article)