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24 months stem opt rule published

24 Months STEM OPT Rule Lawsuit Updates – Case Dismissed – April 19, 2017

Get the latest 17 Months STEM OPT Extension updates here. STEM OPT Extension rule  published in April 2008 by President George Bush Administration is Vacated by the Court. Related Articles on STEM OPT:

US District Court – STEM OPT Extension Timeline

  1. Aug 12, 2015 – Federal Court Vacates STEM OPT Extension Rule
  2. Sep 11, 2015 – White House Petition Reaches 100,000 Signatures
  3. Oct 2, 2015 – Rule Making Process ( see below the timeline)
  4. Dec 15, 2015 – Validity of current 17 Months STEM OPT extension  under Review
  5. Dec 22, 2015 – DHS asks the federal county for deadline extension till May 10, 2016
  6. Dec 24, 2015 – Court gave a deadline of Jan 11, 2016 for Wash Teach to respond to DHS.
  7. Jan 11, 2016 – Wash Tech replied asking the court to not grant the extension.
  8. Jan 15, 2016 – DHS responds to WashTech.
  9. Jan 19, 2016 – Waiting for court’s decision. What happens next?
  10. Jan 19, 2016 – Judge Orders Hearing at 3.00 PM EST on Jan 21. 2016
  11. Jan 21, 2016 – There’s no decision from the Judge after the Hearing.
  12. Jan 23, 2016 – Judge’s Extended the Deadline.
  13. Feb 5, 2016 – DHS Submits Final Rule to OMB.
  14. Mar 02, 2016 – OMB clears the rule.
  15. Mar 9, 2016 – STEM OPT Rule Text Published
  16. Mar 10, 2016 – Rule Published to Federal Register
  17. May 10, 2016 – 24 Months Rule becomes effective
  18. May 14, 2016 – District Court Judge dismisses the case as moot.
  19. June 17, 2016 – Wash Tech Filed a new lawsuit against the new 24 Months STEM OPT Rule.
  20. April 19, 2017 – Motion is denied (Court Order). STEM OPT Rule Survives!

What a ride. I hope this is the end.

STEM OPT Rule Making Timeline

  1. Oct 2, 2015 – DHS submits Proposed Rule to OMB for Approval  (Completed)
  2. Oct 14, 2015 – OMB Approves the Proposed Rule ( Completed )
  3. Oct 19, 2015 – Public Commenting on Rule Making Begins ( Completed )
  4. Nov 18, 2015 – Public Comment Period Ends (Completed)
  5. DHS reviews the comments to prepare the Final Rule (Completed)
  6. DHS submits the Final rule to OMB for Approval (Completed)
  7. OMB Reviews and Approves Final Rule (Completed)
  8. DHS Published the final Rule to Federal Register
  9. Date when Rule goes into Effect
  10. Case dismissed

STEM OPT Extension Updates

Here’s the timeline of events till date and progress made by DHS to implement the STEM OPT Extension Rule. There’s so many nervous folks who are expecting this rule to be implemented.

Mar 10, 2016

March 2, 2016

omb approved stem opt rules


  • Received Date: 02/05/2016
  • Title: Improving and Expanding Training Opportunities for F-1 Nonimmigrant Students with STEM Degrees and Cap-Gap Relief for All Eligible F-1 Students
  • Agency/Subagency: DHS / USICE
  • Stage: Final Rule
  • Concluded Date: 03/02/2016
  • Economically Significant: Yes
  • Expect DHS to publish to Rule Shortly in the federal register

Feb 5, 2016

  • DHS have submitted the Final Rule to OMB for Review and Approval. (Link)
  • The Rule is now Marked No for Economically Significant.
    • If Economically Significant = 60 Days delayed Implementation Date.
    • If Not Economically Significant = 30 Days Delayed Implementation Date
  • Watch this Video and this Video for more details.
  • I will try to get more details on this.

Jan 23, 2016

Here’s the Judge’s Oder. This just came in. Deadline is Extended.



Jan 21, 2016

  • Hearing was held today at 3 PM EST
  • No decision announced at the end of the hearing.
  • Judge heard the motion and taken under advisement.
  • In layman’s terms, “I heard you guys, now let me think about this and then issue an order.”

Jan 15, 2015

  • DHS  responds to Washington Tech. Link to Reply.
  • DHS is requesting the court to confirm if the current STEM OPT extension will remain valid.

Jan 12, 2015

  • Wash Tech Files motion requestion court to not respond ( Link to Motion Filed by Wash Tech )
  • It claims Dec 14, 2016 was deadline for DHS to have published the rule.

Some excerpt from the document that you  MUST Read:

“The Court gave DHS a six month delay to mitigate the effect of the vacatur order and DHS still has not bothered to notify those affected that aliens will not be able to work on OPT extensions after February 12, 2016 or told them what their options will be.”  (Page 14)

When DHS requested the Court stay vacatur, it clearly stated that aliens would not be able to work on OPT extensions after a vacatur and that, without such a stay, such aliens would have to “scramble to depart the United States (Page 15)

Same was explained by Attorney Murali Bashyam in this video on STEM OPT Extension News:


Dec 24, 2015 – Deadline Extension

  • DHS have requested Federal Count to extend Feb 12, 2016 deadline to May 10, 2016. ( DHS Federal Court Filing for Extension )
  • Video – What happens after Feb 12, 2016 deadline for students with STEM OPT Extension?
  • The Federal court should now decide if they would grant the extension of 3 months.
  • If an extension is granted ( much needed one), then DHS would have more time to review the comments and finalize the rule.slide

Dec 15, 2015 – Oops, Current STEM OPT – Undecided

  • Dec 9, 2015 (below) we got an update from AILA (American Immigration Lawyers Association) that current STEM OPT Extension will remain valid after Feb 12, 2016.
  • But, that’s not the case anymore. Here’s the update “no decision has yet been made that STEM optional practical training (OPT) employment authorization documents (EADs) will remain valid after February 12, 2016.” from

Dec 9, 2015 –  Current STEM OPT Extension Remains Valid

  • Nebraska Service Center confirmed to AILA that Current 17 Months STEM OPT Extension will be valid after Feb 12, 2016
  • If you already have STEM OPT Extension approved, it will remain valid beyond Feb 12, 2016
  • If you are eligible to apply for 17 Months STEM OPT Extension, then go ahead and apply for STEM OPT Extension. Now!

Oct 19 to Nov 18, 2015 – Comment Period

  • STEM OPT Proposed Rule Comment Period was between Oct 19 to Nov 18, 2015
  • Over 50,000 Comments were received during the 30 days commenting period.
  • Rule Implementation is not based on Number of Positive vs. Negative Comments

October 16, 2015 – Proposed Rule

Here’s the Actual Proposed Rule  Details – Original Text of the Rule

  • STEM OPT Extension – 17 to 24 months
  • Cap-Gap Relief
  • Employer should be e-Verify Eligible

October 14, 2015 – OMB Approved

OMB Approved the Proposed STEM OPT Extension rule in 12 Days. Here’s the link to RegInfo.Next Step: DHS to publish the Proposed Rule for Public Comments. Stay tuned!

omb approved stem opt proposed rule


October 2, 2015 – STEM Rule Making Begins

So, it begins. DHS have started the Rule Making Process for STEM OPT Extension. Watch the Video Below to Learn more about the Rule Making for STEM OPT Extension.

October 2, 2015 – Official Update

So, far there’s been no official update from DHS or USCIS or ICE about 17 Months STEM OPT Extension until today. Some form of official confirmation is better than no news right? Finally, there’s an official update from DHS. Refer to the attached screenshot below.What does the following update mean?

  • DHS is working on drafting a rule for STEM OPT Extension
  • As I told you before, Rule Making is a complex process. Be Patient.
  • There’s no timeline available on when this rule will be officially proposed.
  • We don’t know any details about the Rule.

September 16, 2015

Some comments are reported that USCIs is approving EAD only till Feb 12, 2015, instead of 17 Months OPT. Read the comments at Facts and Stats About STEM Optional Practical Training.

The New OPT extensions that are being issued after the court ruling are only valid until Feb 2016. Many of friends who’ve applied for an extension got their EAD’s Valid until Feb 2016. I wasn’t very much bothered about the revoking of OPT extension until now, because I always hoped that this situation would be fixed by feb 2016. But I’m really concerned now.

September 11, 2015

  • White House Petition reached 100,000 Signature and update was delivered for those who signed the petitions.
 August 23, 2015 – What’s Going to Happen Now?

We don’t have any official news about how they are going to handle STEM Optional Practical Training Extension cancelation.Questions remain if DHS will make use of this opportunity to extend the STEM OPT or Post-Completion OPT.

In the meantime, some signatures required to reach 100,000 for White House to respond has slowed Down.

You have to keep up spreading the word about White House Petition. There’s lot more than 100,000 people in OPT period and close to 800,000 international students studying in America now.

August 19, 2015 – DHS Memo

“Currently reviewing the ruling and will issue additional guidance in the “coming weeks on how this ruling impacts our stakeholders”. – DHS Memo

August 18, 2015 – New Appeal

Just when we thought what DHS could do now, Washington Alliance of Technology Workers filed an appeal against Department of Home Land Security on August 18, 2015.

“Notice is hereby given that Washington Alliance of Technology Workers, plaintiff in the above named case, hereby appeals to the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit from the final judgment entered in this action on the 12th day of August, 2015.”

What does that Mean:

  • Federal Judge had said that 12 Months OPT  is Valid.
  • 17 months OPT Rule is Vacated
  • Giving DHS an option to do Notice and Comment Rule Making process.

But, this appeal could challenge if DHS had the authority to create 17 Months STEM OPT Rule.

August 17, 2015

Here’s the latest STEM OPT Extension Updates for August 17, 2015. We are waiting for an official update from DHS or USCIS about their plan of Action for STEM OPT Extension.

White House will respond if we reach 100,000 Signatures before Sept 13, 2015.

August 13, 2015

Quick Overview about the Federal Court Ruling on STEM OPT Extension. This is the first update (before other copy cat website picked up the news).


  1. sravani L on February 3, 2017 at 1:19 PM

    Hi, My stem Extension application is pending with USCIS since 220 days ( more than 6 months). Even after raising several service requests, they just respond that ‘the case is in review with the officer and I would hear a decision withing 30 days or 60 days’ which never happened.
    My 180 day grace period of working after the initial opt expiration date would expire in 20 days. My school DSO asked me to discontinue my employment till I hear back from USCIS. Could someone help me what action can I take? Almost 10 lakh cases after me got their approvals.

    • Nani on March 6, 2017 at 5:25 PM

      Hi Sravani,

      Have you heard from USCIS?

  2. Shanshank on December 7, 2016 at 3:27 PM

    I’m working for Deloitte Full-time and have applied my STEM Extension and it is in process. Received my case number as well(Oct 13th 2016). And now i have got a very good opportunity which i cannot loose(E-verified). And they are asking me to join in December 19th. And they are not ready to move the start date. During this processing i need to change my employer. What would be the recommendation. What are precautions i need to take right now. I seen a lot of questions asked on the same, but i didn’t see the exact answer which could help. Can some one help me.

    My OPT expiry on DEC 12 2016. Applied Ext with current employer with 24 months and it is processing.

  3. Sri on November 3, 2016 at 4:57 PM

    Can student with EE MS Degree work as a FTE in software field??

  4. Venkat on October 10, 2016 at 8:46 PM

    I’m in my 24 month extension. Will working as a consultant pose any problem at the port of entry upon return?

  5. Kartika Garg on August 13, 2016 at 6:27 PM

    Hi Raghu,

    I am in a bad situation, as I am unemployed and on the opt 17-month extension. I am left with only 20 days of being unemployed in the US. I have an offer for the unpaid internship. I wanted to know if I can work unpaid on 17- month OPT extension in order to save my visa status. Please help me in this.

    Thank You

    • Raghuram Sukumar on August 13, 2016 at 11:32 PM

      As far I know unpaid work can be used for employment days provided you have the documents to prove work is related to your degree. I would Strongly suggest to talk to Murali to sort out the timeline, unemployment days count and what you have to provide as proof if USCIS asks in future.

  6. Rakesh on July 28, 2016 at 9:07 PM

    Hi ,

    I worked with employer at a client place from October,2015 to May 2016. My post completion 12 month OPT is expiring on 15th,September 2016. I do not have job/project with client from 1st June 2016. My employer is saying that he cannot apply for STEM Extension as I do not have project. So now I do not have project/job. Iam really in bad situation. Am i eligible to apply for stem-extension? I have very less time now to apply for stem extension.Please help me on this


  7. Swetha on July 28, 2016 at 5:00 PM

    Hi Raghu,

    I have applied for OPT extension for 17 months after May 10, I haven’t received my OPT card or RFE. Now, Can I change my employer and apply for 24 months extension after getting RFE(And my OPT status is expired on Jun 14). Can you help me please

  8. Gopinath Jayakumar on July 20, 2016 at 1:31 PM

    Hello, My 12-month OPT expired and I have applied for my 24-month OPT extension with an employer and my employment have been terminated by the same. I received the receipt from USCIS that my case was recieved, will my application for the extension be denied? If I have a new offer from different employer, will I be able to start my work immediately? Please help me out in answering these questions. Also advice what are the options to avoid not going beyond the 90 days of unemployment. Thanks!

  9. swetha on July 19, 2016 at 2:13 PM


    I have applied for OPT extension for 17 months on May 12, I haven’t received my OPT card or RFE. Now, I would like to change my employer and apply for 24 months extension. USCIS stated that Aug 8 th is last date for Extension. Right now, I haven’t received any card that dead line is coming. Can any one suggest me in this please.

    Thank you

  10. Andrey Namestnikov on July 12, 2016 at 7:58 PM

    I got my STEM EXTENSION authorization card (EAD) today. It was requested for 24 month. But it is saying that it expires in 12 month. Does anybody know what it means ? Do we have to make another extra 12 month request again next year ??

    • Raghuram Sukumar on July 12, 2016 at 9:02 PM

      Looks like you need to submit one more application towards end of 12 months for remainign 12 months (that’s $380 more).

      • Andrey Namestnikov on July 26, 2016 at 11:12 AM

        I read new STEM OPT rule and it says nothing about double petitioning (and extra 380$ cost). Probably it is USCIS mistake. Going to send them EAD back, requesting fixing it.

        • Gokul on July 30, 2016 at 6:53 PM

          Even I applied for the 24 month STEM OPT extension but I got extension only for 12 months. Do we have to apply again now or after a year?

  11. daksh on July 1, 2016 at 4:42 PM

    Hi Raghu,

    I got RFE for OPT extension. I sent my docs with 24-month I-20 to USCIS. I sent via USPS priority mail. Unfortunately, when i track my package, it shows still in transit. It’s been almost 15 days since i sent the package. But currently the status on USCIS updated to “my Correspondence Was Received And USCIS Is Reviewing It”. Does this mean that USCIS received my response and hence updated the status. I am worried because USPS website still says that my package is in transit.

    • Raghuram Sukumar on July 7, 2016 at 1:46 PM

      DonT USPS for sending such documents. FedEx or UPS.

  12. F1_STEM_OPT on June 27, 2016 at 7:03 PM

    This question is on a unique situation that arose because of the new STEM OPT extension rule this year and delay in the application process.

    Suppose a student applies for 24 Month STEM OPT extn and while his/her application is pending with USCIS, he/she gets laid off. Assuming that he/she is already past OPT period and working under 180 days granted by USCIS during which STEM OPT application is being processed, how much time will he/she get to find a new employment? Is it 90 days (from OPT) or 150=90+60 days (from OPT + STEM OPT)?

  13. PM on June 21, 2016 at 3:35 PM

    I sent my docs for 24 months OPT Ext on May 16,2016. When I check my status online today (06/21/2016) ,it shows Case was Received Status message. Please may I know what will be the next stage of OPT processing and approximately when can I get my OPT card.

    • ARBAAZ on July 6, 2016 at 4:01 PM

      did you get any response from USCIS ??

    • arbaaz on July 6, 2016 at 4:02 PM


      Have you heard back from them ?? was it approved or any other update

  14. Ekta on June 15, 2016 at 3:45 AM

    Hello Raghu,

    I wanted to go for MSF but was confused over should I go for STEM or Non-STEM MSFinance program.

    Can you help me is deciding.


  15. Smarty on June 8, 2016 at 7:35 PM

    Hi Raghu,

    My EAD (extended 17 mnths OPT) is valid May 2017 . I want to apply for 24 months.
    I contacted My DSO . They said i need to fill i-983 form.

    Issue is , I want to switch my employer . Can i fill my i-983 form with new employer.
    Will it be any issue with USCIS ?

    Also , what extra documents do i need to submit to USCIS.
    My DSO is not clear on this, that can i change employer for 17 to 24 month rule.

    Please help in this regard.

  16. S on June 1, 2016 at 5:23 PM

    Hi Raghu,

    I have applied for 24 months extension with a pending H1 application. My check for 380 dollars was encashed. If h1 gets approved, will USCIS return the 380 dollars to me?


    • Raghuram Sukumar on June 2, 2016 at 9:16 AM

      You are not gonna get any refund!

  17. Pravallika on May 26, 2016 at 1:08 PM

    Hi Raghu,
    I applied for Stem opt extension before May 10, 2016. I received RFE for submitting new i-20, but i dont see request for i983 form.
    So, what should i do- do i have to submit i983 form even though they didnt mention in the RFE document.

    • Raghuram Sukumar on May 26, 2016 at 2:53 PM

      Yes, you should.

    • daksh on May 29, 2016 at 2:52 AM

      has your status changed online mentioning that they sent RFE??? Please answer this question. Actually i applied on Feb 8. Status changed to “Case was transferred” on Feb 26. After that no updates yet. I am worried a lot. I called them on May 3 and they said case is in process. Is it possible that they sent me some letter like RFE, mail might have been lost and the status is not updated online?

      • daksh on May 29, 2016 at 9:26 PM

        Raghu, please help out with your advise if you can

        • Raghuram Sukumar on May 31, 2016 at 2:50 PM

          That’s how case status works system works. If you get RFE, it should show RFE. Keep checking and good luck.

    • Wonda on June 1, 2016 at 2:16 AM

      Are you required to include your employer’s letter to explain your duties, pay, location of company, and whether you are working full time or part time? Plus your company’s name on e-verify and number despite having already put it on the form i-765? And also re-submit copies of your official transcript and degree certificate?

  18. Mahesh on May 25, 2016 at 11:55 PM

    Hi Raghuram,

    Thanks for the detailed info.

    My opt 12 months will end on June 30th. To apply extension my employer saying we are speaking with attorney and cant give i983 up to then. My H1B was filed this year and it got picked up in the lottery. It is in process now. Whats the best thing i can do pressuring employer to get i983 or to apply CAP-GAP. please suggest

    • Raghuram Sukumar on May 26, 2016 at 12:18 AM

      You need to evaluate pros and cons. Why don’t you upgrade to premium and get H1 approval before June 30 and don’t apply for STEM OPT.

      • mahesh on May 26, 2016 at 1:27 AM

        Yes today I upgraded to premium but not sure whether it will be approved or RFE.

  19. chamallamudi rajesh on May 16, 2016 at 4:47 PM

    Hi Raghuram,

    I need some clarification regarding OPT 24 months stem extension.
    Is OPT 24 months stem extension applicable for only who are all working under direct client payroll not in consultanting payroll is it correct.
    Kindly clarify me.


    • Raghuram Sukumar on May 16, 2016 at 10:07 PM

      You could have found the answer if your went to home page.

  20. Raghuram Sukumar on May 16, 2016 at 8:25 AM

    Ok this would the final update to this comment. Thanks for following this blog page for updates. Judge dismissed the case after May 10, 2016.

    You may have noticed that some employers are not willing to sign I-983 and it could be difficult to get I-983 as a consultant.

    Even though WashTech was not successful, they were instrumental to bring a MAJOR changes that is going to have a long lasting impact.

    • STEM on May 16, 2016 at 5:28 PM

      Thank you for giving me the information regarding STEM extension, I have a question regarding my STEM OPT Extension. My employer itself is not an e-verify employer but instead they are using e-verify agent. They have a client identification number for that. I want to confirm that I can use this number to apply for my 24 months Stem Extension? Do I need to fulfill any other requirements for this?

      • Raghuram Sukumar on May 16, 2016 at 10:07 PM

        This question is not for a public forum and no one in free blogs and forums can answer/help you.

  21. PM on May 3, 2016 at 2:42 PM

    Hello. Thank you for your valuable input .

    I am currently on my 17 month STEM extension that expires December 2017. I do not plan an applying for the additional 7 month extension. Can I just continue working till December 2017 or do I need to any additional steps.

    Please advice.

    • Raghuram Sukumar on May 4, 2016 at 10:23 PM

      What if you don’t get H1B next year? You can’t apply for H1B in 2018.

      • sam on May 8, 2016 at 6:27 AM

        i am currently working under an employer ,i think there are some changes in the employer Responsibilities can you check them once

  22. Satish on May 1, 2016 at 11:08 PM

    Hi Raghuram,

    My previous masters degree was a STEM program (which I completed in May 2013). I took an initial 12 months OPT and I didn’t apply for OPT extension after 12 months. After that I enrolled in a MBA program, which will be completed in May 2016.
    So my question is; Do I qualify for the OPT STEM extension under the new rule?



  23. RK on April 27, 2016 at 3:06 PM


    Been working for the same employer since 1.5 years and right now on 17 month STEM OPT which is ending in Nov 2016. I have been approved for the STEM OPT through this employer. Planning to apply for the additional 7 months in June.

    My only concern is that my employer does a e-verify number but did not create a case for me under e-verify system. Employee Verification in the e-verify database is marked as NO. We cannot create a case now as it had to be done withing 3 days of hiring an employee.

    Can I take my chances and apply for the 7-month with the same employer? Please help.

    • Raghuram Sukumar on April 27, 2016 at 3:24 PM

      I have absolutely no idea about e-verify and employee verification. You can post the same question via Ask n Attorney.

  24. RK on April 27, 2016 at 10:18 AM

    Been working for the same employer since 1.5 years and right now on 17 month STEM OPT which is ending in Nov 2016. I have been approved for the STEM OPT through this employer. Planning to apply for the additional 7 months in June.

    My only concern is that my employer does have a e-verify number but did not create a case for me under e-verify system. Employee Verification in the e-verify database is marked as NO. We cannot create a case now as it had to be done withing 3 days of hiring an employee.

    Is that even a issue? Can I take my chances and apply for the 7-month with the same employer? Please help.

  25. Rohit on April 26, 2016 at 11:59 AM

    Good afternoon raghu,

    My h1 was picked in premium this year. go to know in first week of application.
    It is currently under processing.

    I have an questions for you.

    Question : My Indian passport will expire next year august – will this cause an issue n approving the h1 ?considering my h1 is for 6 years.

    Please let me know

    • Raghuram Sukumar on April 27, 2016 at 1:27 PM

      Nope. You can renew the passport and it will not affect your H1 approval.

  26. shayan on April 25, 2016 at 2:08 AM

    Thanks for all your helps. My original OPT is expired and since the OPT extension I have filed hasn’t been decided yet, I am in status. (using the 180 days rule)
    Due to a family emergency I had to travel outside the USA now (my wife is in the USA), and I will wait until my OPT extension card arrives and will show that to the US embassy for return visa to the US. Is it possible that I get denied for the return US visa?

    • Raghuram Sukumar on April 25, 2016 at 11:41 AM

      You should post this question to Attorney Murali.

  27. Kai on April 18, 2016 at 9:34 PM

    Hi Raghuram,
    My opt expires on 06/07/2016. i plan to send out my opt extension application material by the end of April. My school advisor told me that if my opt extension is still pending on May 10 th. USCIS will issue RFE to require additional materials like I-983, etc. My concern is that whether I can still get the receipt before I submit this RFE materials or during the time I preparing those materials.

    • Raghuram Sukumar on April 18, 2016 at 10:30 PM

      Why do you want to apply before may 10?

  28. Saizad on April 18, 2016 at 10:19 AM

    Hi Raghuram,

    My STEM-OPT is expiring in Aug 2016. My wife has f2 visa and she had traveled to USA from Canada without any problem last year. She wants to visit me in June. Do you think there is a possibility that she would be denied entry to US? as my OPT would be expiring after 2 months.

    Thank you so much for your help.

    • Raghuram Sukumar on April 18, 2016 at 10:47 AM

      I don’t think they would deny entry for 2 months remaining in OPT.

  29. Vivek on April 11, 2016 at 7:54 PM

    I am on F1 OPT and it will expires OCT2016 and planning to apply H4 with Advance date with H4 EAD so I can continue my work after oct2016.

    1) I wanted to know if I can apply for change of status to H4 by my self or do we need to hire a lawyer or does it have to go through employer’s law firm?
    2) If applying by own is an option – which Visa center should the application be sent to? Should it be the one where husband’s H1 was processed – for example California Visa Service center?
    3)Is there any list of docs that i can refer here.

    Thank you for your help!

  30. Megha shah on April 11, 2016 at 2:28 PM

    What documents needed to change the status from F1 OPT to H4 with EAD?

    Can I file the change of status by my self?


    • Raghuram Sukumar on April 11, 2016 at 6:10 PM

      Refer to Ask an Attorney. Attorney Murali can apply for both.

  31. MEK on April 5, 2016 at 4:04 PM

    Hi Raghu,

    Thank you so much for all your help. I really appreciate your efforts. 🙂
    I am working on my OPT which will be expiring on 19th May. I talked to our international adviser at my university. She told me I can wait till May and then apply on May 10th for the 24 months extension. I am not sure about that. Is that a risky option? or is it okay? (provided I am applying before my OPT ends)

  32. MEK on April 5, 2016 at 3:27 PM

    Hi Raghu,

    Thank you so much for all your help. I really appreciate your efforts. 🙂
    I am working on my OPT which will be expiring on 19th May. I talked to our international adviser at my university. She told me I can wait till May and then apply on May 10th for the 24 months extension. I am not sure about that. Is that a risky option? or is it okay? (provided I am applying before my OPT ends).

  33. Gaurav Kapoor on April 1, 2016 at 2:01 PM

    I am currently on my 17 month OPT STEM Extension which expires on 4-July-2016. Vide the new OPT rule, I gather that I am eligible to claim the remaining period of 7 months of OPT only if there are 150 days of valid employment authorization remaining on the current 17 month OPT on the date of filing the I-765 for OPT extension.

    Do I still qualify for the pending 7 months of OPT extension because the Rule was published in the Federal Register on 11-March-2016 and will only come into effect from 10-May-2016? There was no way for me to know that there had to be a 150 days cushion period on the day of filing for pending 7 month STEM OPT Extension?

    Kindly advise.

    • Raghuram Sukumar on April 2, 2016 at 9:56 AM

      No you are going to miss the 7 months OPT Extension

  34. Sudheer on March 30, 2016 at 5:45 PM

    Hi Raghu,

    My OPT expires on June 23,2016.
    I am in dilemma whether to apply for 17 month OPT extension now or wait till May 10 and apply for 24 month extension.Also,if i apply after May 10th for 24 month stem extension do i need to submit RFE.

    Please clarify

    Thank you

    • Raghuram Sukumar on April 3, 2016 at 9:25 AM

      Refer to video series I did on when to apply for OPT.

    • Sandipan Chowdhury on April 7, 2016 at 8:29 AM

      You should wait. You continue to be on valid status for upto 6 months after the expiration of your initial EAD card or until a final decision has been made on your OPT stem ext case, provided you apply “in time”. In time implies even one day before the expiration date inscribed on your OPT card. If you wait till after May 10, you will still have applied in time. That way you can 24month directly and save $380 and other hassles and stress associated with reapplication for 7 months. All agree?

      • shayan on April 21, 2016 at 5:46 PM


        What if the employer isn’t e-verified? I know that in the 6-month rule there is no mention of being e-verified, it just says “as long as you have filed timely you are eligible to continue working for 180 days if your OPT extension case is pending”, however can a non-e-verified employee says that this 6-months rule doesn’t apply to them? How can we respond to them?

  35. Ameya on March 30, 2016 at 5:05 PM

    Hi Raghu

    I really appreciate you helping us in understanding this new 24 month rule.
    I have a question:
    My existing 17 month STEM OPT expires on 8th feb 2017. As per your video, I am eligible for the ‘additional 7 months STEM extension’. Please let me know what should I write to my DSO in order for them to start the process of 7 month STEM extension application.

    Thank you.

  36. Sree153 on March 29, 2016 at 11:33 PM

    Hi Raghu,

    My 12 months OPT is getting expired i last week of May so I applied for STEM opt in last week of Feb.

    My Stem OPT is approved in just 20 days. I got my approval notice today with 17 months and status on USCIS website shows that my EAD is already dispatched on 25th March.

    My employer is filing H1B in premium, so in case If my H1B is not picked, I will apply for extra 7 months of STEM by August 9 deadline. Should I pay 380$ again to apply for extra 7 months of STEM OPT

    • Raghuram Sukumar on March 30, 2016 at 9:58 AM

      STEM OPT approval in 20 days? That’s lucky 🙂

      Yes, you have to pay $380 again.

  37. ray on March 24, 2016 at 10:15 PM

    Hi Raghu,

    Thanks for these information. Really helpful. I have a question and i have no exact answers even after asking my school’s DSO and my employer’s HR.

    My employer going to file the H1B on my behalf April 1st and my OPT (12 months) will be expiring in July 12, therefore. my plan is to apply OPT Extension on May 10th. So my question is, is it okay to file H1B and STEM extension in a same period, or in other words, submitting my STEM OPT extension when the H1B is still in process? I heard some news that you technically can, but it’s going to complicate the process. But to be honest, there is no credible source so far. Do you have any opinion on this?

    Thank you.

  38. saichand on March 21, 2016 at 12:55 PM

    Hi Raghu, Thanks for the info
    In this mentioned video you said to apply for 17 month opt to avoid hassle for extra docs from Manager, HR and other….
    In this video, you asked to wait till May 10(if 12 month opt expires after May 10th) and apply for 24 month at once. correct?
    If I apply for 17-month opt now and my application is pending on may 10 and I will get RFE, so what docs do they ask? Is those same extra docs from manager and HR?
    BTW, My 12 month opt expires on June 16, 2016
    I am in dilemma to apply for 17 month now and and wait for RFE and 7 month later or apply for 24 month?
    Thanks in advance, please help

    • Raghuram Sukumar on March 21, 2016 at 9:09 PM

      Hey, I’m going to update the video. New transition plan was not part of initial STEM OPT rule. In your case, wait till May 10, 2016 and apply for 24 months. Don’t apply for 17 months now. Ok?

      • Saichand Mekala on March 23, 2016 at 5:23 PM


  39. Lavanya Doddi on March 21, 2016 at 10:17 AM

    Hi Raghu –
    One question. If my employer files for H1 this year and if it is not selected in lottery/not approved, will i be able to keep my F1 status (My OPT Valid till Dec 2016 + i will get additional 7 months)

    Also, Is there any salary requirement to file for H1B?


  40. bernardo on March 17, 2016 at 11:41 AM

    My opt stem is expiring in June 5th, 2016. The USCIS requires you to have at least 150 days valid on your old opt stem to apply for the 7-month extension. Is there anything that can be done about this?

    • Raghuram Sukumar on March 17, 2016 at 2:41 PM

      Nope. Sorry.

      • bernardo on March 17, 2016 at 3:05 PM

        Was this part of the rule or just USCIS decision?

  41. Jai on March 17, 2016 at 12:24 AM

    Hi Raghu,

    I am currently on non-stem OPT issued by school A and would like to apply a stem extension with my previous degree from school B. Which school should I apply the extension from?

    Thanks a lot,


    • Raghuram Sukumar on March 19, 2016 at 8:36 AM

      Typically the active record is from your recent DSO. So, talk to both schools. This is new to me.

      • Jai on March 21, 2016 at 6:49 PM

        Thanks Raghu, In my situation, can I apply before May 10?

  42. Gaaya on March 16, 2016 at 1:45 PM

    Hi , I am on 17 month STEM OPT extension expiring in june 2017. Am I eligible for the 7 month extension? If yes so i need to follow all the same procedures as i did for 17 month extension. And within what dates should i apply for the same.


  43. Shohag on March 15, 2016 at 12:37 PM

    Hi Raghu,

    I appreciate your constant effort to help us.
    My 12 months OPT is valid till 13th July. Should I apply for OPT extension now
    or after May-10.

    • Raghuram Sukumar on March 15, 2016 at 1:23 PM

      Wait for next set of videos 🙂

      • manvir on March 16, 2016 at 7:13 PM

        hey my 17 month opt expires in oct 6 2016 , can i apply for this 7 month extension??

    • Harsha Sharma on March 15, 2016 at 2:18 PM

      My College today sent me all the details and docs to be prepared to apply for extra 7 months or to transition from 17 to 24 months.

      Here is your answer in one of the DHS docs-

      Like the 17-month STEM OPT extension, students may not apply for STEM OPT extensions during the 60-day grace period following an initial (usually 12-month) period of post-completion OPT.

      Accordingly, if a student anticipates that they will enter the 60-day grace period before May 10, 2016, the student should not wait to apply. Such a student should apply for the 17-month STEM OPT extension before their initial OPT period expires and follow the respective transition plan that applies to them.

      Hope this helps!

      • T on March 18, 2016 at 3:33 AM

        Hi Harsha,
        Have you looked into the documents needed for the extension !! Is there anything there that employers might be reluctant to complete.

        • Raghuram Sukumar on March 19, 2016 at 8:26 AM

          Yes. See the form. Some employers may not do that.

  44. Prasad Boyapati on March 15, 2016 at 11:33 AM


    Can anyone please answer my concern,

    My STEM OPT expires by May 31 – 2016 . Can I continue to work on that after May 10 till May 31st ?

    Am I eligible to apply for 7 month extension now ?

    I am confused with this particular statement in website

    “Any 17-month STEM OPT EAD that USCIS issued on or before May 9, 2016, will remain valid until the EAD expires, is terminated or revoked.”

    What does this mean ? Is it that my current STEM EAD is terminated after May 10, if I wont apply for extension of 7 months?

    Please help me with this. A bit of confusion for me


    • Harsha Sharma on March 15, 2016 at 2:22 PM

      It means if you have 17 month OPT STEM and you want to stay with it and not transition to 24 months then it will work as it would have and would expire wen the date says on your EAD card without anything happening to it wen the 24 month rule goes into effect on May 10th. You are fine. If you want to have extra 7 month to make it 24 month you have to apply between the May 10 and August window given by DHS to students currently holding STEM 17 months.


  45. Sravya on March 15, 2016 at 10:30 AM

    Hi Raghu,

    Nebraska Service center received my 12 months OPT application on November 03, 2016, after 125 days I got my OPT card, but the validity date on it is from March 07, 2016 to Feb 15, 2017.

    My question here is, It should be March 07, 2016 to March 06, 2017 right?

    Do I need to return the card or Can I continue using it ?

    How can I get send my inquiry to USCIS?

    • Raghuram Sukumar on March 15, 2016 at 10:04 PM

      Sometimes, cards have incorrect dates. You can use this and apply for 24 months. Some folks got 24 months instead of 12 months.

  46. Raghuram Sukumar on March 14, 2016 at 5:06 PM

    New Video – If your 12 Months OPT Expires before May 10, 2016 – What to Expect and What you should do –

  47. Lavanya Doddi on March 14, 2016 at 2:27 PM

    Hello Raghu –

    Thanks a ton for the fastest and most reliable information every time.
    My current STEM OPT expires in Dec 2016, assuming i get additional 7 months OPT (Which then expires in July 2017), if my employer files for my H1 B next year April, will i be eligible to work on CAP GAP from July to OCT?

    Basically i want to know if a person is eligible to work on CAP GAP, or is it just to stay in US and not work?

    • Raghuram Sukumar on March 14, 2016 at 2:44 PM

      Cap-Gap = H1B filed in timely manner and OPT is expiring after april and before H1 is approved. This rule bring back cap-gap provisions to work till H1b result comes.

      • Lavanya Doddi on March 14, 2016 at 2:50 PM

        Thanks for your quick feedback.

        • Raghuram Sukumar on March 14, 2016 at 4:59 PM


  48. Venkata Raju Potturi on March 14, 2016 at 1:21 PM

    I have finished my stem opt extension. I am currently doing my second masters and i am on my CPT. Am I eligible for applying the extra 7 months of STEM ? if so how can i do it?

    • Raghuram Sukumar on March 14, 2016 at 2:22 PM

      No, you can apply for 7 more months.

  49. Vinesh K on March 14, 2016 at 10:36 AM

    Hi Raghuram,

    I am on my OPT Stem Extension, which expires in August 2016.Will I be eligible for 7 months extension.. deadline being May 9 2016..

    • Raghuram Sukumar on March 14, 2016 at 2:24 PM

      I don’t think. since you will not have 150 days remaining in STEM OPT as of May 10, 2016.

  50. Pravallika Reddy on March 13, 2016 at 6:47 PM

    My 12 months OPT expires on Aug 2nd, 2016. Do i have to apply for stem ext before MAY 10th or can i wait. I am worried as USCIS recommends to apply atleast 90 days before.

    • Raghuram Sukumar on March 15, 2016 at 7:46 AM

      Refer to the video posted in the youtube channel.

      • Pravallika Reddy on March 15, 2016 at 1:01 PM

        My question is,
        My 12 month opt expires on Aug 2nd, 2016. Should i apply stem opt after May10th?

  51. Aish on March 13, 2016 at 4:14 AM

    Hi Raghu,

    My OPT STEM Extension expires on August 2016 but is Extended to October 2016 on H1b Cap Gap. Will I qualify for the 7th month extension? The 150 days applies only if it includes my Cap Gap period. If not, I guess I just have to hope I’ll get the lottery this time.

    Thanks for all the information you’re providing. It’s really helpful!

    • Aowoo on March 14, 2016 at 12:19 PM

      I think you have two cases: (1) you get the h-1b lottery, so you don’t need to worry about the OPT extension at all (2) you don’t get the lottery so you don’t qualify for the Cap Gap, so your extension expires in August and therefore is not qualified for the 7-month extension.

  52. OPT scientist on March 12, 2016 at 11:13 PM

    Regarding the availability of getting a STEM OPT on an older degree, is that allowed even if the older degree was in the same field? Let’s say someone is on STEM OPT after a masters in physics. When their 24 month STEM OPT ends, can they apply for another one based on their bachelers degree in physics? Or do the two degrees have to be in different disciplines?

  53. OPT scientist on March 12, 2016 at 10:45 PM

    Does the new STEM rule allow starting a business? If so, are there differences in requirements one needs to fulfill? The previous rule only required that you have to work at least 20 hours and that your business should be registered with the e-verify system

  54. Vicky on March 12, 2016 at 1:39 PM

    Hi Raghu

    My 12 month OPT is set to expire on 15 june so I recently applied for my opt extension .My question what options do I have inorder get the 24 OPT extension.

    Thank you

  55. sunny sahith on March 11, 2016 at 8:25 PM

    I am in STEM OPT EXTENSION already and my Extension ends in MAY 2017. If I need to get the rest 7 months after may 2017, when should I apply? Also what are the documents needed and please detail the procedure for the same. Thank you.

    • NKP on March 12, 2016 at 12:14 AM

      You should apply after May 10th 2016 and before aug 8th 2016

      You will need to get in touch with your dso and get new i20 and Also complete I-983 I.e. Training mentor plan and check with your dso for any additional paper work needed to apply for getting 7 more months

  56. Ajay on March 11, 2016 at 1:31 PM

    Hi Raghu,

    I am currently an MBA student. I have masters in STEM that I received from US university 5 years ago. At that time, my Degree was not listed in STEM degree list and hence I didn’t receive STEM extension at that time. Under the new rule where STEM extension can be applied based on the previous degree, will I be eligible to apply for OPT. I understand that I cannot apply for post-completion OPT as I have already taken it with my previous degree which is at the same level as my current one.

    Thank you,

    • Raghuram Sukumar on March 11, 2016 at 4:21 PM

      If your degree is listed as STEM, then you should be able ti get 20 months STEM OPT. Check the CIP Code of the degree you got and compare to site for list of eligible degrees.

  57. adi on March 11, 2016 at 12:15 PM

    Hi Raghu ,

    My current opt extension will end june 2017 .Will i am eligible to apply 7 more months..? if so when i suppose to apply for 7 more months..?

    • Raghuram Sukumar on March 11, 2016 at 4:19 PM

      Yes, you should be eligible to apply before Aug 8, 2016

  58. Nimit Desai on March 11, 2016 at 11:34 AM

    Hi Raghu,

    Thanks for this amazing resource. I have been following your STEM Extension updates for the past few months.

    My 12 month OPT will be expiring on the 31st of May, 2016. I wanted to know if it is advisable for me to apply for the STEM extension after the 10th of May? My company needs the STEM Extension EAD acknowledgement receipt for me to continue working once my OPT ends.

    My concern is this statement in the rule: “A student whose application is pending on May 10, 2016 will be issued an RFE requesting documentation establishing that the student is eligible for a 24-month STEM OPT extension.”

    Will I receive the RFE only if my application is ‘pending’ on the 10th of May and not otherwise? In that case if they receive my application after the 10th of May, am I in good standing to receive the receipt on time and the 24 months extension EAD once it’s approved?

    Thanks for all the help!


    • Raghuram Sukumar on March 11, 2016 at 11:42 AM

      Apply after May 10th for 24 months. You have enough time to get Receipt from may 10 to May 21st.

  59. Arshid on March 11, 2016 at 10:45 AM

    Hi Raghu, My STEM is going to expire on July 25th 2016. What is the best time to apply for 7 months extension?

    • Raghuram Sukumar on March 11, 2016 at 11:43 AM

      Hey, I’m not sue of you can apply for 7 more months. You need to have 150 days left in STEM OPT to apply for 7 more months.

  60. Kunal Jagtap on March 10, 2016 at 10:55 PM

    Hi Raghu,
    Thanks for helping us graduate students out.
    I’m currently a graduate student, due to graduate this May.
    I’ve applied for my OPT which starts on 6th June 2016.
    Could you tell me how this rule will apply for us?

    • Raghuram Sukumar on March 11, 2016 at 7:18 AM

      Hey Kunal – You would get 36 months OPT in total from June 2016 to June 2019. If you are applying H1B this April you would get 4 chances.

  61. JM on March 10, 2016 at 10:37 PM

    My STEM OPT will be expired on May 9th, this year. Can I apply for an additional 7 months extension? If so, when would be the earliest one? My employer will be filing a work visa soon for me. But, I would like to know if I can apply for the 7 months extension for in case. Thanks.

    • Raghuram Sukumar on March 11, 2016 at 7:19 AM

      I don’t think you can apply for 7 more months because of 150 days should be remaining. Cap-Gap provision starts rom May 10, 2016. I’m not sure what wil happen since STEM OPT begins a day after your OPT expires.

  62. Rajendra Sishodia on March 10, 2016 at 8:45 PM

    My 12 month opt will expire in August 2016, can i apply before May 10 for 24 month extension?

    • Raghuram Sukumar on March 11, 2016 at 7:20 AM

      I would recommend apply for 24 months OPT after May 10, 2016.

  63. KD on March 10, 2016 at 5:56 PM

    How many months in advance would I have to apply for 7 month extension if I am currently on 17 month stem extension? Thanks.

    • Raghuram Sukumar on March 10, 2016 at 6:05 PM

      Check the exact date (I think Aug 8, 2016). Before that. Not after that August 2016.

      • KD on March 10, 2016 at 6:11 PM

        Thank you

      • Harsha Sharma on March 10, 2016 at 6:12 PM

        What are the documents required to apply for this extra 7 month OPT period. What is the Mentoring and training form and where will I get it from. Is it tough to get these documents ready.

        • Raghuram Sukumar on March 11, 2016 at 7:49 AM

          I will post details on that later when all the forms are available. Plus, your DSO should give you instructions.

  64. EsraY on March 10, 2016 at 1:16 PM

    My husband’s 17 month OPT extension ends on May, 2017. So, with this new rule, he is okay to stay until that date, right? Can he extend it any further? Thanks for your informational site here.

    • Raghuram Sukumar on March 10, 2016 at 5:21 PM

      He can apply for 7 more months only till Aug 2016. He can’t wait till May 2017 to apply for extension.

  65. mahadevan iyer on March 10, 2016 at 2:11 AM

    My daughter in the second semester of computer science having 4 gpa. studying in ILLINOIS TECH (ILLINOIS INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY)

    When she should apply of OPT as per the new rule:
    ILLINOIS TECH is covered under recognized institution.

    • Raghuram Sukumar on March 10, 2016 at 7:12 AM

      She has to apply before graduation.

  66. Dhaval on March 9, 2016 at 9:33 PM

    Hi Raghu, Thank you for the response. I was going trough the rule and on Pg.174, I have found below wordings.

    “Also consistent with the proposed rule, the final rule provides, for students who
    subsequently attain another STEM degree at a higher educational level, the ability to participate in an additional 24-month extension of any post-completion OPT based upon that second STEM degree. In particular, the rule would allow a student who had completed a STEM OPT extension pursuant to previous study in the United States and who subsequently obtained another qualifying degree at a higher degree level (or has a qualifying prior degree, as discussed in more detail below), to qualify for a second 24-month STEM OPT extension upon the expiration of the general period of OPT based on that additional degree.

    Can you please suggest what does it means?

    • Raghuram Sukumar on March 10, 2016 at 7:15 AM

      You would get two OPT and OPT STEM extension. But, if you did MS and PhD without OPT in between, I’m not sure if you can get 3 + 3 years of OPT.

      • Dhaval on March 10, 2016 at 8:24 AM

        Hi Raghu, Thanks for the response. I have done MS and PhD without OPT in between.

      • Priyanka on March 10, 2016 at 9:43 AM

        Hi Raghu,

        I was wondering if somebody has used his stem opt after Master’s and then went for Phd. Would that person be able to get another extension?

      • Shuo on March 10, 2016 at 3:58 PM

        Hi Raghu,

        I did my MS and PhD in STEM major at the same school in the US, with no OPT in between. I am currently on OPT STEM Extension of my PhD degree.

        Under the new rule, will I be able to get another OPT or OPT Extension for my previously earned STEM MS degree in the US?


        • Raghuram Sukumar on March 10, 2016 at 5:20 PM

          I know that you can get OPT twice per degree level. But, I don’t know if you can get back to back OPT and STEM Extension.

  67. NKP on March 9, 2016 at 8:57 PM

    so one should have 150 Calendar days of STEM OPT left from May 10th 2016, in order to be eligible for applying 7 months extension.
    and this has to be done before Aug 10th 2016
    Right ?

    I will be starting my STEM OPT from May 1st 2016.
    I should be getting my EAD card this month or next month for 17 months, since i applied on Dec 24th 2015
    since i will have 150 calendar days of STEM OPT from May 10th 2016, i am eligible to apply for 7 months extension right?
    and i have to apply by Aug 10th 2016

    • Raghuram Sukumar on March 11, 2016 at 7:21 AM

      You will have 150 days left on STEM OPT. so, apply for 7 more months extension before Aug 10, 2016 after you get 17 months STEM OPT.

  68. Raghuram Sukumar on March 9, 2016 at 7:48 PM

    Hello All – I’m catching up with list of questions posted today. Most of the questions are related to –

    – Will I be eligible for 7 months OPT Extension
    – Should I apply for 24 vs 17 Months OPT
    – My OPT is expiring at X date. What will happen to me?

    These question would affect your immigration status/stay in the USA. I can’t answer questions when it’s going to impact your status. I’m merely reporting the news ( and not I have limited expertise to answer your questions).

    I will try my best, but for most part, I’m going to ask you to check with Attorney Murali. Being H1B seasons, his reply would be also slow.

  69. Suresh Sriramineni on March 9, 2016 at 5:34 PM

    I am on my 17 Months extension, which is going to expires on March 30th 2016, am i eligible for 7 months Extension?

    • Raghuram Sukumar on March 9, 2016 at 7:50 PM

      Suresh – Refer to 150 days pending requirement to apply for 7 months OPT Extension.

    • sadboy on March 11, 2016 at 12:42 AM

      No , unfortunately 🙁
      But you can do another masters and get one more opt

      • Raghuram Sukumar on March 11, 2016 at 7:16 AM

        Second OPt is for higher degree level. MS and MBA will give only one OPT an done STEM extension.

  70. Padmini on March 9, 2016 at 5:19 PM

    Hi Raghu,

    My OPT will be expiring on 05/31/2016. I will be applying for extension in a week or 2. My question is if I change my company and join another one before the approval, let’s say it hasn’t been approved until may 10th. Can I provide the documents that are requested by USCIS from the new company? Or should I continue in the same company?

    • Raghuram Sukumar on March 9, 2016 at 7:51 PM

      Padmini – Your question can be answered only by an immigration attorney. I will be closing down Ask an Attorney on March 15th till April 7th due to H1B Season. So, ask before then.

  71. Suhita Acharya on March 9, 2016 at 4:43 PM

    Thank you for replying to my other comment. Previously I had obtained a 12 month OPT for a Bachelor’s in a STEM degree. I did not apply for extension after that. Now I am applying for extension under masters degree. My question is, under the new ruling will this change the length of my OPT extension?

    • Raghuram Sukumar on March 9, 2016 at 5:07 PM

      I’m not sure if I can read to that finer details. You may want to read the full 300 page for the answer.

  72. Nikhil on March 9, 2016 at 4:19 PM

    Can’t thank you enough for all your efforts Raghu. Thanks for keeping us updated throughout this process.

  73. Vibha on March 9, 2016 at 4:16 PM

    Hi Raghu,

    My 17-months STEM OPT is going to be expired on 10/1/2016.
    Am I eligible to get the additional extension?

    How soon I can go to college to get my new I20?


    • Raghuram Sukumar on March 9, 2016 at 4:40 PM

      Read from page 236.

    • tatu de on March 9, 2016 at 8:33 PM

      Looks like your case doesn’t the timeline mentioned by the new rule. If you apply as early say May 10, then you don’t have 150 days left till your opt expires which is 1st Oct.

  74. Kumar on March 9, 2016 at 2:38 PM

    Hi Raghu,
    You are doing a Great Job by helping and Updating Information.

    I am on OPT, my OPT ends on May 20th 2016, I have already applied for 17 Months OPT STEM on Feb 22nd 2016, USCIS recieved my documents on Feb 24th 2016, As they mentioned in new rule, Pending applications on May 10th will recieve a RFE,that I have to provide additional documents and NEW I20 by DSO recommending for 24 months STEM OPT,but they mentioned that “A student may file for a STEM OPT extension only if the student is in a valid period of post-completion OPT at the time of filing”… after May 10th I do have only 10 days of time, because my OPT is expiring on MAY 20th 2016, My question is ” if my OPT STEM is pending on May 10th, I will get a RFE and I will get new I20 from my school, but this will take some time to send them the additional documents to send to USCIS, May 20th 2016 is last day of my OPT, so if I failed to send them the documents by May 20th 2016 which is last day of my OPT, so I am worried about that my application is invalid for stem, Please help me regarding this.

    Thank you

    • Raghuram Sukumar on March 9, 2016 at 7:53 PM

      Kumar – Sorry, I don’t know the answer. 300 pages to legal rule is tough to read to answer your specific question. You should post it to Attorney Murali.

    • tatu de on March 9, 2016 at 8:37 PM

      This is my thought. RFE comes with a timeline (usually 30 days) to respond. Until your application is approved, you can work.

  75. eeperson on March 9, 2016 at 2:14 PM

    My current 12 month OPT expires on July 24 and my company is going to file my H1-B on April 1. Given this tricky year, I would ideally want to apply for my extension after may 10, to completely avoid any RFE hassles.

    However, my DSO keeps telling me that applying for OPT extension after H1B is filed “may cause issues” without divulging into details. What are the issues and how likely are they? Does the new rule suggest any such problems explicitly? Has anything changed with regards to that in this new rule?

    • Raghuram Sukumar on March 9, 2016 at 3:25 PM

      If your H1B is approved, then your status will change from OPT to H1B ( even if you have pending OPt). DSO is not an immigration attorney. If you are concerned about this dilemma, then talk to an attorney.

  76. OPT Scientist on March 9, 2016 at 2:04 PM

    Could you please clarify the wage protection conditions? What does the following mean exactly

    “To guard against adverse impacts on U.S. workers, the rule requires terms and conditions of a STEM practical training opportunity (including duties, hours, and compensation) to be commensurate with those applicable to similarly situated U.S. workers.”

    Does this mean one can do an unpaid internship with an employer who allows similar, unpaid internships to US workers, if it can be certified that this will not come at the expense of the job of a US worker? Or are there other provisions that bar this? Can one work at a research lab or non-profit without being paid?

    • Raghuram Sukumar on March 9, 2016 at 3:26 PM

      I don’t know about thisLAvor and Wage protection and how they will enforce that.

  77. Shyam S on March 9, 2016 at 1:55 PM

    I had applied for STEM OPT Extension last week with dates June 15- 2016 to Nov 15 -2017. From what I can understand it seems like if my application is pending on May 10, they will send me RFE and once I send back the required documents (like new I-20, etc), 24 month extension will be considered. However, if approved before May 10, 17 months will be granted and I would have to apply for 7 month extension before August 10. Wanted to confirm if I understood it correctly?

    • Raghuram Sukumar on March 9, 2016 at 3:23 PM

      Yup. You are correct on RFE and 7 months deadline.

  78. OPT scientist on March 9, 2016 at 1:42 PM

    Is this new rule for people approved for STEM extension after May 10, or does it also apply to people already in the STEM OP program? Do people who have already got a 17 month OPT extension under the old rule continue to work in accordance with the old regulations after May 10, or do they need to comply with the new rules?

    • Raghuram Sukumar on March 9, 2016 at 3:27 PM

      current approvals with 17 months will adher to regulation that were approved. I would still have to clarify that.

  79. Carmen on March 9, 2016 at 1:30 PM

    Hi Raghu,

    My 17-months STEM OPT is going to be expired on 3/31/2016. Under the new rule, am I eligible to get the additional 7 months extension?


    • Raghuram Sukumar on March 9, 2016 at 3:28 PM

      Ah.. you fall under that category of unfortunate folks (I think). You can apply for new rule only from May 10, 2016. But, you don’t have 150 days left. I don’t think you can get 7 more months. You can confirm this after talking to attorney.

  80. Susrut Bharali on March 9, 2016 at 1:16 PM

    My OPT extension ends on Oct 08 2016. I have exactly 151 calender days from May 10 2016.
    My H1B was filed last time and was unsuccessful in lottery. It is being filed again this year.

    But based on the new rule, would it be possible for me to file in the Extension for 7 months in case the H1B lottery is unsuccessful again?


    • Raghuram Sukumar on March 9, 2016 at 1:21 PM

      Understand the implications of this 150 days and do the process to get 7 months.

  81. Shiva on March 9, 2016 at 1:12 PM


    Can you ask the following query to the attorney once you start discussing about the new rule…

    I have read the document. Under “I. Transition Procedures” section.
    There are two rules:
    1. The STEM OPT student must properly file an Application for Employment Authorization with USCIS, along with applicable fees and supporting documentation, on or before August 8, 2016, and within 60 days of the date the DSO enters the recommendation for the 24-month STEM OPT extension into the student’s SEVIS record. See 8 CFR 214.16(c)(2)(i).
    2. Student The student must have at least 150 calendar days126 remaining prior to the expiration of the 17-month STEM OPT EAD at the time the Application for Employment Authorization is filed. See 8 CFR 214.16(c)(2)(ii).

    My situation:

    My STEM OPT Expires on 01/17/2017.
    Go back 150 days from 01/17/2017… it would be 08/20/2016. This will not fall under 8th August 2016 deadline if I follow at least 150 days clause.

    So, the question is what would be the appropriate date I need to apply for 7 months STEM Extension in my situation. Could you please ask the attorney regarding this.


    • Raghuram Sukumar on March 9, 2016 at 1:16 PM

      Sure. That was unexpected condition that was added in the rule. I will have to think to sort out the pros and cons of 17 vs 24 vs 150 days impact.

  82. Akshay on March 9, 2016 at 12:59 PM

    Hi Raghu,

    Thanks for your regular updates on the STEM OPT extension case.

    Do you know how does this case apply for someone who has already got the 17 month STEM extension ? Can they apply for additional 7 months at the end of 17 months ?


    • Raghuram Sukumar on March 9, 2016 at 1:16 PM

      Refer to my other replies.

  83. Vijay on March 9, 2016 at 12:42 PM

    My stem opt will be expiring on march 17th… Can i apply for a 7 month extension now??

    • Raghuram Sukumar on March 9, 2016 at 1:17 PM

      Refer to my other replies.

  84. Abhi on March 9, 2016 at 12:39 PM

    Hi Raghu finally good news for all of us since opt is extended to 24 months. But it is a bad news for many of us who are applying for extension now in feb,March and April 2016 since the rule is effective from may10th 2016. My opt is going to end on June 11 2016 As we know before 120 days that is from feb 11th 2016 I am eligible to apply for my extension I haven’t applied up to now and I am planning to apply this week but suddenly today this news came out and now I am in a dilema whether to apply this week or not. I want to know like what are the chances of getting 24 months of extension for me since if I apply in March my application gets approved in April and I will be getting only 17 months. So can I wait and apply in April or May is it possible? Since my opt ends on June 11th because if I apply in April or May I will get my ead card in July or August upto that time will i be out of status I don’t know I am confused. Please help me out and give me solution.

    • Raghuram Sukumar on March 9, 2016 at 12:55 PM

      Most of them comments are asking the same question. I will work in that later today.

      • Dhaval on March 9, 2016 at 1:18 PM

        Hi Raghu, Thanks for everything. You have been great help. I have a question regarding two -24 month extension. I have done my MS and PhD in USA from accredited university.Both degrees falls under the stem category. I am currently on 17 month extension under my PhD degree, which will be extended to 7 more moth. The question is after 24 month, Can i be eligible to use additional 24 month based on my MS degree. I have not used OPT upon finishing my masters. I will really appreciate your reply.

        • Raghuram Sukumar on March 9, 2016 at 3:29 PM

          Dhaval – I haven’t read the 300 page to comment on dual degree and two 24 months options.

    • NM on March 9, 2016 at 1:14 PM

      17-month to 24-month Transition Provisions. In the supplementary information preceding the proposed rule, DHS stated that it also has a plan for dealing with 17-month to 24-month transition issues, so long as the final rule becomes effective before May 10, 2016 (i.e., before the current 2008 rule is vacated under court order).

      Students already on a 17-month extension could request the balance of the modified extension (i.e., the extra 7 months), if they meet all requirements of the new STEM OPT extension proposal, including submission of the Mentoring and Training Plan. The extension could be filed up to 120 days before the end of the student’s 17-month period.
      A student who filed for a 17-month extension before the effective date of the final rule, but whose applications are still pending on the effective date of the final rule, would have two choices:
      Withdraw the STEM OPT application and then file a new application under the new 24-month STEM OPT rule; or
      Not withdraw the STEM OPT application, and allow DHS to adjudicate the application under the current regulations, i.e., consistent with the regulations that existed at the time the application was submitted. Such applications would result in a 17-month extension. The student could then, if he or she chooses, request the 7-month balance of STEM OPT eligibility as described above.

    • smitha on March 9, 2016 at 1:53 PM

      Abhi, I’m in the same situation as you. My 12 month OPT expires on June 30. When is the latest date by which we can apply for 24 month extension to avail 24 months extension instead of 17?

      Raghu please let us know what we can do.


      • ImmigrationDon on March 9, 2016 at 4:17 PM

        For you the best way is to apply after May 10 (if you aren’t applying H1B) or just before April 1 (If you are applying H1B). This way your application will remain pending on May 10.
        You will have to submit RFE if you apply before May 10 but you surely can save the 380$ extra fee!
        Good luck!

  85. N on March 9, 2016 at 12:27 PM

    Thanks for keeping up updated!

    Does anyone have any experience of traveling while on OPT extension and past the expiration date on F-1 visa?

    • Raghuram Sukumar on March 9, 2016 at 1:18 PM

      You need F1 visa stamping to reenter.

  86. WA on March 9, 2016 at 12:24 PM


    I am currently on MY 17 month OPT extension. If the rule gets finalized and all goes well, will I be able to apply for the extra 7 months? Any idea on how that will work ?

  87. Surya on March 9, 2016 at 12:21 PM

    I want to know whether the latest rule of 24 months is applicable for the people who are in OPT extension now. If applicable, then do we need to apply again to get those 7 months.

  88. Suhita Acharya on March 9, 2016 at 10:57 AM

    My OPT is about to expire in June, 2016. If I submit my application for extension before the planned effective date May 10, I should get the 24 month extension right? Also for my first OPT after bachelor’s I did not take the 17 Month OPT extension. Will this affect the OPT extension I receive now in any way?

  89. tltbone on March 9, 2016 at 10:27 AM

    I just want to say thank you so much for always keep us updated about the process. You’re amazing! I’ve been keep following this site quietly all the time, and I believe there’re a lot more people who are doing the same thing as I do. Much appreciated your efforts on this!!!

    • Raghuram Sukumar on March 9, 2016 at 10:30 AM

      Thanks a bunch for being a follower. Next up is H1B Visa 2017 – I hope tp see you there.

      • Yi Shi on March 9, 2016 at 10:57 AM

        Hi Raghuram, there was a provision that if the STEM opt application is pending, one can work up to 180 days after the expiration of regular OPT.
        Does that provision still exist?

        • Raghuram Sukumar on March 11, 2016 at 4:23 PM

          Yes, I believe it does.

      • Dhaval on March 9, 2016 at 11:52 AM

        Hi Raghu, Thanks for everything. You have been great help. I have a question regarding two -24 month extension. I have done my MS and PhD in USA from accredited university.Both degrees falls under the stem category. I am currently on 17 month extension under my PhD degree, which will be extended to 7 more moth. The question is after 24 month, Can i be eligible to use additional 24 month based on my MS degree. I have not used OPT upon finishing my masters. I will really appreciate your reply.

        • Raghuram Sukumar on March 9, 2016 at 1:20 PM

          I don’t know how that works. You have 300 pages of rules to study and understand that 🙂

  90. Bennett on March 9, 2016 at 10:02 AM

    STEM Final Rule is going to be published on 3/11/2016. The 300 page document is available for viewing now

  91. Raghuram Sukumar on March 9, 2016 at 9:52 AM

    Final rule Text is now available. YAY!

    Effective Date – May 10, 2016

    See the updated the blog for link to rule and more details.

    • SHRAVAN on March 9, 2016 at 10:44 AM

      Hi Raghu,

      Thanks for the update. I am currently on STEM-OPT which expires in July 2016. By July I would have used up 17 months of STEM-OPT. With the new rule STEM-OPT is 24 months, If I apply for further extension, I should be able to get that extra 7 months of STEM-OPT. Right?

    • Nitin on March 9, 2016 at 11:18 AM

      Great to see this development.

      One thing I have been trying to know, is if it is possible for someone who went back to India after 29 months OPT expired, because he didn’t get H1b visa, is he eligible for this additional 7 month extension?

      • Raghuram Sukumar on March 9, 2016 at 11:55 AM

        No, they can’t. Some folks with 17 months may not even qualify for 7 months. I’m still confirm this (page 236).

    • Shaz on March 9, 2016 at 12:59 PM

      Hi Rahu,

      My 17 month OPT is expiring on Aug 2016, with the new rule to be effective from May 10. Am i eligible to apply for 7 months OPT extension?

      • Raghuram Sukumar on March 9, 2016 at 1:17 PM

        Refer to my other replies.

  92. Suhita Acharya on March 8, 2016 at 6:28 PM

    My OPT is about to expire in June, 2016. If I submit my application for extension before May 10 or around that time what are my chances of getting the 24 month extension.

    • Raghuram Sukumar on March 9, 2016 at 10:38 AM

      From the rule – In other words, the final rule’s new requirements will apply to all STEM OPT students whose applications are pending or approved on or after the final rule is effective. Thus, a student whose Application for Employment Authorization is filed and approved prior to May 10, 2016 will be issued an EAD that is valid for 17 months (even if he or she erroneously requested a 24-month STEM OPT extension). As indicated above, a student whose
      application is pending on May 10, 2016 will be issued an RFE requesting documentation establishing that the student is eligible for a 24-month STEM OPT extension. (page 236)

      • Jordan Alexander on March 9, 2016 at 10:56 AM

        To confirm…

        I am currently on a 17 month stem and it expires in october 2016. So will I be updated to 24 months or am I still going home in october?

        Thanks for the updates!

        • Raghuram Sukumar on March 11, 2016 at 4:23 PM

          Do the Math – 150 days from date you apply for 7 months should be remaining.

        • NKP on March 12, 2016 at 12:16 AM

          You should have 150 days of work permit On stem opt to apply for 7 more months from May 10th 2016

          So do the math and apply before August 8th 2016

      • Nikhil on March 9, 2016 at 10:57 AM

        Hey Raghu,

        People who got 17 months of EAD approved, will they be eligible to apply again for the rest 7 months?

        • Raghuram Sukumar on March 11, 2016 at 4:22 PM

          Refer to my replies to other comments.

      • Akshat Agrawal on March 9, 2016 at 11:34 AM

        hi Raghu,

        My opt is expiring on 16th march 2016. I have already applied for stem with 17 months. please can you tell me if I am eligible for 24 months stem. my application wont get approved by may 10 as I have applied very late.

        • Raghuram Sukumar on March 9, 2016 at 11:53 AM

          If your OPT is pending on May 10, 2016, then new rules applies.

  93. Ayra on March 8, 2016 at 4:39 PM

    This is great news. I have a question about my visa. I’m currently working under the F1-visa 17 month STEM extension. My visa expires in August 2016 but due to the Cap-Gap extension
    it is extended to October 2016. So my question is if the 24 month STEM extension comes into effect should the 7 month be added from August or October 2016. The reason why I ask is because if it’s get counted from October 2016, I may get another chance to file for my H1B visa next year, if I don’t get the lottery this time.

    Thanks for your help!

  94. Kumar on March 5, 2016 at 4:48 PM


    I recently applied for OPT extension and California service center transferred my case to Potomac service center. Does anyone has any idea about the processing time for this service center. Interestingly, USCIS webpage doesn’t have anything on this.

    • Anu on March 7, 2016 at 10:46 AM

      So, are we positive that the 17 month STEM extension will not get cancelled?

  95. yogendhar on March 5, 2016 at 2:12 AM


    Will students be eligible for another OPT at the end of second master’s according to the new rule?

    • Rahul Narang on March 7, 2016 at 7:37 PM

      Yes, 24 month OPT after 2nd masers also

      • Raghuram Sukumar on March 7, 2016 at 9:55 PM

        There’s just one OPT per degree level. There’s not OPT for second masters if you used the full first 36 months OPT.

        • neeraj on March 8, 2016 at 11:01 AM

          Hello Raghu,
          Has the rule made it to Federal Register? I searched the page, but didn’t get anything relevant.
          Can you please let us know.

          • Raghuram Sukumar on March 8, 2016 at 1:50 PM

            I checked today morning and couldn’t conclude. Will check later today.

        • Majid al-Dosari on March 8, 2016 at 4:24 PM

          based on the first rule-making, a second opt ext maybe possible if you didn’t use opt ext in the first master’s. the language is “opt ext based on a previous degree” or ” permit eligibility for the extension based on a STEM degree that is not the student’s most recently obtained degree;”

          i’d like to claim a second opt period. i didn’t use the stem ext for my first master’s.

      • Majid al-Dosari on March 8, 2016 at 1:31 PM

        could you point me to where this is in the document?

      • Majid al-Dosari on March 9, 2016 at 9:29 PM

        p. 254… after 250 pgs. of liberalization and common sense regulation, second masters are shut out!!!

  96. SP on March 4, 2016 at 6:00 PM

    Does the new rule have any provision for students who are now in the 60 day grace period after their STEM OPT expires.

    • Raghuram Sukumar on March 4, 2016 at 8:47 PM

      @SP – We have to get the final rule document to check if they have made some changes.

  97. Student on March 4, 2016 at 5:36 PM

    Hey Raghu,

    I am currently on OPT and it expires in June. I want to apply for OPT extension but the problem is my employer is not e verified.
    However, my employer’s PEO (Personal Employment Organization) company is E-verfied. I saw some notes on USCIS stating that if PEO company is e verified and gives client id to my employer, I can use that. I am not sure if this is something can be done. If yes, how should I proceed?
    USCIS Link :


    • Raghuram Sukumar on March 4, 2016 at 8:47 PM

      Sorry, I don’t know the answer. You can ask Attorney Murali via Ask an Attorney.

  98. Pooja on March 4, 2016 at 3:03 PM

    Fantastic!! Thanks again Raghu, for the extremely quick updates!!

    • Raghuram Sukumar on March 4, 2016 at 4:22 PM

      🙂 Please come back to Follow H1B Visa Updates as well. I will create H1B Visa Updates Page shortly.

      • Aditi on March 4, 2016 at 5:44 PM


  99. Ronak on March 4, 2016 at 1:48 PM

    My current OPT period ends on June 9 and I haven’t applied for my extension yet. Should I apply now or wait until May 10 when rule is effective. ?

    • Raghuram Sukumar on March 4, 2016 at 4:22 PM

      Check the Youtube Video I made in YT Channel.

  100. Ming on March 4, 2016 at 1:30 PM

    Will the new rule also apply to people who are already on 17-Months OPT Extension? Will they also change to 24-Months for OPT Extension?

    • Raghuram Sukumar on March 4, 2016 at 4:21 PM

      I can confirm after reading the final rule details on how 17 can be converted to 24.

      • Ming on March 4, 2016 at 4:25 PM

        Thank you Raghu.

  101. Raghuram Sukumar on March 4, 2016 at 9:46 AM

    Big News – STEM OPT Rule is now closer than ever to the becoming Reality!

    See the updates in this page above.

    • Harsha on March 4, 2016 at 10:54 AM

      Thanks for the update Raghu 🙂 My extension got approved on March 2nd waiting on my card to get home and see if I got 17 months or 24 months on there. Mostly 17 I guess since this rule is still not in effect yet.

      Thanks again!

      • Raghuram Sukumar on March 4, 2016 at 4:19 PM

        It will be 17 months. Gooc Luck with H1B. Check out H1B Page for updates when that gets going.

    • Aowoo on March 4, 2016 at 10:57 AM

      Thanks for the update. This is great news!

    • T on March 4, 2016 at 11:45 AM

      Thanks for the update Raghu. So the rule has now been marked as economically significant !! Is that something we should be concerned about ?

      • Raghuram Sukumar on March 4, 2016 at 4:19 PM

        No. they will publish in next few days ( before March 10, 2016)

    • Anish on March 4, 2016 at 12:17 PM

      Great News 🙂

    • Carmen on March 4, 2016 at 12:21 PM

      Hi Raghu,

      My STEM OPT is going to be expired 3/31, my employer is willing to sponsor me H1B only if STEM OPT rule is passed so that I can work while waiting for H1B approval. Do you think the rule will be effective by 3/31?


      • Raghuram Sukumar on March 4, 2016 at 4:20 PM

        I think effective date will be May 10. *I think*.

    • smitha on March 4, 2016 at 1:43 PM

      Is this an approval for 24 months OPT extension or 17 months? Please confirm.

    • DS on March 4, 2016 at 2:38 PM

      Awesome news!! I googled stem extension news and this came up. Made my day

  102. Venkata Raju Potturi on February 25, 2016 at 3:10 PM

    I am currently on 17 month stem extension which expires Dec 2016. I plan to travel outside US on 2nd week of April. Assuming I need to re enter US on 7th May 2016 and I have a valid EAD card and travel signature (new recently signed I- 20), do you think I will have any issues with immigration while re entering? If OMB approves the rule before, will it invalidate my existing EAD card or will my EAD card be valid.

    • Ro on February 26, 2016 at 3:44 PM

      Assuming you would be filing H1B this year, It is not advisable to travel outside before you receive any decision.

  103. NG on February 18, 2016 at 5:53 PM

    Hi Raghu,

    I am currently on 17 month stem extension which expires Nov 2016. I plan to travel outside US in first week of March. Assuming I need to re enter US on 4th March 2016 and I have a valid EAD card and travel signature (new recently signed I- 20), do you think I will have any issues with immigration while re entering? If OMB approves the rule before that date (4th March), will it invalidate my existing EAD card or will my EAD card be valid until 60 days after federal register publication date which is when DHS plans to make the rule effective?

    • Bharath on February 18, 2016 at 9:24 PM

      I’m on my stem OPT expiring this November. I just traveled and re-entered on 15th this month. So, you should be good. Even if the rule gets published, your EAD is gonna remain valid. Safe travels!

  104. Priyanka Maloo on February 17, 2016 at 10:39 PM

    Hi ,

    I graduated dec 2015 and I’m working on my OPT. My employer is ready to file my H1b, but I’m confused, will it be good for me to apply for H1b so soon as I will be getting 2 chances more to apply after this April.

    Please advice whether I should apply right away in April 2016 or skip this time and apply in April 2017 and April 2018 during my 17 month extension.. How likely is it to get H1b approve when applied twice. On side note My OPT started on Jan 18 2016.

    Priyanka Maloo

    • Raghuram Sukumar on February 18, 2016 at 6:59 AM

      Why? I mean why? Watch this Video –

    • padbellari on February 19, 2016 at 2:04 AM

      You are lucky that, your employer is filing H11B for you.
      Best of luck.

    • Sree153 on February 20, 2016 at 2:50 AM

      Hi Priyanka,

      The answer for your question is P(Picked)=No of Visas/No of Applicants

      For example

      For FY 2016 it was 85,000/2,33,000 = ~0.36 = 36% of chances
      For FY 2015 it was 85,000/1,76,000=~0.48=48% of chances

      Estimated for this yr 85,000/2,75,000=~0.31=31% of chances

      Where the chance of getting picked is diminishing year by year. So plz do some math and do some analysis before you ask “How likely is it to get H1B approve when applied twice.” These kind of questions when its a Randomized lottery.

      Its similar to how likely am I going to win 1.5 Billion by playing PowerBall. Because no one knows the answer to it.

      Winning H1B is easier than winning powerball though as there are more Visas.

  105. Shanthi Priya on February 16, 2016 at 4:40 PM

    Guys, who comment on consultancies here, are you aware that 95% of companies who give you full time will not provide h1 for you and they will not even reveal this for the employee initially. And do you think consultancies are making lots of money by placing you with clients. Do you have any idea how much consultancies will spend on you for your training, placement, for your h1 filing and for providing other benefits for you along with paying your taxes. Before you talk something try to have a complete picture on that and then say the things to others. Every year 70% of students without getting job they them self are approaching consultancies, if all the students get full time and get h1 filing why this many consulting companies exist in the market. Without fire we cant find smoke, even there are students who are interested to work with consultancies for their benefits. Before you say something try to find the truth in it. You will have a grace period of 90 days to get job from your opt start date, you will wait for 11 weeks and in the last 1 week you approach a consultancy for offer letter, isn’t that a mistake? your answer will be no, because you are in need to save your opt status to stay in US, because you read spending a lot of money on your education and you want to earn it back, if you are so much concerned why don’t you fly back to India after Master’s?

    • Sagar on February 17, 2016 at 2:29 PM

      Shanthi Priya , A Consultancy girl… I have reported your details to USCIS.. All the best..

      • Varun on March 9, 2016 at 12:44 PM

        Great work Sagar. It is because of such fools, hardworking and deserving students need to leave the course. Throw that illiterate out the country first.

    • Aareka on February 18, 2016 at 4:23 AM

      A good reply.

  106. Purnatosh Saha on February 12, 2016 at 4:22 PM

    I am currently holding my 17 months STEM OPT which will expire in March of 2017 and I have heard about the new OPT rule which will be activated on May 10, 2016. I recently went to Brazil to attend my company’s meetings and stayed there for a month (Jan 10-Feb 11, 2016). I was little bit worried about my return due to this new OPT rule. Believe me nothing was happened. It was a normal checking at the immigration checkpoint. Immigration officer didn’t even mention me about this new OPT rule. I just thought to share this experience with you all.

  107. Shubham on February 12, 2016 at 3:23 PM

    Hi Raghu,

    Now that the deadline has been extended until May 10, 2016 what are my options as my OPT expires in August and I am in huge dilemma whether to spell for an extension or apply for H1-B for FY 2017. What do you suggest?

    • Raghuram Sukumar on February 12, 2016 at 3:30 PM

      I’m hosting a webinar on Monday evening ( on H1B). Plese join the event.
      More info will be posted in this blog comments/post/email.

    • Srikanth on February 14, 2016 at 8:49 AM

      I am in the same kind of situation. My OPT expires in August and I don’t know whether to apply for a H1 or not.

  108. Prabha on February 12, 2016 at 12:37 PM

    Hey Raghu,

    Thank You so much for sharing this all info with us. It really helps us a-lot. I have a question for you. I am working on my OPT which expires in June 2016. I am working in a company who is not e-verify right now. I have filed my H1 Visa with this company. Now, they are saying that in case if I will not get H1 then they will participate in e-verify or may be not(not sure). So my question is can I apply for my extension after H1-B results? How late I can apply for that? Please I need your help. Please respond. Thank You so much.Looking for your response.

  109. AM on February 9, 2016 at 10:21 PM

    One thing I am a bit confused about is that in new proposed rule the 17 month STEM OPT is extended to 24 month. Now will the current STEM OPT extension holder will also be eligible for 24 month or will they be only eligible for 17 month only with only new STEM OPT extension applications that come after new rule comes in affect being eligible for 24 month?

  110. Shyam S on February 9, 2016 at 11:17 AM

    How long does OMB usually take to approve rules and when will this become effective now that it is not economically significant? I am an OPT student whose OPT ends in May. I am confused if I should apply right away or wait for the rule to be published. Basically, I dont want to be caught in the interim period where I have applied and the rule then goes into effect.
    Thanks for all the help Raghu.

    • Neeharika Naidu on February 9, 2016 at 3:40 PM

      Hi Raghu,

      I am in same boat. I am sure, there could be few other students whose OPT is about to expire in May. My OPT is expiring exactly on May 10th. I am confused on whether to go ahead and apply for the OPT STEM Extension or wait until the new rule gets published. I have asked this question earlier and you have pointed me to

      This blog is discussing about the STEM Extension Fee (on how to save money without applying twice). I am not at all worried about application fee and my company will sponsor any fee.

      Looking for your valuable advise on whether to go ahead and apply for STEM Extension immediately or not. I am waiting with all documents in hand.

      Thanks for all the guidance.

      • Raghuram Sukumar on February 9, 2016 at 4:09 PM


        I will do a video with analysis on Procs vs Cons. Sound good?

        • Neeharika Naidu on February 9, 2016 at 6:40 PM

          Thank you very much Raghu. Seems great. I will be waiting for that video.

      • Aditya on February 9, 2016 at 6:09 PM


        Apply as soon as you can. Do not wait for the new rule. Before the court granted extension, the rule was about to end on 12th Feb, my OPT expired on 4th Feb. I too was in a dilemma whether to apply or wait for the new rule.
        It was good that I applied as it was approved and I got the new card. Just apply, the extension granted is for people to apply so that no GAP is created. If you do not apply and if in case the new rule is not published on time, you would be in a soup for sure.

        • Neeharika Naidu on February 10, 2016 at 2:53 PM

          Hi Aditya,

          Thank you very much for your suggestion. Appreciate your willingness to share your personal experience. As on this moment, I have all the documents and just waiting for the video from Raghu before I post them to USCIS.

          • Raghuram Sukumar on February 10, 2016 at 2:56 PM

            I will work on the video today. Sorry. Was jam packed till midnight yesterday.

          • Raghuram Sukumar on February 11, 2016 at 9:31 AM


            I had 15 minutes today morning to record your video and I did. When I saw the recording, it was missing Audio :(. In short, go ahead and apply for 17 Months STEM OPT. I will record another one today evening.

          • Neeharika Naidu on February 14, 2016 at 10:05 PM

            Hi Raghu,

            Thank you very much for the video, which is very informative and helpful. I am also thankful to your support during this difficult phase.

          • Raghuram Sukumar on February 14, 2016 at 10:23 PM

            You are welcome.

  111. Kumar on February 8, 2016 at 4:26 PM

    Thanks Raghu, Great job again in keeping lakhs of students up to date. Thank you very much. Looking forward to hear the final rule updated on the website soon.

  112. Linda Lin on February 8, 2016 at 10:43 AM

    I am getting confused now. Will current OPT STEM extension be invalid after Feb 13?

  113. Karan on February 5, 2016 at 12:12 PM

    WashTech has appealed back to the court on the recent STEM litigation. Check immigrationgirl. Raghu, can you please throw some light on this?

    • Adithya on February 6, 2016 at 10:39 PM

      Looks like the Final rule is submitted to OMB.

      I see that it says not Economically Significant. Does this rule still need 60 days to go into effect ?

      • Sree153 on February 7, 2016 at 8:30 PM This link shows that

        This rule has been published in the following Unified Agenda(s):
        Fall, 2015
        Spring, 2015

        Does that mean that this rule will be applicable only for the students who completed their masters during this term?

        • Raghuram Sukumar on February 8, 2016 at 7:35 AM

          Agenda is to give an idea of when the rule is expected to be published. It’s like 6 months plan. Don’t worry about that.

      • Sam on February 8, 2016 at 9:10 PM

        where is final new rule. Did they change anything after reviewing public opinions ?

  114. Abhishek Verma on February 3, 2016 at 11:17 AM

    Hi . Any new updates? What is DHS upto?

    • Sagar on February 4, 2016 at 2:04 PM

      So tired… taking rest

  115. Divya Engarsal on February 2, 2016 at 5:11 PM

    Hi, I’m on stem extension which is ending by October 2016. Is it okay for me to apply for h1b visa in the year 2017, given that there is additional 7 months now added to stem extension. If I get selected in 2017 lottery, should I go back to India in May 2017 and again come back in October or does the cap gap apply to that so that I can continue working till I get the visa in October 2017. My F 1 is ending by May 2017.

  116. Sagar on February 2, 2016 at 2:19 PM

    Question on Labor Condition Application :

    I have applied H1 last year with LCA,But my petitions didn’t pickedup in lottary.

    Wondering whether my employer need to to get LCA again for applying H1 this year.

    Please comment on this..

    • Raghuram Sukumar on February 2, 2016 at 2:29 PM

      H1B LCA is not a big issue. It’s week long process.

  117. Neeharika Naidu on January 30, 2016 at 11:44 PM

    Hi Raghu,

    I am in to a unique kind of situation. I am working for a top MNC in bay area on OPT. My OPT is expiring exactly on May 10th. I am already in to the 120 days eligible window for applying OPT stem extension. As you have posted, DHS has deadline till May 10th for the new rule to get in to effect. I am confused on when to apply for STEM extension. Please let me know, is it better for me to wait till the new rule gets published or apply immediately now without worrying about the new rule?

    I am also worried, what if the new rule gets published immediately after I mail my documents for OPT stem extension to USCIS. My application without Mentor details (the new rule with 24 months STEM extension has some conditions about having mentor..etc) may get stuck with out any decision with USCIS.

    Your suggestion is very valuable and greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance.

  118. Sumit on January 29, 2016 at 8:37 PM

    Hi Raghu,

    Is there any possible movement by DHS in ragards of final publication of new STEM OPT rule? They have only three months to complete the process. What can we expect?

    • Harshil on January 29, 2016 at 9:19 PM

      Not 3 months….the deadline is March 10….since the rule is economically significant….the final rule should be published 2 months in advance before it comes into effect….

    • Raghuram Sukumar on January 30, 2016 at 10:17 AM

      They would have to publish the rule before March 10.

      • Dey on January 30, 2016 at 10:14 PM

        Hi Raghu,
        Thank you for helping so many people out there. I appreciate your knowledge and help in this matter. I have a question.

        I already spent around 4.9 years in USA in L1B before switching to F1. Now I am working on OPT which about to End in May. My company is could help me applying H1B this year, but I can’t work more than 14 months on H1B (6 yrs max cap (L1B + H1B)) if that is approved.

        So should I apply H1b or go ahead with the opt extension? The idea is to work on opt extension will buy me more time and I can file H1B next year. My company doesn’t apply Labor cert so soon so that I can extend H1B.

        Could you please suggest. Thank you, in advance.

        • Raghuram Sukumar on January 30, 2016 at 10:29 PM

          I don’t like ypur plan. What guarantees do you have getting H1B next year?

          • Dey on January 30, 2016 at 10:40 PM

            Thank you for your reply!!!

            I was thinking if the new OPT rule is implemented, it would be give me 2 chances to apply H1B (2017 and 2018 (24 months))

            Would you suggest something based on my situation? I am very sure that you have seen so many situation in past, that you could come with a good suggestion.

      • Sagar on February 2, 2016 at 11:13 AM

        I don’t think they would.
        They haven’t started reviewing comments from December 2015.

        Not sure what is running in their mind.

        • Aditya on February 2, 2016 at 11:38 AM

          Comments from dec 2015? What are you talking about.

          • Sagar on February 2, 2016 at 2:20 PM

            New OPT Rule public comments

  119. Srikanth on January 29, 2016 at 10:34 AM

    Even I do not encourage anyone here in the blog to target a particular community or location. This current situation is purely due to the people who are here since last 15 to 20 years and they made things worst by starting all these things and establishing consulting firms.

    Due to which students who are coming to US recently have to follow their path or join their firms as every student can’t be intelligent enough to gain MS in MIT, Stanford, Carnegie and get a full time.

    I even see many of the employers are not recruiting people as Full time employees instead recruit contractors as the chance of them getting picked in H1 is very less and it would be waste of time in investing on them for 2 years if they are going to leave due to work authorization.

    • Sree153 on January 29, 2016 at 12:57 PM

      Yes I do agree with this. No student would like to fall into the trouble by faking their resume and undergo all the struggle to reach clients expectations and act as an experienced guy.

      Its the consulting people who encourage the students to fake their resume in order to get good billing and which would benefit them as most of them work on percentage basis.

      The first good thing to happen in order to stop all this shit is to stop encouraging these firms who are making business out of innocent students lives.

  120. Dhige on January 28, 2016 at 2:18 AM

    Someone up the wire commented about South Indian labourer.
    You should not encourage such comments.That fellow talked about morals, ethics and the same fellow now begging to get married to US citizen(his own cousine sister almost like his own sister) for VISA.This shows who is what……..
    South Indians are sincere,humble, hard working people often unlawfully discarded by north Indians and hence are going to Australia, Canada, Europe and middle east for their bread and butter.
    That fellow do not hesitate to ask his own mother to marry for US VISA.

    • AM on January 29, 2016 at 11:59 AM


      I totally agree with your opinion about the guy posting unacceptable comments about South Indians and suggest Raghu to remove such comments which are not serving any purpose and in fact are creating divide among people.

      I myself have many South Indian friends and I know how much humble and hard working they are (some of the best people I have met) BUT then posting comments like “often unlawfully discarded by north Indians” you yourself are following the line of the NON-INDIAN guy who posted against South Indians. I don’t know when we will stop accusing ourselves. Please I request you to refrain from making such accusations.

    • Abishek Patel on January 31, 2016 at 4:10 PM

      I am a North Indian, went to a prestigious private school in North India and obtained a full scholarship to study in an Ivy league college in USA. After my doctoral degree I got green card via NIW. From my experience, USA respect people who are ethical, professional. and law abiding.

      Unfortunately, I don’t see such virtue among the majority of South Indians. This is clearly evident by the recent mess they have done when it comes to STEM OPT and H-1b programs. For example, illegally working in gas stations, motels, faking their resumes to get IT jobs, body shops, duplicating applications for the H-1b. All these unprofessional and unlawful practices have encourage US public and authorities to scrutinize and have more firm regulations! It is unfortunate that where ever South Indians go they shit everywhere. I am ashamed to share the same nationality with you guys! Before studying java or .NET you guys need to get some lessons on how to live ethically and lawfully.

      • Harsha Sharma on February 1, 2016 at 10:59 AM

        Hi Abishek,

        To begin with I am a so called North Indian!
        It is literally shameful that you generalize situations like this and blame it on to one whole community without thinking that not all South Indians are involved in it. May I ask how do you know that the people working at restaurants, gas stations etc etc are all South Indians? Also, not all people had the privilege to attend a private school or an Ivy League in their career doesn’t mean they are any less than you I bet there would be thousands out there who are smarter than you and at least have a better sense of respect for other cultures than you. At times there are circumstances which make people take decisions to work in these off campus places do you know everyone’s story. NO! So how about show some of your learning from the private school and Ivy College and show some respect to other cultures. People like you who discriminate based on culture of their own country, what would you be respecting the American culture anyways who have nicely given you a green card to be a part of them. Think about the Americans who might think like the same for you!! That you are an outsider who took a green card and now taking away their jobs. Would you really like that??

        I agree there are some who take illegal ways without any good reason and that is the problem but it doesn’t mean they are South Indians. There might be some who are there from the same culture, caste and place from India as you.. oh probably from the same prestigious school and Ivy college too that have succumbed to situations and are working illegally to earn the money they have lost atleast before returning! Its all circumstances and situations dude, and it doesn’t matter then which college and school you have graduated from. Sometimes the best of the students from the best of the colleges find themselves in a situation where they hold on to the last leaf they see without knowing or knowing what they are getting into. So try be kind, nice and empathetic than rude and snob even after all the education you got! By the way the forum you are using is also a site run by a Indian who lives in the South I am assuming. Who has allowed your comment to be posted and not discriminated against it.

        P.S. I am in good visa status and not a one working illegally! Just an Indian who was bothered by the rudeness and discrimination.


      • AM on February 1, 2016 at 12:09 PM

        @Abhishek Patel

        I am neither a North Indian nor a South Indian. I am just an Indian and it really saddens me to see that stupid people like you have nothing to do but to discriminate. You know one of the reasons why even after 68 years of Independence we as a Country have not been able to develop to the potential that we have? Its because we waste our precious time and energy on fighting among ourselves and that too now on social media as well. North Indians will keep on accusing South Indians, South Indians will keep on accusing North Indians and this whole thing will keep going on and on. It seems that everyone thinks that they are the most ethical,honest persons while the its the people of other region that do wrong things. Well news flash my friend – Its not limited to a particular region. I have seen plenty of North Indians taking the wrong shortcut and so have people from South India. Hell I have seen other foreign nationals as well doing the same thing.

        So please take your so called Ivy league degree and all the money you saved from scholarship, make a pillow out of it and sleep tight on your bed. Just don’t puke out your bullshit here or anywhere else. For me such an education from an Ivy league is of no worth if it cannot teach me how to be humble and not discriminate among others.

      • Andrey Namestnikov on February 5, 2016 at 12:33 PM

        Hey man, I know a lot of cases of illegal working and faking resumes, and it is definitely not about Indian person or not. There was folk from Russia, Ukraine, Bangladesh, Middle Asia. You have something personal wit Northern Indians, or you just don`t know statistics ? I was working on a construction in NYC, next building there was a Sikh folk guys. So nice! So pleasant. Even if they abused the law and violated restrictions, they had more virtue and ethics then anybody. So it is not about the rules and following them. I know about 8 US citizen families making cash by some ways, hiding their money from IRS and getting welfare (your taxes, my ethical GC holder;) ). Is it ethical ? Is it about North, south, east, west? What is better ? At least those who`s working at the gas stations – working hard , and not asking any help form US Gov.

  121. ShrePer on January 27, 2016 at 10:39 PM

    Travel Concern

    Hey all,

    I have my case received for my STEM extension on 10th November and haven’t seen an update till now. I am planning to go to India on 4th March and wanted suggestions on this. I would cancel the tickets if the card doesn’t reach on time. What are the chances that i could get the card by that time. Any suggestions appreciated.


    • Rahul on January 28, 2016 at 9:16 AM

      You can call USCIS after 75 days of your application. They will give the status in 15 days. I called them last week and got my card mail today.

      Hope this help

      • ShrePer on January 28, 2016 at 6:38 PM

        Thanks Rahul, much appreciated for your time and comment. I contacted USCIS customer care and a ticket was assigned on this and she told if there is no call from the corresponding USCIS center within 15 to 30 days i need to contact her again. If this is the case i am worried if i would get the card by March 4th. Fingers crossed and hoping for the best.

  122. Pooja on January 27, 2016 at 10:37 AM

    Hi Raghu,
    I appreciate all the efforts you take to keep us updated on new rules. Thank you so much.
    I have a question about Stem OPT. My OPT is expiring on 5th Feb 2016 and still waiting for my extension. My office wants to know about the 180 day rule. Whether I can work without an extension for 180 days if I have applied for Stem extension on time. I have submitted the letter of confirmation which I got from USCIS to my office. I also called USCIS to get an update regarding my case, so the call representation confirmed to me that I can work for 180 days without a work permit. I asked him how can I convey this information to my Office HR, he said My office HR can call USCIS in my presence and we can confirm this rule to them verbally. The next day my HR schedules a call with USCIS in my presence and the call representative on the other side is not aware of this rule and denies the fact that I can work for 180 days after the expiry. I hope I have not confused you. Can you just confirm if I can work for 180 days after my OPT expires. If yes How do I convey this information to the office. Please note they also have the Q&A document about the same from USCIS website. Thank you so much for your help

    • Aditya on January 27, 2016 at 12:09 PM


      Get your office to verify your I9. Give them your receipt number.

      Yes. Your work authorization is automatically extended for up to 180 days while the 17-month STEM extension application is pending. There is not interim documentation of the extended authorization. If your employer needs information about what documents to collect as proof of extended work authorization, please refer to them to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services I-9 Central .
      For additional information, you can refer them to the optional practical training policy guidance issued by the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (under Immigration and Customs Enforcement). The relevant section is 8.4.2.

      Hope this helps. Also, the HR should know all this stuff.

      • Pooja on January 27, 2016 at 5:00 PM

        Aditya you are awesome! I forwarded the pdf copy of OPT policy ( to our HR highlighting section 8.4.2. She forwarded the same to our company lawyer and she accepted my stay for no more than 180 days after the expiry of my OPT. Thanks a lot. It made my day 🙂

    • Sumit Dhama on January 27, 2016 at 12:38 PM

      Hi Pooja,

      I wrote the below statement to legal advisor arranged by employer and it works well.

      “I would like to inform about work authorization, I called USCIS twice and told them about OPT EAD expiration on 1/08/2016. USCIS has confirmed that I am still eligible to work for no more than 180 days as if my application of OPT STEM extension of 17 months is in process. I can wait for my 17 month STEM extension approval no longer than 180 days (6 months) after 01/08/2016. So far I am good and safe. USCIS suggest me that your employer can verify anytime. Also, If urgent, I can visit nearest USCIS office for any documentation. Please find my receipt ######### (I797C) of STEM OPT application in attachment.

      Please refer to below note:

      What is the application process for the 17-month STEM extension?
      • The student files Form I-765 with USCIS, Form I-20 endorsed by the DSO, a copy of the STEM degree, and the required application fee. (already done on 30th October 2015)
      • Form I-765 is being amended to require the student to indicate the degree and provide the employer’s E-Verify information. (already done)
      • If their post-completion OPT expires while the 17-month extension application is pending, students who timely filed their STEM extension applications with USCIS will receive an extension of employment authorization after their current employment authorization expires, but for no more than 180 days.



      F-1 OPT STEM Extension
      A foreign student who received a bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degree in science, technology, engineering or mathematics (STEM) may apply for a one-time, 17-month extension of his or her OPT while in a period of post-completion OPT.STEM students must work for an employer enrolled in E-Verify in good standing. A STEM student may change employers, but the new employer must be enrolled in E-Verify before the student begins work for pay. The following documents establish the student’s identity and employment authorization and should be recorded under List A in Section 2 of Form I-9:
      • EAD or
      • Expired EAD which is considered unexpired because the STEM extension application is still pending. This EAD:
      o Must be presented with Form I-20 endorsed by the Designated School Official recommending the STEM extension
      o Acceptable for 180 days from the expiration date on the card
      o Must be reverified after 180 days
      If the student presents an expired EAD, described above, the employer should:
      • Record the document title
      • Record the document number
      • Record the date the EAD expired in the expiration date space
      • Write “180-day Ext.” in the margin of Section 2

      When the 180-day extension expires, the employer should reverify the employment authorization. “

      Hope it will be helpful!

      • Pooja on January 27, 2016 at 5:02 PM

        Sumit I really appreciate your time in giving detail explanation on my case. My company has accepted this rule. Thanks a lot! 🙂

        • Sumit Dhama on January 28, 2016 at 9:21 PM

          Hi Pooja,

          I am glad that it helped you. Just to aware you, USCIS have already mailed my OPT STEM card on January 25th 2016 as I applied on October 30th 2015 (87 days processing). Hopefully, you will be getting it sooner.


    • Matt on January 27, 2016 at 12:42 PM

      this is the link to the usicis website .You can find releveant information
      in the following link

      Check under
      What is the application process for the 17-month STEM extension?

      • Pooja on January 27, 2016 at 5:03 PM

        Matt thanks a lot. My company has accepted this rule. 🙂

    • Asmi on January 27, 2016 at 1:11 PM

      Hi Pooja,

      My employer didn’t know about the 180 day rule as well. Here is the link I gave them (DHS website).
      I also gave them the USCIS receipt as a proof that I applied for extension on time.
      Hope this helps.

      • Pooja on January 27, 2016 at 5:04 PM

        Ashmi, My company has accepted this rule. Thanks a lot! 🙂

  123. Bennett on January 27, 2016 at 9:29 AM

    Raghuram Sukumar why don’t you comment about the illegal and unethical practices of Desi Consultancies. More than 50% of Indian F1 students are doing that .

  124. Sud on January 27, 2016 at 1:40 AM

    My OPT is valid till 30 June 2016. Now, can I apply for STEM extension?

    • Sumit Dhama on January 27, 2016 at 8:37 AM

      You may apply not before April 30th 2016. As per rule, you have 90 days before expiration of first OPT but you cannot apply before 90 days too.

      • Rahul on January 27, 2016 at 10:47 AM


        per my DSO, it is 120 days before OPT expiration, you can apply for extension. Please check with your DSO.

      • Karan on January 27, 2016 at 11:17 AM

        Just to correct, its not April 30th, but March 30th. She should apply by March 30th in order to get her chance of approval before June, 30th.

  125. Mohan on January 26, 2016 at 3:43 PM

    I am not an Indian. I have a non-IT related STEM OPT extension and did not pay a SINGLE penny for my education in USA. All were paid by US tax payers because of my academic performance.
    I am really appalled by what the majority of South Indian who are into IT are doing in USA., students as well as their employers.The most important thing is to be professional, have good morals and being law abiding. You guys are so cheap that the US government has to amend their own laws to safe guard foreign students interests in USA.
    You guys are warning each others not to submit multiple H-1b applications because of fear of deportation! NOT because it is ethically and professionally NOT correct! I don’t believe South Indian IT students and their scum has any sort of good morals and ethics. If USA welcome the scum of South India then in no time this great country which is rooted on ethics, equality and especially non-discrimination on age, color, cast will become a slum like India. Shame on you all South Indian IT laborers!!

    • JD on January 27, 2016 at 6:12 PM

      @whosoever this stupid guy is

      ” this great country which is rooted on ethics, equality and especially non-discrimination on age, color, cast”

      Well your whole post itself contradicts the praises you laid down about our country.

      PS: I am not a South Indian or for a matter of fact Indian

  126. Sumon on January 26, 2016 at 3:36 PM

    Hi everyone, congratulations to those who are getting benefited from the decision that court made, hopefully everyone will be in a good shape for this decision. Thanks happyschools and Ragu for all the updates.

    My case is a little different. My 17 month OPT extension is expiring in 23rd March, 2016 (7 days before H-1B filing), and I was really hoping this rule would come into effect before that, but now looks like they extended the deadline till May 10. I know I will probably not be benefited by this 24 months OPT extension anymore, but can anyone please let me know if there is any chance that I can be benefited if the rule comes into effect before May 10?

    This thing is hurting me even more because I was about to get an offer from a good company, but when they learnt about my OPT expiration, they are hesitant now and I am assuming I will not get the offer.


    • Raghuram Sukumar on January 26, 2016 at 4:48 PM

      In order to apply for that 7 months, you follow the same deadlines ( apply before STEM OPT Expires). In your case, your OPT would have expired. But, let’s see if they address this in the final rule.

      • Sumon on January 26, 2016 at 7:20 PM


    • Sumit Dhama on January 26, 2016 at 5:49 PM

      Hi Sumon, I understand your situation. I would recommend you to apply for college and you will be eligible for working full time on CPT. It is personal matter to maintain CPT/OPT untill april 1 ( H1b filling date) and then you may get H1B CAP GAP. Please, research about the colleges those who can provide CPT from very first day. Also, keep in mind, the deadline for march 4th session is Febraury 15th only.
      You may work for no more than 9 months on CPT.

      • Sumon on January 26, 2016 at 7:19 PM

        Hi Sumit

        Thank you for your reply. I applied in a school in the same place where I am working now, but the problem is, the company from which I am expecting offer, they have some certain policy and I am not sure hiring someone in CPT will be in their policy. Also, if I could cover up those 7 days I wouldn’t have to worry about spending a huge amount of money to go to school again.

  127. nmtc on January 26, 2016 at 3:04 PM

    Hi Raghu,

    Thanks so much for keeping us updated – your blog has been such a helpful and timely source of news on this whole issue.

    I wonder if you (or anyone else) might have an idea about this: so if the court has granted a stay on vacatur until May 10th, do you think it is safe to assume that by that deadline DHS will implement a new rule, and that any existing STEM OPT will remain valid past May 10th until originally intended expiration date?

    I plan to work in the US until August 2016 and originally my STEM OPT is supposed to be valid until November 2016. I wonder if it is advisable to stay on STEM OPT with the hope that DHS will be able to sort this all out, or if I should proceed with a plan B to apply for a different type of visa (the only reason for hesitation on plan B is cost, and time lost on unpaid leave back in my home country to wait on the consulate).

    • Raghuram Sukumar on January 26, 2016 at 4:47 PM

      Approve. I will update the blog post with expected timeline based on what I know.

  128. Raghuram Sukumar on January 26, 2016 at 2:06 PM

    I’m going to interview a Tax Attorney next week to asking questions about Taxes specific to F1, H1B, OPT, STEM OPT Students.

    If you have any specific questions like this one –

    Please submit your questions via this Google Form –

    Tax Attorny is on H1B, so she knows the challenges faced by F1/H1B wrokers with respect to taxes.

  129. Sagar on January 26, 2016 at 10:41 AM

    It’s not official but Bad news to Consultancy people..

    USCIS/DHS is more concentrated on cleaning up the existing System than OPT Extension. Internal Sources indicates that after motion hearing on 21st Jan 2016, DHS/USCIS working on fixing broken H1 lottary system.

    Things make them to work on this:
    1. Comments in OPT Extension Rule
    2. WashTech Arguments on Motion Hearing

    Thats why they want this to be extended to May 10 2016 to help legit students, who graduated from Regional Accredited Universities and working Full time with US Companies(Not Consultancy companies) to get their H1 in April filing . and they want to use 2016 H1 Filing applicants details to identify and clean those firms and deport those students who indirectly helping them.

    • Uday on January 26, 2016 at 11:33 AM

      Why would they need to extend it till May 10th to weed out multiple H1 applications? They can just identify those that are applying multiple applications every year and black list them. Yes, DHS will be looking to fix the problem of multiple applications, but they don’t need this particular ruling to do that.

      Raghu can maybe further comment on this issue and legalities of it in a separate blog to guide all of us.

      • Sagar on January 26, 2016 at 12:32 PM

        In Past DHS/USCIS have more critical things to work on and fix than these Foreign students work authorizations. But due to WashTech Case and other circumstances came into picture, They are working on fixing these loop holes misusing by IT Consulting company using with fresh graduates.

        After Argument on Motion hearing, DHS decided to fix this issue , they realized that it wont fix with just OPT Extension Rule, It would fix by catching all people who misusing the current laws and rules . By doing this , WashTech workers would also be happy.

        Neither Raghu nor someone need to comment on legalities of this. because everyone knows that Fresh graduates are trapped by these IT Consulting companies and getting Americans Jobs with fake experience and fake resume. Its a open secret.
        USCIS/DHS knows about it. But Now , Its time to fix this…they are working on it.

    • blake b on January 26, 2016 at 1:00 PM

      Dude Sagar,

      Not sure from where you are getting all these news but all those students who are legitimate and hard working would benefit from these strict rules.

      But not sure how correct this is going to be and its not that easy to implement these rules in another 2 months for sure.

      • Sagar on January 26, 2016 at 1:48 PM

        They are not implementing any new rules or any new processes..
        They are just closing all loop holes and make existing rules to be strictly followed…

  130. Questions Answers on January 26, 2016 at 10:38 AM

    Hi Raghu,

    I need some clarification regarding H1B. It may sound dumb to some but please clarify.

    One of my friend has a job and working through a reputed consultancy A. There is another consultancy B who is interested in filing H1 for this friend of mine on the same job he has.

    Now my Questions are as follows.

    1) Can he file H1 for the same position he has with two different consultancies let say A and B on the same client/vendor letter?

    2)What is his case if both of the applications got picked and what if either one of them is picked?

    3) Is the above scenario considered as duplicate?

    Please reply as soon as possible.

    • Raghuram Sukumar on January 26, 2016 at 10:47 AM

      I have answered this maybe 500 times 🙂 Please search around the blog

    • Sagar on January 26, 2016 at 11:00 AM

      Good one.
      1. Apply from both.. Even though He apply H1 from either Firm A or Firm B. He will get cought because I am sure your friend MS degree is different and his work @client is different. even though it’s not,Other applications that firm A or Firm B submits will trouble your friend.

      2.I dont know about previous years , but this time, if he gets selected both, he will be in trouble as well as his firm A.

      3.Absolutely duplicate.. your friend is going to change his surname or legal name or passport number for firm B? and firm A?

      • Questions Answers on January 26, 2016 at 12:19 PM

        Can you please show me or direct me to the rule which states the same as you said.

        I have seen the interim rule which states as follows,

        If USCIS finds out that an employer is filing multiple petitions for the same potential employee, will USCIS disqualify that employer entirely?

        USCIS will handle all duplicate filings in accordance with the interim final rule published on March 24, 2008 in the Federal Register. USCIS will deny or revoke all petitions filed by an employer for the same H-1B worker if more than one is filing is discovered. If duplicate or multiple petitions are discovered, whether one or more such petitions are approved, USCIS will data enter all those duplicative petitions, retain all fees, and either deny the petitions or, if a petition was approved, revoke the petition. The petitions will not be returned to the petitioner.

        • Sagar on January 26, 2016 at 1:57 PM

          This is the one of the loop holes in 2008 Interim OPT Rule.
          This is how you guys(consulting firms) trap fresh graduates just came out of college and build this Fake system .

          It’s Time to clear and clean everything…

          • Questions Answers on January 26, 2016 at 2:16 PM

            Hello Sagar,

            This is not for me but my friend and I just want to know the in and outs of the rules for filing H1.

            I am working on fulltime and I have good status here in US.

  131. Surya on January 25, 2016 at 9:56 PM

    Thanks Raghu for the updates. My OPT is valid till June 2016. Will I be able to apply for STEM extension in February (4 months before the OPT end date). Or do I need to wait till the new rule is published?

    • Questions Answers on January 26, 2016 at 10:41 AM

      Hi Surya,

      Without the rule being regulated I don’t think you will be able to apply for the Extension. You will be able to apply for the extension once the rule is out and can do your job with out any gap even if your application is under process. Correct me if I am wrong?

  132. Arsh on January 25, 2016 at 4:33 PM

    Hi Raghu,

    This is good news. I have couple of questions about how things will work in the case I have explained below:
    I am on extended OPT till mid of next year(2017)
    1. H1B is filed by my company and does not get picked. What happens to my status on May 11,2016?
    2. H1B is filed by my company and gets picked up but might not necessarily know the result by May 10,2016?
    3 . H1B is filed by my company and gets picked up and I know the result. All happies.

    Thanks in advance.

  133. Sumit Dhama on January 25, 2016 at 1:27 PM

    HI Folks,

    I would like to share that my pending application of OPT STEM has been approved by today morning (January 25th , 2016). I applied for OPT STEM extension on October 30th, 2015. It took 85 days for my application to be approved. I appreciate DHS/USCIS for within time processing.


    • Olympus on January 25, 2016 at 2:33 PM

      @Sumit, was this for STEM extension. If yes, did you get the extension for 17 months ?

    • Olympus on January 25, 2016 at 2:33 PM

      @Sumit, was this for STEM extension. If yes, did you get the extension for 17 months ? And Congratulations !! 🙂

  134. Sagar on January 25, 2016 at 12:27 PM

    I heard from confidential sources that DHS and USCIS closely monitor H1 petitions this year for duplicate petitions and preparing everything to deport those people.

    Also They are making strong processes to follow while reviewing each petitions like , verifying where checks(H1 Fee) came from and those bank details to avoid Indian IT Body Shops.
    (Strict background checks were enforced this time.)

    DHS/USCIS madethese Internal strict Processing rules after reading the comments in New Proposed OPT Rule.

    If you came from regional accredited (Not national accredited ) school (MS) and working on FULL TIME job which is related to your MS course then you don’t need to worry about anything.

    So Becareful guys.. Dont submit multiple petitions. You might get deported.

    • Xingchi Leo on January 25, 2016 at 2:15 PM

      Sagar this sounds like a good news. Last year I wasn’t lucky enough … and I heard that was because duplicate petitions made it hard for some law abiding workers to be picked up in the H1B lottery. Can you share your sources?

      • Sagar on January 26, 2016 at 9:57 AM

        Its really good news. Hope they cleanup all consultancy people and take severe actions on those IT Body Shop companies.

        • Questions Answers on January 26, 2016 at 10:43 AM

          Hi Sagar,

          Can you explain in more detail about what is considered to be duplicate H1 application?

          • Sharma on January 26, 2016 at 11:06 AM

            A duplicate H1-B application indicates that one person is getting MORE THAN ONE H1-B application submitted for him (either through one consultancy or many consultancies). This is WRONG and DANGEROUS. It’s simple – you’re one person, so only ONE H1-B application for you should reach USCIS.

            Go and tell all the people you know. Thank you.

          • Questions Answers on January 26, 2016 at 12:20 PM

            Hi Sharma,

            Can you plese point me to the directive in any of the USCIS or DHS websites which details as you said?

          • Sagar on January 26, 2016 at 1:50 PM

            Its just commonsense to understand what is duplicate petition means.. which consulting firm you from?

    • Sharma on January 25, 2016 at 3:18 PM

      Yes, I too have heard of this. USCIS is coming to realize that they are being duped on a large scale, and if they catch any person or consultancy sending multiple applications — there might be dire consequences, which includes deportation and not accepting requests coming from this company ever again!

      So do not do this! Pls only submit one H1B application.

      Also, it’s morally wrong . How can you even think of doing this? Do you have no shame in life?!

      If you do this, you will never be truly happy again– remember that, as you are robbing so many people of an HONEST chance and happiness. So by your actions and the laws of the universe, YOU CAN NEVER BE HAPPY AGAIN.

      • Raghuram Sukumar on January 25, 2016 at 3:39 PM

        Duplicate petitions are in small numbers compared to 10,000 petitions or so that is applied by IT services companies. I doubt;t they would even use all the allocated H1B Visa.

        • Sagar on January 26, 2016 at 10:01 AM

          95 out of 100 MS Graduates Joining in Consultancy Company and getting job with fake experience and fake resumes in US Client companies. each student submit 4-5 (Average) petitions to USCIS for H1B Visa.

          So it’s Simple math for everyone to think , how many students graduating every semester and how many students are in lottary…

          I am sure it’s not 10,000 its more than 45,000 duplicate petitions.

        • Sharma on January 26, 2016 at 11:10 AM

          You’re the owner of this blog and a lot of people look up to you. You should take a strong stand against this nonsense. You should renounce duplicate H1-B applications in Caps Lock. What is wrong with you?

          • Raghuram Sukumar on January 26, 2016 at 2:17 PM

            @Sharma – Let me give you a real-life examples.

            Student 1 – Applying H1 for the first time after completing MS. This person is against duplicate petitions and applies via only one employer. Unlucky with the lottery. But, there’s one or two more chances.

            Students 2 – Applied for H1B twice during OPT. No luck. Joins school offering CPT. Applies for the third time, no luck. Then get’s married, wife in working in a different state. His school is one state, full-time job is at anotehr state. Now, person is doing 3rd Masters.

            Now, if you were that Student 2, you are likely to do whatever it takes to get H1B visa. I know folks who applied via 2 employers and got selected with both petitions. As much as I hate applicants doing multiple applications, if law is allowing, then individual person/family situation is what that’s going to dictate their needs and wants.

            Solution: USCIS should decide on how to handle the duplicate petitions.

          • Sagar on January 26, 2016 at 2:53 PM

            Raghuram Sukumar is right in his own way,
            He only answer/comment in general way, he neither support them nor discourage them.
            Every petitioner have their own story for filing multiple/duplicate petitions.
            but the truth is , the reason why they are in that situation is because of other people who apply multiple petitions.. its a chain….

          • Raghuram Sukumar on January 26, 2016 at 4:46 PM

            Sagar – Do you know the number of duplicate petitions during the years there was the lottery seasons? Can you dig them up and share here.

      • Sagar on January 26, 2016 at 10:21 AM

        If USCIS/DHS could take action on those IT Body Shop Companies, They no one need to worry about OPT or OPT Extension.

        Because there will be less number of petitions for H1 every year and everyone gets H1.

    • AM on January 25, 2016 at 8:39 PM

      I strongly believe that DHS and USCIS should start blacklisting such consultancy/IT service companies which send multiple applications for a single candidate just like they blacklisted some sham Universities here in US for visa and I-20 frauds. Even if they blacklist few popular ones I think its gonna scare others to think twice before doing such wrong things.

      • Sagar on January 26, 2016 at 10:19 AM

        Yes , They do

      • Sharma on January 26, 2016 at 11:26 AM


  135. Yuri Choi on January 25, 2016 at 11:19 AM

    I am kind of confused about this STEM news. Is this deadline applies to people who haven’t applied to STEM yet? Or people who are currently working as a OPT STEM? Because my OPT STEM expires in November of 2016 and I was worried if I won’t be able to work by February 10th.

  136. Dattaji on January 25, 2016 at 2:56 AM

    This is really good news. Many thanks to Raghu.. I have one doubt about issuing OPT extension card during Feb 13 to 10 May.. Can some one write more on Issuing EAD .

    • AS on January 25, 2016 at 1:07 PM


      Since the vacatur is extended till May 10, 2016 – all pending applications should be processed normally as before during Feb 13 – May 10. During Feb 13 to May 10, USCIS still has the usual authority to abdujicate opt cards.
      This is what I understand. Let me know if you have any other thoughts.

      • SH on January 25, 2016 at 6:47 PM


        However, I was wondering if we are still able to apply for OPT STEM extensions within the Feb 13-May 10 period. Do you think that USCIS will still entertain applications?

  137. SH on January 25, 2016 at 2:37 AM

    Are we still able to apply for OPT extensions, or is it too late? My EAD expires in June; It never crossed my mind to apply for an extension earlier last year.

  138. Priyanka on January 25, 2016 at 12:57 AM


    This is indeed a great news. I was wondering given this extension now what could be the timeline for further rule making steps to STEM?

  139. suresh on January 24, 2016 at 8:13 PM

    Good news. Thanks for the blog. Hopefully the OPT extension gets re-issued and extended to 24 months which is what thousands of students like me who had spent thousands of dollars in fees want!

  140. PS on January 24, 2016 at 7:12 PM

    This is absolutely good news! We’ll see what happens next. Hope OPT extension will be re-issued and extended to 24 months. Although I may not need it if I get my h1b this year, this is still very good news for many of my friends!

  141. ASN on January 24, 2016 at 6:25 PM

    Raghu, just wanted to thank you for maintaining this blog and keeping us informed and updated!

  142. Jia on January 24, 2016 at 11:54 AM

    Hi Raghu, thanks a lot for your updates. You are the first one (probably the only one) to report this! Thanks so much for your effort on keeping following-up!

  143. bb on January 24, 2016 at 3:54 AM

    Hi Raghu! Thank You for such prompt updates! Appreciate your dedication to this story. Just a quick note, the latest update still reads “At this time we don’t have an official confirmation from DHS on the validity of STEM OPT Extension beyond Feb 13, 2016. ” Can this be changed to May 10, just to avoid confusions?

  144. Sam on January 24, 2016 at 1:22 AM

    I’d be honest to say that while I did not like the negative tone of some comments here, without any doubt this blog was the first to report this big news! I don’t know how you did it but it came before even some big attorneys talked about it. Thanks for that!

  145. rd on January 24, 2016 at 1:01 AM

    If the deadline is pushed to May. 10th, can I travel outside of US to get a new visa in Feb.? I planned to go home in Feb. and return in March, before H1B application starts. But I don’t know if I can still keep my plan in this situation.

    • bb on January 24, 2016 at 3:51 AM

      I think you will be fine. I’m planning to travel for two weeks as well.

  146. Chandru Iyer on January 24, 2016 at 12:21 AM

    Goodwork Raghuram.Keep it up and all the best

  147. Sundar on January 23, 2016 at 11:42 PM

    Hi Raghuram,
    We have been a follower of this site for about 3 months. My wife was watching the site every 10 minutes from 21st. She was the first one to tell me that the court has extended the stay till May10th. I hope at that time you were uploading the Judge’s opinion order. I read the 13 page judgment and we have to really thank US judiciary for their foresightedness and in the equitable justice.DHS has fought the case with solid points, which is commendable and should thank DHS for their straightforwardness. I thank you very much and Immigration Attorney Murali for your continuous updates on this subject which has helped a lot. Let us hope that DHS will make the rule making process complete and publish the proposed rule before 25th Feb so that we will have 2 months cool off period and get the rule become a rule by 25th April so that we will have an buffer time of atleast 15 days before 10th May, so that the students concentrate on their work/research and continue to contribute to US Economy and the great US. All the best guys!

  148. Kumar on January 23, 2016 at 11:41 PM

    Hello Raghu,

    Currently I am in my opt stem and it will be expired next year April 2017 working full time for a firm. I am planning to travel to India for a vacation in February month and back to states on March first week. Is it OK and safe to travel to India with the current situation on the new opt stem rule?

    What are the documents to be carried with me for the same. Thanks in advance and looking for your response at earliest..!

  149. Nikhil on January 23, 2016 at 11:37 PM

    Hey Raghu, With no major news organisation covering this, you have been my only source of information. Thanks . Also if there is any way I can help support this blog and your efforts, I would be happy to do so.

    • Raghuram Sukumar on January 24, 2016 at 12:01 AM

      Thanks Nikhil. I know, there’s not of coverage.

  150. Kumar on January 23, 2016 at 10:53 PM

    Thanks raghu 🙂 You are doing a great job posting these updates from time to time. And do complete your dinner 😉

    • Raghuram Sukumar on January 23, 2016 at 11:13 PM

      Thanks Kumar. We are playing UNO now. Dinner is done.

      • Prasad Kollipara on January 24, 2016 at 12:10 AM

        Hello Raghuram

        Thanks for all your updates . We may get these followups from other sources too, but I personally feel that , you did a great job beyond them .

        Again, Thanks for your timely updates which are genuine .


        • Raghuram Sukumar on January 24, 2016 at 12:19 AM

          Thanks Prasad.

  151. Secura on January 23, 2016 at 10:00 PM

    Great news! . My application was pending for STEM OPT extension but it looks like due to the stay I will surely get my EAD in the next month or so.

    This time the judgement has said that they will not entertain any further requests for relief. Hope DHS is able to push the rule by March! .

  152. Noamaan Khan on January 23, 2016 at 9:57 PM

    Hi Raghu. Thank you very much for running this blog. Is there any clarity on what will happen to students whose OPT is expiring before May?

    • Raghuram Sukumar on January 23, 2016 at 10:01 PM

      I haven’t read the order yet. I will have a clear idea after reading the document.

      • Manasa on January 23, 2016 at 11:49 PM

        Where is the order accompanying this memorandum? Can you publish that here as well so we can read it?

  153. Nakul on January 23, 2016 at 9:41 PM

    Thanks Raghuram! Best News I heard since a long time now!

  154. loves #happySchools# on January 23, 2016 at 9:22 PM

    Thanks for update on OPT STEM extension.
    Thank you #HappySchools#

    • Raghuram Sukumar on January 23, 2016 at 9:29 PM

      Thanks 🙂

  155. Vasudeo Katti on January 23, 2016 at 9:16 PM

    Is it real? Where is the source?

  156. Sahil on January 23, 2016 at 8:41 PM

    Not sure how to react, no mention of the validity of EAD cards already issued.

    Good that this has happened thought.

    I understand by May 10, DHS will get a new rule for which it must publish final rule by March 10. Then the 60 day delay in execution.

    The court was very clear that no more relief will be granted.

    It seems it has just given people more time to prepare, but the drama will ensue.

  157. Alex on January 23, 2016 at 8:33 PM

    Good news!

    It is storm outside. And it is Saturday today. Is Judge working?
    Does anyone have clue about how the judgement coming? Is there any reliable source?

    • Raghuram Sukumar on January 23, 2016 at 9:33 PM

      I’m super fast. People blasted at me when I reported OPT was vacated. If you don’t trust me then you can wait for news to come slowly from other sources.

      • Sumit on January 23, 2016 at 11:30 PM

        You have been doing fabulous job. You should start consulting for US visa’s (you will be the top) and you are going to get huge bunch of references from our side (All opt stem aspirant’s) . I am glad that you devoted your precious time in favor of us. thanks so much!

        • Raghuram Sukumar on January 23, 2016 at 11:48 PM

          Thanks Sumit. I do help students prepare for F1 Visa interview to H4 visa holders to get to work.

  158. Mohammad Qudeisat on January 23, 2016 at 7:58 PM

    Congratulations everyone for our victory. It is a big relief. At least we will get a chance to apply for H1-B in the next lottery 🙂

    I would also like to take this chance ti thank Raghuram for his continuous work to keep us updated. Thank you very much 🙂

    • Anubhav on January 23, 2016 at 8:31 PM

      Thanks Raghuram Sukumar, you have really helped us a lot!

  159. SG on January 23, 2016 at 7:32 PM

    So does this mean that already issued 17 month EADs are valid through their full validity?

    Raghu, do could you please let us know if you have any update on that?

    • KK on January 23, 2016 at 7:51 PM

      The vacatur has been extended to may 10th which means existing EADs stay valid atleast till May 10th.

      • VS on January 23, 2016 at 9:06 PM

        As per the judgement it looks like the judge thought that its obvious that all EAD cards and applications for STEM extensions will be invalid after May 10 if the DHS cant make a new rule.

  160. Debu on January 23, 2016 at 7:26 PM

    Basically the judge quashed Miano and co. – so much for his foretelling!

    On the other hand, the judge did not state anything about the validity EADs that were granted before August 2015. I believe that was the other important aspect of DHS’ motion.

    • Masroor Mohammed on January 24, 2016 at 1:44 AM

      Well if you read the motion presented by DHS, they only asked for an answer in that regard if the judge decided not to grant them the extension. So in this case that she did grant them extension there is no point for her to go beyond that.

  161. Adrino on January 23, 2016 at 7:21 PM

    Does this mean we can work till May 10th?

  162. Ro on January 23, 2016 at 7:06 PM

    Any decision regarding the already approved STEM OPTs ??

  163. Prashanth on January 23, 2016 at 7:00 PM

    Fantastic! Thank you.

  164. Raghuram Sukumar on January 23, 2016 at 6:44 PM

    Judge Order is Out.. uploading the content now.

    • ssss on January 23, 2016 at 6:46 PM

      is it favorable ? any positive news ?

    • DC on January 23, 2016 at 6:59 PM

      So, just to make sure what I understood is right. We have gotten the three month extension, right?

      Thanks for all the stuff you have been doing, it is really helpful.

    • Harsha on January 23, 2016 at 7:02 PM

      Happiest day of my lifeeeeeeeeeeeeeee :p So relieved!!! my application was pending!

    • Santhosh on January 23, 2016 at 7:03 PM

      Thanks for update.

    • Debu on January 23, 2016 at 7:18 PM

      Thank you. This is the first place to report this.

    • Parth on January 23, 2016 at 7:52 PM

      Can you please share the source ?

      • Raghuram Sukumar on January 23, 2016 at 10:04 PM

        Maybe once all this is over 🙂

  165. Ashish on January 23, 2016 at 6:29 PM

    Hi Raghu,

    I am STEM OPT extension right now .I need to travel to India .Is it safe for me to travel now and come back before 12th Feb ? I am planning to travel on 26th Jan and come back on 6th Feb.

    • Ketaki on January 25, 2016 at 4:17 PM

      You can travel to India safely

  166. Swat on January 23, 2016 at 12:10 PM

    $$ dream of many STUDENTS is on the line and still mainstream media is not showing even a little interest in reporting this news & updates. It is perplexing .. They are still sticking to news which hardly make sense. Any clue ??

    • Sahil on January 23, 2016 at 2:14 PM

      No idea, this lack of coverage has caused me a lot of trouble though, i.e. in making others believe this was a real problem, even after hearing this news.

  167. Ravi on January 23, 2016 at 5:26 AM

    I read in the earlier comments that John Miano was “expecting a quick decision from the judge”. Shows he can be dead wrong.

    • Gunes on January 23, 2016 at 6:26 PM

      You guys are all aware that John Miano represents WashTech in this case right? I don’t think it is not reasonable to cite him as a reliable source. BTW my wife just got her STEM OPT extension approved yesterday. So yes USCIS still grants OPT extensions.

  168. Secura on January 23, 2016 at 3:29 AM


    Please reply to the comment if you have applied and your STEM OPT extension application is currently pending with USCIS. I am pretty sure my application would not be processed before Feb 12 .

    Now I am wondering should I wait for the court decision or expedite it. Worried if the court would deem the already processed EADs valid and cancel all the pending/future applications.

    The only risk in expediting OPTs are that sometimes they in fact delay the application, In this case a delay would not harm much because we can continue to work on pending applications for 180 days. But if we do not try to expedite , worried about the situation in which the court may ask USCIS to cancel all the pending applications and halt the STEM OPT program for sometime.

    Please reply to the comment if you have a serious opinion, lets brainstorm solutions.

    What do you guys think ? I am going to prepare documents to expedite next week.

    • Sumit Dhama on January 23, 2016 at 9:50 AM

      Hi Secura,

      I am in the same situation of pending application for STEM OPT extension. I applied on 30th October last year. I have already confirmed from USCIS service center that processing time is actually 90 days (more or less), and we already can continue work no longer than 180 days but if you need to clarify something, you may visit the nearest USCIS office in your area.

      As, we are allowed to put a inquiry on our pending application if it has already awaited more than 75 days (that’s all we can do to make it quick), I have already put a request and response is that USCIS will give feedback on or before 12th February. Hopefully, I will get my EAD before 12th February.

      It is much better to talk to your employer or immigration lawyer, in order to keep yourself ready for worst situation ( I believe not so). I hope that will help.


      • AS on January 23, 2016 at 9:08 PM


        Why do you need to expedite your process now considering the vacatur is stayed until May, 10th 2016.

        As far as I see it now, USCIS will continue to process pending applications up until May 10, 2016 even if no new rule comes from DHS. So there would not be any real reasons for you to expedite the process! Right?

        Let me know what you think, I am in the same situation.


  169. MB on January 23, 2016 at 12:32 AM

    if the court vacates the order then does it only affect the 17 month OPT STEM extension clause or does it also affect the first 12 months of OPT (STEM or non-STEM) ? I ask since, I applied for my OPT in Nov (not extension, just for the first 12 months) and still have not received my EAD.

  170. karthik on January 22, 2016 at 5:12 PM

    The way I see it is that even if the court does find merit in the argument against the STEM extension, it only makes sense for it to be phased out over time and not suddenly. They have to take into account those who have planned for years thinking they can use the extension. So even if they decide to do away with it, it is only fair that they obviously let those currently on the extension to continue. And maybe disallow the new proposed rule, but at least let the 17 month extension continue till a future specified date say Dec 31 2016 after which no more new applications are to be accepted. So that people can at least plan accordingly.

    • Olympus on January 22, 2016 at 6:35 PM

      The court never questioned the STEM extension rule, just how the rule was implemented. The court asked DHS to rectify that or else the existing rule will be nullified which means the 17th months STEM extension rule will cease to exists, hence no new students can apply for that.

      What the court didn’t say clearly was – what will happen to those who have already been given the extension ? And still is not clear.

      DHS in a single shot wanted to not only rectify the previous mistake but also within this time span tried bringing in the new rule- all in good faith I believe, but failed to meet the deadline. So as per my understanding, there will definitely be a STEM Extension since the court never had an objection to it, but NO ONE including DHS knows what will happen to those(including myself) who already have taken that extension.

  171. Doberman on January 22, 2016 at 3:47 PM

    Tik tok tik tok….

    1. Court grants DHS 3 month extension- Most of the employers/ employees want to apply for H1B this April.
    2. Court says OPT extension is valid 17/24 months- Everyone happy and become more productive at work
    3. Negative – Court says none and Feb 12- Not everyone happy- Question is how amny employers still want to pursue the H1B application when F1 OPT student is out of valid visa status? It’s kind f frustrating….have to talk to my employer! Any thoughts?

    • Tony on January 22, 2016 at 4:57 PM

      If someone goes out of status in this case, the company should be willing to relocate them to an office outside USA, process H1B and bring them back. This is a little tough, unless the person is extremely valuable.

    • Bernardo on January 22, 2016 at 5:09 PM

      I am in the exact same situation. Just got the info to begin with the H-1B process.

      John Merino is stating in his blog that the judge was “very cagey”. They are probably as nervous as we are. A decision of the judge has a direct economic impact on the US, and the judge knows that.

      Let’s be a little bit positive. I explained the situation to my boss and he literally stated: “I don’t believe anything is going to happen”.

      Also, before quoting this guy, John Merino… remember he is THE ONE who put us all in this struggling by carrying WashTech suing to court…

      • Olympus on January 22, 2016 at 6:42 PM

        Regarding H1, the process begins on April 1 and by that time, if the extension is not approved or existing students get their EAD cancelled, wont we go out of status ?

        • Bernardo on January 23, 2016 at 12:04 AM

          Maybe. However, everyone I have been talking to, including one immigration lawyer, seriously doubt removing legally conferred work permits can even be done. At the most, they will probably stop issuing new EADs until the new rule is in place. I am just speculating.

          Anyways, even though the H1b lottery is in april, you’d better start preparing the paperwork required as soon as possible. There is a bunch of paperwork required, and if we end up not being out of status, you’d probably be late to submit the application for the lottery.

          • Sumedh on January 23, 2016 at 1:58 AM

            EADs are still being issued. I got my EAD mailed yesterday.

    • Secura on January 22, 2016 at 5:18 PM

      Hi Folks,

      Considering the fact that we can’t expect a decision soon . I want some advice from folks on this thread. My STEM OPT application is pending with USCIS and they received it on December 15.

      It doesn’t look likely that I will receive it anytime soon. I had a few questions on this

      1. If the STEM OPT extension does get vacated on Feb 12 , what happens to the pending EADs ? Are they still going to process the pending EADs till Feb 12 ?

      2. My worry is that they might allow people who already have the approved STEM OPT to work and just cancel/reject the pending / future applications .
      In this situation I was planning to expedite the OPT

      If the STEM OPT does get cancel and it affects everybody including folks who have received their EADs , then it would not matter much as even if I do receive my card by February 12 , I would still have to leave the US.

      Any experiences here to expedite STEM OPT ?

      • Raghuram Sukumar on January 22, 2016 at 5:45 PM

        There’s no premium processing like to speed up the OPT approval process. EAD card processing time is approximately 90 days.

        • Secura on January 22, 2016 at 6:03 PM

          Hi Raghu,
          There is infact , . Just that I am wondering which creteria to follow. Most expedites I have seen are in the financial reason , but I am already in a job . Not sure if I can quote the Feb 12 ruling to expedite it.

          I think it is worth taking the risk and try for expediting the OPT.

          Though I feel , DHS would keep the pending EADs in process , but one never knows what they are going to do .

          • NKP on January 22, 2016 at 7:47 PM

            I am in the same Boat.
            What reason we can say to expedite the OPT application, since we are already working on OPT, we can’t claim financial loss to a person or company.
            (one can work for 180, if STEM OPT application is on processing –> so we can’t ask them to expedite on this reason)

            Can’t USCIS bring this new rule into affect by May 2016 ?
            The case right now in hearing will affect the rule making process of STEM OPT ?

      • Aditya on January 22, 2016 at 5:47 PM

        You cannot expedite. Just wait and watch.

      • sds on January 22, 2016 at 5:58 PM

        Well for now as no information is given my uscis about EAD cards validity officially you can continue to work after 12th , how many of you follow this blog 5000 what about the rest , they dont even know what’s going on , unless specified by the dso or uscis specifically best is DHS or uscis , you can work , so don’t worry guys , wait for their guidance after the rule , like I called the customer care last day and they didnt even mention about that aspect yet , so calm down people , incase of a disaster , uscis will guidance to those people with pending or already valid opt extension EAD cards ,

        And if nothing works out then go back to india , i dont understand that why are you guys so afraid to go back home , go somehwere else canada , NZ , many other options

        • Raghuram Sukumar on January 22, 2016 at 6:08 PM

          I know folks who are in OPT and have no clue on what’s going on with rulemaking. As a side note, if you are looking for Canada ( entering vi PR), I can help. I recently referred a long time blog follower to an attorney, who advised him with Canadian PR. He got invited to apply for Express Entry.

          • Akshat Agrawal on January 22, 2016 at 6:15 PM

            Hello Raghu, please if you can help me with PR for Canada, it will be great.

          • Sahil on January 22, 2016 at 6:19 PM

            You don’t need a lawyer to get the invite, Canada is much simpler than US.

          • Olympus on January 22, 2016 at 6:44 PM

            Hi Raghu,

            Can we talk about this ? Canadian PR !!

          • Raghuram Sukumar on January 22, 2016 at 6:47 PM

            I’m trying to setup a video interview or webinar with my attorney contact. I will let you know if he wants to do one. If not, I can host an event.

  172. Ohm on January 22, 2016 at 2:45 PM

    Judging by the weather in DC, we cannot expect a decision today either.

  173. Juliana Cerrada on January 22, 2016 at 1:33 PM

    What do you think would happen to those who have applications currently in process?

    I was advised by my school not to apply for the extension until last minute (terrible advice!). I could have had my EAD by now, but I waited to apply – I’m losing sleep over this, I cannot even concentrate at work right now. I’m not sure the Judge and all the parties involved realized of the terrible impact this would have in the lives of so many brilliant and hardworking employees, their employers, and families who got involved in this political mess.

    I feel they want to throw us out the country like if we were thieves. When in fact, most of us are generating new technologies and revolutionary products that will generate plenty of new jobs for Americans – we are not stealing your jobs Americans! We are generating jobs for you in the future! This is so ridiculous and unfair in so many ways.

    • tanmay sharma on January 22, 2016 at 3:42 PM

      I feel your pain and agree with all that you’ve said. I’m currently working on a STEM OPT EAD with an end date for later this year. Should the Feb12th vacatur of the rule take place, it’ll cut short my employment abruptly without any prior legal/official communication being made to me by any of the parties battling out the fate of thousands of students who legally entered this country, worked hard to obtain higher education, and are now sincerely contributing to the US economy and society.

      If it offers you any solace, I work for a Computer Storage Giant (80,000+ employees), and I just conversed with my company’s legal and immigration experts. They communicated their personal opinion to me saying that they feel the District Court will grant the extension until May 10th which will not only allow a proper STEM rule to be brought into effect but also for USCIS to process currently pending applications. Stalling all currently pending applications will create unsustainable workload for USCIS in near future and also the legal/procedural overhead will be too much for them in terms of dealing with such a penalizing and harsh ruling that will impact thousands of students.

      Stay strong and calm; try to focus on work. Rest assured there are tens of thousands of students like me and you in the same boat and I wish the very best for all!

      May the FORCE be with you!

    • TIKtokTIKtok on January 22, 2016 at 5:56 PM

      Lucky you that your school gave some advise. When I asked my school, they literally said ‘What new rule?’. I was shocked and surprised! I thought, did I make a mistake trusting these guys? They were not even aware of what was going on! I freaked out, I asked a lawyer as well. He suggested that I wait for the new rule and then apply. My OPT ends on 4th Feb, technically I could have applied 120 days before, so say around October 4, 2015. I read a lot on this issue. Thats the key, read read and read. I did a lot of research, then decided not to take the advise of the lawyer or my school. I went ahead and applied in Nov. Here I am today with my case approved. Waiting for the EAD!

      See, if you do some proper research, not depend on anyone else and take a chance, it will benefit you.

  174. rainonrain on January 21, 2016 at 10:56 PM

    FYI, Miano has commented: “The judge was very cagey. She said she would have an opinion in time for both sides to do an appeal. It sounds like this is going to go on fo a while.” He has also commented that he thinks the decision will come next week.

    • Raghuram Sukumar on January 22, 2016 at 8:30 AM

      Reading into this. Why would her opinion require an appeal? What decision would require an appeal from both sides?

      This is getting crazy. This ruling doesn’t affect me as much as F1, OPT students, but I’m having sleepless nights as well. I checked for updates through the night, but nothing. I’m hoping we would have something by midday today, else on we would have to wait till Monday. Due to this snow storm, the courts close at noon today in DC area.

      • Rahul on January 22, 2016 at 10:15 AM


        Think of people who are really under stress because of this hearing. USCIS texas office is slow in processing OPT extension applications and many of my friends and I do not have anything in hand.

        I understand that DHS has done their bit in proposing new rule and doing the formalities, but they failed in processing comments in time.I know those were large numbers, but they should have processed comments in time given the number of careers on stake.

        I really hoped when we signed the petition to The white house, something positive would come out. But I do not know now.

        • Raghuram Sukumar on January 22, 2016 at 10:20 AM

          I feel your pain. Your legal immigration battle here in the US is just starting. Trust me. Next is H1B, then comes 5 to 15 years wait for Green Card. Stuck the same job while you are waiting for the Green Card.

          • Andrey on January 22, 2016 at 11:15 AM

            5-15 not true for everyone. Depends on country of your citizenship.

          • Raghuram Sukumar on January 22, 2016 at 11:22 AM

            Yes and at what point in the H1B period, your employer starts the GC process.

          • Andrey on January 22, 2016 at 11:51 AM

            I`m feeling like it is more than WashTech process. Seems like is a part of presidential election show. GOP folk always wanted to close the country for foreigners. Obama instead always tried to open the country for emigrants. A lot of people complaining in Milano`s blog, that emigrants taking their job. One moment : I got my degree in City university of New York. I attended two colleges. Percentage of local Americans was 10-15%. the rest was international students. I`m talking about CS. Instead there was a lot of locals in departments like banking, management and so. So conclusion can be very sad…

        • AXU on January 22, 2016 at 11:55 AM

          Hi Rahul,

          My case was received on Oct 22nd in USCIS Texas office. It got approved Jan. 19th.

          But I haven’t received the card yet.

          • Aditya on January 22, 2016 at 2:15 PM

            AXU for the card to reach you, they should have had used drones! Relax, it takes a week for the card to be delivered. Mine was received at TSC on Nov 13th, approved yesterday Jan 21st.

          • Received Nov 10th on January 22, 2016 at 3:11 PM

            USCIS received my application on November 10th but still no decision. It is nice to know that they have approved yours. Good luck!

      • Satish on January 22, 2016 at 10:29 AM

        Don’t be panic. Apparently, the judge do not want to give anything out now, but she could have already made a decision and just need time to refine the order or she will consult with other judges to make sure the decision is appropriate. Based on previous order and all the comments, it is clear that she was conservative on issuing an order benefiting one party or the other. It is likely that she will grand the motion but apply some restrictions on it, say not allowing DHS to issue new OPT STEM applications in 3 months. Besides, apply of this order retroactively to those whose EADs are valid beyond Feb 12 is going too far. Stay calm and wait for the decision.

      • Amit on January 22, 2016 at 12:00 PM

        Hi Raghu,
        You are doing gr8 job. My sincere advice to everyone is :
        Keep other options to maintain F1 status(Serious People who want to work further in USA and I can say this is also risky one but cant help ). If the judgment is not in favor then dont get disappoint. Coz it is not students fault . Talented people can get recognition sooner or later. To be frank there is no point in extending stay on defective rule. Only hope is judge may consider US economy. She will not consider students and their parents they dont belong to USA. Lets Hope for the best but think about the worst also. Dont worry people who did not get EAD cards….Coz If the rule exists then it applies for everyone or it wont applies to anyone. Until Feb12 USCIS will issue cards.

      • Shiraz Sayed on January 22, 2016 at 3:53 PM

        I have applied for OPT Stem extension and my case was recieved on 30th October last year. My current OPT expires next week.

        Should i continue to work till the decision is pending or should i stop working?

        • Karan on January 22, 2016 at 4:46 PM

          You can work until 180 days after your OPT expires if your OPT stem application is pending.

        • Tony on January 22, 2016 at 4:57 PM

          I believe you are good to work until Feb 12th atleast …

  175. Shiva on January 21, 2016 at 9:50 PM

    Dear Raghu,

    I came across this article online…

    It has some Positive take away’s… If you could do a video session with the attorney by discussing key points from the above article like FRCP 62(c) motion., that would be really helpful.

    Also Please dig deep into the possible ways for DHS in getting away from this “STEM TORNADO ” and “COURT BATTLE.”

  176. karthik on January 21, 2016 at 6:39 PM

    “motion heard and taken under advisement”

    basically still nothing definitive for those on the extension

    • AM on January 21, 2016 at 7:12 PM

      What does taken under advisement mean? I thought judge was to give decision on the motion today

      • Raghuram Sukumar on January 21, 2016 at 8:14 PM

        Here’s my understanding: After hearing, we expected Judge to issue an order. There’s no news of any order from the Judge yet. So, looks like judge heard the arguments from both parties. She’s yet to issue an order.

        • Mahesh on January 21, 2016 at 10:30 PM

          When can we expect any order, provided the hearing was called on Expedited front ?

          • Raghuram Sukumar on January 22, 2016 at 8:31 AM

            That’s’ the million dollar question. Only the Judge can answer that.

      • Aditya on January 21, 2016 at 8:24 PM

        It means they will think, take evidences and arguments into consideration and decide. No more hearing. We can expect a decision but they are not bound by a time frame to decide. Hopefully, looking at circumstances they decide soon at least before 12th Feb.

        • AV on January 21, 2016 at 9:48 PM

          Given the situation, is it safe to travel to India and come back before 12th Feb ?

        • Srikant on January 21, 2016 at 10:23 PM

          What if our OPT extension application is still in process and they approve that the vacatuer isn’t applicable on the ones who already have the OPT Stem extension/EAD card?

          • Secura on January 22, 2016 at 5:25 PM

            I am in a similar boat , My application is in process since December 15 last year. As it is just over 30 days I don’t expect it to get it soon.

            I was thinking to expedite OPT. Only worried about the situation that what will happen to pending EADs.

    • sss on January 21, 2016 at 8:04 PM

      In legal terms this means that the judge has taken all the evidences , explanations , hearings from both sides defendant’s and the plaintiff and is saying hey look i need time to think , you may go now , i will give my decision in few days , that can be tomorrow , that can be after a week , that can be more than a week too ..god knows ,…. all i can say that when this happens case is very evenly balanced at the moment and the judge needs additional time to think to come to the final judgement

    • Amy on January 21, 2016 at 10:38 PM

      Can I also assume that is the judge just hold this till Feb 12th, those who are with EAD card would still need to stop working immediately?

  177. Amit on January 21, 2016 at 6:05 PM

    Any updates on the court hearing? Are we likely to have the decision today?

  178. Pa2399 on January 21, 2016 at 5:17 PM

    This is so unfair. We entered this country and paid thousands of dollars which in our countries actually amounts to a fortune with the assumption that even if we are not able to get the H1-B we will still be able to atleast earn our money back.

    I don’t think so many students will actually even come to US anymore if they don’t have provisions for STEM OPT.

    We are improving american economy by paying so much money to the educational institutes which funds the research departments.

    If there is no STEM OPT then either lower educational costs so that students can earn their money back in the 12 month period or only offer as many student visas as there is provision for in the H1-B.

    Because what do the american citizens want that no foreign students should come to the US because then US wont be a world leader anymore and all these jobs would get outsourced.

    • SueS on January 21, 2016 at 11:43 PM


      If you are in the group where you have to pay for your Masters in IT or CS in USA, then you will fall into STEM OPT (IT) and the H-1b (IT) where for the latter there is a cap of 65,000 and a filing date of April 1st. And also frequent legal harassment compliments from organizations like Wash Tech.

      If you fall in the the group where you have a high undergraduate GPA, good GRE general and subject scores plus TOEFL scores A full tuition waiver plus a monthly stipend from your US graduate school since you work as a TA or a GA for your department topped with several publications in peer reviewed journals, plus conference presentation in your field, you should fall in to STEM OPT (non-IT) and an H-1b (non-IT) category where the latter is cap exempt and has no specific filing date.

      This is the ideal USA that I am thinking of, however the dumb US policy makers including the legal professionals cannot understand that “STEM is not just IT” !!!

    • Wanderer on January 22, 2016 at 4:40 PM

      how much do you really think international students contribute to a 17 trillion dollar economy ?

      • Aditya on January 22, 2016 at 6:02 PM

        I agree Wanderer, we are just negligible. Its hilarious when people say that it will significantly affect US economy. It wont, it will be a small jerk. Do not overestimate our importance. Let the law take its own course.
        Some of the arguments have been so silly, some suggestions have been sillier.

  179. Sagar on January 21, 2016 at 2:52 PM

    when can we expect update on this ?
    Court hearing 🙁 🙁 🙁

    • Raghuram Sukumar on January 21, 2016 at 4:17 PM

      As of 4 PM EST, there’s no update on the court hearing.

      • RR on January 21, 2016 at 4:34 PM

        Hi Raghu,

        Did they reschedule the hearing or we are just waiting for the update ?

      • Raghuram Sukumar on January 21, 2016 at 6:02 PM

        No update till 6pm EST.

      • John Doe on January 21, 2016 at 6:10 PM

        So there was no decision made today.

    • Tech on January 21, 2016 at 5:00 PM

      Waiting for an update . Mostly you can expect the news to be out in an hour from now.

      • Shah on January 21, 2016 at 6:53 PM

        No update today. Motion taken under advisement.

  180. Abhishek YV on January 21, 2016 at 1:49 PM

    It almost feels like I am waiting for my court hearing! Either they will grant me bail or hang me to death!

    • TakeAChillPill on January 21, 2016 at 2:16 PM

      I hope it works in your favour. Otherwise, please consider coming back to India and improving it 🙂 Your motherland needs you..

      • Shah on January 21, 2016 at 3:14 PM

        I like that comment @TakeAChillPill!
        Yeh jo desh hain tera, 😉

      • Indian Citizen on January 21, 2016 at 3:57 PM

        @TakeAChillPill Well said!
        After all, we are not people without country to live and family to meet up with!
        USA is a part of life and it is not the only way to live life!

        • Abhishek on January 21, 2016 at 4:25 PM

          It was a metaphor! Lol! OK I feel like I am desperately waiting for a football match to start ! Would just keep looking at the clock! And a part of me wants to go back to India!

      • Dreamer on January 21, 2016 at 4:43 PM

        So, does going back to india actually mean being patriotic. I doubt so…
        US is ofcourse just a part of a bigger life but there is lot of hope and oppurtunity associated with the american dream( negative thinkers may read it as greed and luxury). The so-called NRIs here do more favor to India by being here rather than competing in a tighter space back home. Moreover, most of the investments and earnings do go back to india(except the taxes) and thus contribute to the economy back there. So, going back to india in the name of ‘patriotism’ is just a farce which sounds poetic.

        • Indian Citizen on January 21, 2016 at 5:46 PM

          @Dreamer All dreams are valued equally. It is not bad to dream at native place. The statement is not about going back to India on “Patriotism”, it is based on “Pragmatism”. As you say “competing in a tighter space back home”, it will always make us tougher. ‘When the way is tough, tougher gets going’!!

          Either way the growth of an individual depends on him / her irrespective of where he / she lives. I have seen many young engineers who proved their talent at USA have been employed in the US firm’s Indian division (What is not there in India – From Google to ebay, From automobile to oil & gas) as leaders. Let us keep ourselves busy and finally we will find ways to tackle the economic needs (educational loans etc.,) too. Too much of anxiety on this chapter will draw all our energy from being creative and effective with what we are doing currently. It is harmless to always think about Plan B.

          LIVE THE MOMENT!!!!!!!!

    • Pulkit on January 21, 2016 at 3:25 PM

      If affects all of us but what’s with the desperation? It’s not a matter of life and death. If you were able to come up and achieve this far in life you can continue doing so irrespective of the location. Have some faith in yourself and hope for the best.

      • N28 on January 21, 2016 at 9:11 PM

        Yeah seriously. I mean if you’re worried about what society will think of you if don’t “make it” in the US or some crap like that, well then, you’re a loser. I’m pretty sure that if the ‘needy, desperate’ people examine their attitude carefully, it just comes down to this “What will ppl say” . Screw what other ppl will think. Don’t you have a mind of your own?! Stop this herd mentality.

        You need to have the integrity of character to be able to go back to (or just stay in) your own country (for God’s sake!)

        I’m not saying you shouldn’t come to the US, but if circumstances are against you — stop acting needy to the point of sending 10 H1B applications for yourself . Just stop. Stop going through illegal ‘consulting companies’ (and getting your own life ruined in the process!). Stop doing these things that is making all of India look like a sad country. Are you really so desperate to come to the US? And for what? You can’t even speak one English sentence properly. And in the US also, you will mix only with Phani from Andhra Pradesh , and maybe if you’re open -minded you’ll also mix with Karthik from Tamil Nadu. Then why are you so desperate? LOOK AT YOURSELF FROM ANOTHERS POINT OF VIEW. You are a joke and you’re harming India’s name by your stupid antics .


    • Sagar on January 21, 2016 at 3:36 PM

      AURORA Consulting Group is also one of the IT Body shops , do you know that abhishek?

  181. SueS on January 21, 2016 at 1:35 PM

    In certain cases, an Indian CS graduate from an elite US university will be invited to work for a prestigious US IT firm because the guy is talented. He will eventually get sponsored for a work permit. However, 90% of the Indian students who come to USA, have one thing in common:TO FIND A JOB IN USA. And the US degree program is just a cover to gain entry to USA. Most of these students are not fluent in English and end up in 4th tier US universities (who welcome them with open arms because of the high international student fees they can collect). Now in order to pay for tuition and cost of living these students take loans, and sometimes work illegally (at motels and gas stations). Consequently, they become more and more desperate to find a job in USA, and where do they end up during CPT and OPT? Usually at a Desi IT consultancy in USA.
    A recent survey suggested that about 30% of Indian students in USA were on OPT. Almost 95% of these students end up working for a 3rd party IT consultancy (Desi IT consultancy) in USA. The Desi consultancy supply labor to an American staffing company which in turn cater the needs of the actual employer. This is a 3 layered “job opportunity”. And in almost all instances the OPT employee falls victim to unprofessional and unlawful activities mainly done by their OWN COUNTRYMEN running the Desi firm. This is the hard truth about CPT/OPT from the point of view of an Indian IT student. Unfortunately, majority of US professionals visualize the same thing for CPT/OPT! However, as I mentioned earlier CPT/OPTor STEM-OPT are NOT just IT!!!

    Then there is another group of foreign students, the cream of their country’s education system. They have good GRE, TOEFL scores and end up doing MS,PhD degrees where they DO NOT PAY A PENNY as tuition and other fees. Usually they get FULL tuition wavier plus a monthly stipend from the university because of their academic performance! Sometimes they even get federal grants and fellowships to fund their education and research in USA. Most of them end up with patents and top notch articles in peer reviewed journals. These are the people who you mentioned as “foreign talent”. What is happening now is that these educated and capable researchers, scientist, lecturers and professionals are losing their dreams because of mediocre selfish fools who’s only desire is to get a job in USA! They along with certain US employers are spreading the word that STEM is IT and high tech workers only work for IT companies which is pure rubbish.

    Furthermore, it is truly an unfortunate situation that Wash Tech’s legal actions does not differentiate this very important fact.

    • IndianGirl on January 21, 2016 at 2:36 PM

      Very well said! I too feel like there are 2 major, distinct types of Indians who come to work in the US.

      Unfortunately, the needy , desperate ones are ruining it for the well-meaning ones. Shame on you’ll.

    • Sombra on January 21, 2016 at 3:05 PM

      Very good opinion. I wish those selfish people understood that. The main source of the trouble are the Indian consulting company and the schools who issue I20 easily.

    • Olympus on January 21, 2016 at 4:35 PM

      Another classic case – I know of people who after MSc joined these desi consulting companies and became Business Analysts. And even they qualified for STEM extensions and went on to get H1s in two chances.

  182. Pooja on January 21, 2016 at 1:13 PM

    Isn’t the hearing today?

    Do we know what’s happening as yet?

    • manusavi on January 21, 2016 at 4:57 PM

      Is there any update after the court hearing?

  183. Sahil on January 21, 2016 at 12:59 PM

    IT and how they are killing “Real engineers” :

    1) They can do exact same job remotely, why do they even need a foreign work visa ?
    2) Mostly work from home even when onshore
    3) I also think IT is not engineering at all, electrical, mechanical, chemical, civil, , these are real engineering sciences. Therefore, anyone studying IT should not be included in STEM. if anyone from core engineering fields chooses to switch to “IT” they should not be considered STEM anymore , STEM means science, technology. engineering and math education. No IT work requires any of that !
    Converting excel files to a different format for a huge database is not STEM !

    Therefore H1B should have 2 categories: Real STEM and , may be a number for coding monkeys.

    4) they are single handedly responsible for stereotypes. Oh u are from India or China, yo must be good at computers. How can i blame them, that is what 90% of us do here !

    5) IT hogging the show in VISAs etc, encourages young people to follow the same path their successful “code testing ” relatives have. It is after all least resistance path.

    6) IT people should be required to give GRE, TOEFL, IELTS whatevr they understand before they come to US. WE had to do that and swotted for months preparing for these exams.

    7) IT people can literally be replaced by a monkey, it takes 15 days crash course to get a 90K job in US in IT and 2-4 years of study before you can get a “REAL STEM ” job which may not pay more. These underlings are just not equals !

    8) “Real STEM” jobs require a proper interviewing process anywhere in the world. Yet IT is the only field where even your farts count as right answer in interviews. Most cases people are hired with no background check or verification of education or experience (What kind of bullshit is this ! , So IT gets to break and twist the laws , get same money as”Real STEM” people, but with no education, no training, no admission test, and a 15 day crash course ? , whoever came up with this was a freaking genius !) those thinking this is an exaggeration , just call any IT friend of yours and they might tell you bigger horror stories.
    sometimes even their interviews are conducted over Skype with 5 people sitting behind the computer prompting answers, and yes telephone interviews are given by fake people who will take anything from $100 to $300 to give an interview for someone else.

    Miano is right, this scum needs to be cleaned, unfortunately he thinks we “Real Engineers” are one of them.

    • Patrick on January 21, 2016 at 1:21 PM

      Sahil, please refrain from posting negative comments. Your opinions won’t change the STEM rule by any means.
      Speaking of which, I hope to get some kind of indication on where we are at over the next few hours in regards to this hearing. Fingers crossed!

    • SKC on January 21, 2016 at 2:21 PM

      You are right! I have a masters degree in CS and I work for a hedge fund firm as a software developer since 7 months. To be honest, I don’t use most of the concepts I learned in my masters and I’m starting to realize that any one with 2 years of experience can do my job. But even in the companies like Amazon, MS, google etc the graduates from CS are doing IT jobs ( writing code essentially). So I don’t know how you can distinguish a fair candidate who got a job through a normal interview and a candidate who cheats and gets the job (essentially a consultant).

      • L on January 21, 2016 at 6:38 PM

        I cannot say what @Sahil say is wrong, and it actually turns out to be true for some areas.
        I am a master in CS and working in a startup. The technology company using is absolutely cutting edge, but you can image not every line of codes is gold in terms to be that “innovation” or whatever. Every software or IT product is built by some simple lines of code, and you can fairly say that somebody had a 15 days quick course can code all those lines – the code itself is not hard, but how it can be put together matters! This is really something like everyone knows how to write but why only some of them can become a good writer.
        It’s the market now decides why IT major has more job opportunities than other STEM majors and also seems can earn more money. But I am pretty sure this will be changed very soon.
        Overall, the bad thing is wash tech wrongly judge the set of people for all STEM instead of “IT STEM” in this case.

    • Rajeev on January 21, 2016 at 4:13 PM

      Sahil, I find it more funny than legitimate. I am not in IT but so call “REAL STEM” as you quoted. But everything you just described seems unrealistic. But we Indians are good in manipulating the things and may be you are right.
      I am wondering why DHS don’t see it that way. Probably we need some one from the same planet to understand our tricks.

    • Pratik on January 21, 2016 at 4:19 PM

      Don’t you see the irony of ranting against software engineers using a software developed and maintained by some of them?

      Why don’t you use your “real” STEM-developed machine, print a paper, write your views and post them on a brick wall outside?

      Cheers and good luck !

  184. AM on January 20, 2016 at 5:41 PM

    I am a bit confused here after going through John Miamo’s blog. The blog says that among the options of decision available with the court none of the options are to pass the motion to defer the date till May 10 that DHS has requested (the only options available pointed in blog are that either the court rejects or just make a note that it could have granted if it had the jurisdiction). The blog also says that it is highly unlikely for DHS to go back to DC circuit court and then return back to DC district before February 12. What I am unable to understand is that if that’s the fact then why did DHS even filed the motion when none of the options available point to it? Also can we have validity of the points raised in the blog verified by someone like Attorney Murali (I mean what his point of view is on the points raised in that blog)?

    • Tony on January 21, 2016 at 2:57 AM

      I believe we can expect a definitive answer tomorrow on the validity of EAD granted under the 2008 rule. I hope the judge takes a humanitarian approach towards this issue.

    • XL on January 21, 2016 at 10:45 AM

      If you know that John Miano is the representative of WashTech, you can understand what he said.

    • EL on January 21, 2016 at 11:57 AM

      Why should you read Miano’s blog…. Of course that man is trying his best to scare you…… Be confident AM.

  185. ITguy on January 20, 2016 at 1:47 PM

    Hi Friends,

    I applied for STEM OPT on 3rd week of October . It has been over 90 days and my status is still on Case Was Received . I called 11 days ago to customer service and the day after I received the email from Nebraska Service center indicates that your case is under review by an officer and you should get a response within 60 days . What else can I do for my case . I am worried 🙁


    • Akshat Agrawal on January 20, 2016 at 4:00 PM

      Hello Raghu, please can you tell and highlight on what is plan B?

    • Parthiban Ravikumar on January 20, 2016 at 4:33 PM

      @IT guy: There is an option to expedite the case on few conditions. The expedite request will be reviewed and if meets the emergency situation then your case will be accepted for expedite. Call customer care and they will provide you details on this. I forgot the supporting reasons that was available for expedite request… Good luck!

    • Nelson on January 20, 2016 at 4:39 PM

      Does anyone know or asked a lawyer before about this. Base on current STEM OPT rule. If a person is qualified and has properly filed an application for STEM OPT, he/she can work up to 180 days after first OPT expires even the STEM OPT application is pending. The question is, is this rule a part of STEM OPT rule that will expired on Feb 12th? If current STEM OPT expire next month, will this situation still valid?


      • Kumar on January 20, 2016 at 7:15 PM

        I am currently in the same situation, my OPT ends on 02/14/15, I have applied for the STEM extension and received the I797C that my case has been received. Based on that my employer said that my work visa is extended till August and to update them once the new EAD card comes. However, if we go by the rules then this also comes under the STEM OPT rule and so would be invalid after 02/12. If so then the H1B cap gap where STEM students are allowed to work once their H1B gets filed in April will also be nullified. The only thing we can hope for is that the court extends the deadline.
        Also how can we be sure that the decision tomorrow will be final and what stops the party which does not receive a favorable outcome from filing a counter argument?

    • Tony on January 21, 2016 at 2:59 AM

      I raised a service request after waiting 90 days. Customer rep told me to check back in 15 days, however the case was approved approx 3 days after i called. Stay positive and expect good news.

    • ITguy on January 21, 2016 at 10:33 AM

      Hi Guys ,

      My case ( OPT Extension ) got approved yesterday after 95 days . 🙂


  186. Raghuram Sukumar on January 20, 2016 at 7:01 AM

    New Update posted. Tomorrow is going to be a BIG DAY. It’ ain’t over until it’s over. #staypositive

    • PMish on January 20, 2016 at 7:42 AM

      What is going to happen? I don’t see any update.

    • Abhishek YV on January 20, 2016 at 9:00 AM

      Can you please upload a video with Attorney Murali in case he is available to shed light on what are the possibilities for tomorrow?

      • Raghuram Sukumar on January 20, 2016 at 9:35 AM

        I don’t think we need a video to understand what could happen at the hearing. Let me wait for the Judge’s order.

    • Michael on January 20, 2016 at 9:53 AM

      Are you kidding me? #staypositive? You spread negativity in this blog for several months and at the lasts minute you have the guts to say #staypositive? Just yesterday, you shared news from Miano’s blog as your “reliable” source. You are a joke

      • Raghuram Sukumar on January 20, 2016 at 11:23 AM

        When it comes to immigration, prepare for the worst case scenario. Every time you are going to face visa interview or application with USCIS, DOL, there is a chance for delay or rejection or query. You call it negativity, I call it as playing it safe. People like you didn’t believe me when I posted STEM was revoked before any news outlets or blogs reported it.

        Go and refer to some of my comment. I said, have a plan B. I know folks who have reached out to me and arranged Plan B if STEM extension doesn’t go through. And there are folks like you keep complaining about negativity and go nowhere. So, stop whining!

        • Andy on January 20, 2016 at 1:30 PM

          I agree with you Raghuram. Atleast some one like you is taking pain to keep the updates at one spot and helping all the tensed students with latest updates. Michael why don’t you get all the positive information and share it or have your own blog?

        • Michael on January 20, 2016 at 5:28 PM

          Yes you have to get prepared for the worst case, but you do that with credible sources. I am sorry but you are usually posting stuff without actually making a research on it: Go back and check your comments. You previously said someone that “It is not advised to travel during OPT”, which is COMPLETELY wrong (I probably traveled more than 10 times during OPT). I challenged you to show where that is written and posted USCIS guidelines to travel during OPT. What if that person couldn’t see their family just because you felt like talking nonsense?

      • Sahil on January 20, 2016 at 11:54 AM

        There is nothing wrong with being prepared for the worst. I did not know it would come to this but had I not started preparing myself, my company, my HR, everyone needed their time to start believing this is REAL. I went against everyone’s wishes to get parallel processes started for me.
        And all this while all I heard from everyone around me was, ” you are such a pessimist” and be positive, hell one person told i need to see a psychologist and do yoga. It wasnt there life so they didnt understand. SYMPATHY is not same as EMPATHY. Other told me worst case you go back home, how bad is that ? And when i asked them the same question back , i.e. would you want to leave your career and life and go back , they were simply humbled. I still do not know if anything will work out, and I still hope the court decides positively, but I am happy that I tried everything and tried that when I had time on my side.

        Giving information is not creating panic, use your common sense and weight the alternatives and deeply research the validity of sources.

        • Parthiban Ravikumar on January 20, 2016 at 2:02 PM


          Can you share what is your plan B or can you enlighten us, what are the options you considered for plan B.

          • Sahil on January 20, 2016 at 5:11 PM

            Hi Ravikumar,

            Here are my plan B,
            1. Apply for cap exempt H-1b visa via a research university.
            2. Apply for cap exempt H-1b visa via community college, staff job.
            3. Apply for another Masters in CS/IT and take advantage of the CPT after 1 year, change to F-1 visa.
            4. Change to M-1 visa.
            5. Change to B-1 visa.
            6. Getting married to Nepali girl and obtain citizenship of Nepal and qualify for DV Green card lottery.
            7. Getting married to US citizen woman and get K-1 spouse visa.
            8. Getting married to a US citizen man ( same sex marriage ) and get K-1 spouse visa.
            9. Apply for G visa and work for the United Nation as a .NET developer.

            These are some very feasible paths anyone can take in order to continue staying in USA.

          • Aditya on January 20, 2016 at 6:11 PM

            Sahil, dude, you are awesome!

          • Aditya on January 20, 2016 at 6:12 PM

            I particularly am amazed at options 7,8 and 9! Very feasible!! Good luck with that.

          • Sahil on January 21, 2016 at 9:31 AM

            Are you done with your condescending remarks ?
            It’s because of IT folks like you that we are in this problem in the first place. Why are you guys even here, when you always work from home.

          • Aditya on January 20, 2016 at 6:13 PM

            Option 6 is the best of all!

          • Aditya on January 20, 2016 at 6:19 PM

            G Visa for .net?

            The G nonimmigrant visa classification is for representatives of international organizations and their immediate (dependent) family members. To qualify for a G visa, the purpose of your intended travel to the United States must be pursuant to official duties. Permanent mission members of a recognized government to a designated international organization are eligible for a G-1 visa. Representatives of a recognized government traveling to the United States temporarily to attend meetings of a designated international organization are eligible for G-2 visas and representatives of non-recognized or non-member governments are eligible for G-3 visas. G-4 visas are issued to individuals who are proceeding to the United States to take up an appointment at a designated international organization, including the United Nations. See the listing of designated International Organizations by going to section 41.24 Exhibit I in the 9 FAM. Please note that U.S. visa law indicates that if a visa applicant is entitled to a G visa as a principal or dependent, he or she must receive a G visa. The exceptions to this rule are extremely limited.

          • Sahil on January 21, 2016 at 8:46 AM


            Yes, United Nations also need .NET developers. And from them you get the G visa.

            Also, another option would be the U visa. If a US citizen do harm to you, for example physical harm, you can collaborate with US law enforcement and get the U visa.

            I suggest you find a Paki who is a US citizen and try to provoke him in a subtle way so that he hits you in the head with a blunt object. Be sure to position yourself in front of a CCTV during this ordeal. However the risk of getting a fatal injury is higher since you are dealing with a Paki. But dude, at the end of the day if you get the US green card its far better than going back to India.

    • Amy Gu on January 20, 2016 at 11:40 AM

      Can I ask a question about the hearing tomorrow? I read the essay into details and got to this conclusion. Hearing tomorrow is not going to give a grant of the motion, at most, it would be an indicative opinion, which would be the best case. And even that happens, DHS needs to file a motion to D.C. Circuit and then hearings again.
      If this is the case? And how can we have so much time to wait for this? Only 20 days and 16 business days from Feb 12th now.

    • Fei on January 20, 2016 at 12:05 PM

      When can we know the result of the hearing? Right after the hearing or a couple days later?

      • Raghuram Sukumar on January 20, 2016 at 1:38 PM

        In John Miano’s blog, he posted a comment saying “He’s expecting a quick decision from the Court.”

    • Siddharth Sampath on January 21, 2016 at 1:05 PM

      Just an out of blue question, is there any live update or live stream of the court hearing that is going to take place today? Or the DHS will do press release after the court hearing?
      Just too curious when will we know about the verdict after it takes place today at 3.00pm EST

  187. Abhishek YV on January 19, 2016 at 3:43 PM

    Tik Tok Tik Tok… I have been refreshing pages everyday to see what’s next!

    • Raghuram Sukumar on January 19, 2016 at 3:59 PM

      I’m doing that at my sources to bring the latest and the greatest news from the court 🙂

      • neeraj c on January 19, 2016 at 4:05 PM

        Is the court in session today?? As in for this case?

        • Raghuram Sukumar on January 19, 2016 at 9:12 PM

          Regarding extension, I don’t think parties will need to argue. Now, judge have to decide on the fate of deadline extension.

      • Abhishek YV on January 19, 2016 at 4:16 PM

        Yup! You are doing a great job!

    • Aditya on January 19, 2016 at 5:36 PM

      Look what these guys have to say!
      Looks as if we all will be going back !!

      • Raghuram Sukumar on January 19, 2016 at 9:10 PM

        I’m speechless. This is all new to me and everyone else. I believe in miracles and prayers and I sincerely hope for the court to find a way to extend the deadline.

        • Marc Kallathoni on January 19, 2016 at 9:28 PM

          I think this is a good lesson for people who come from developing countries who really do not have the discipline to obey rules.
          A good example is the way an Indian drives a car in Indian and in USA. There is a BIG difference because here in USA everyone knows that the law is above everything and if you break it you get penalized.
          There is a system in developed countries and everything flow according to that system. However, when outside people come and try to manipulate that system this is what happens! I wish everyone will learn a lesson and will proceed with ethical, professional and law abiding here afterwards …

          Marc ( US citizen )

          • Yi Shi on January 19, 2016 at 11:01 PM

            do not understand what you said, what rules do foreign students violate? they come legally on a visa and work under permission of DHS, If you think the opt program is illegal, complain to president George Bush who established that the original OPT program in 1992.

          • Debu on January 19, 2016 at 11:03 PM

            Marc – US citizen as in native American?

          • Marc Kallathoni on January 20, 2016 at 12:33 AM

            @ Debu: Don’t worry I am native American.

          • AM on January 20, 2016 at 5:55 PM

            @ Marc you are comparing apples to oranges here. Comparing road traffic violations by people who come from other countries to a law which a US government organisation formed and implements is beyond to anyone’s understanding who is sane enough to understand. This whole STEM OPT issue is not because foreign nationals are breaking the law. They in fact cannot break this law as they have no control over its monitoring and implementation and are abiding by the rules which DHS and US government implemented and monitors. So if any rule is broken then its not foreign students fault. As a matter of fact in my experience foreign students are more careful then citizens about not breaking any rule and live ethically because they know if they break it then they can be deported.

            So please get your facts right before making any comments about this issue.

          • Marc Kallathoni on January 20, 2016 at 7:26 PM


            The fact of the matter is that 89% of the H-1bs are going to 3rd party Indian IT outsourcing companies. They abuse the system by submitting more than one application for an applicant. The huge number of applicants and the inability to secure an opportunity in that method has prompted many Indian students to consider doing a MS in CS in USA as a viable method to get into USA and get a job ( note that 99% of the Indian MS students in CS come to USA for a job, education and expansion of knowledge is almost a bogus motive ). Say that’s okay, where a person is trying to find a job in another country. But what happens next is the problem!
            When F-1 visa holders come, as soon as they get CPT they fall victim to their own countrymen who run the 3rd party IT staffing consultancies. The poor F-1 visa holders are stuck and manipulated just because their motive is to find a job and stay in USA. They don’t get the full salary that is given by the US staffing company that hires staff from 3rd party Indian staffing company. Fake CVs, work shadowing, 2-3 weeks crash courses in IT provided in huts with accommodation and some food. Then when a lay off happens at the US staffing company the 3rd part staffing consultancy continue the payroll with employee money, H-1b, green card fees are paid by the employee NOT by the employer.
            These are some of the things than happens at the OPT level, but Wash Tech was more concerned about how US born IT professionals were losing their jobs to cheap IT laborers who come via the H-1b visa system. Eg: Southern California Edison, Disneyland etc. So Wash Tech is doing a detailed cleaning remove all scum from top to bottom which includes the OPT extension as well …
            One problem that I see is that lawyer John Miano will never get a chance to visit Taj Mahal in the near future.

          • Yi Shi on January 20, 2016 at 9:59 PM

            There is nothing about H1b, you are talking to unrelated things. By the way, H1b was established by US congress, why do not you blame your representatives you elected? For those indian consulting firms which abuse the system, why do not file law suits against them? Targeting at students who have relatively weak political power is really a coward move and Wash Tech should be ashamed about that because it shows that they do not have the courage to stand up against the relatively powerful industry lobbyists.
            I do not see any problem for companies to hire people who demand less salaries as long as they can do the job and as long as the minimum wage requirement is satisfied. Companies are not charities and they are entitled to decide who to hire because they are the ones who created the job posts. It is also wrong to think in US, one should be entitled to a job because of his or her own citizenship. Otherwise, every US citizen without a job can sue the government or any company which rejected him or her. You know it is not happening.
            The only cases where people get jobs based on citizenship are today’s North Korea where people get jobs assigned by the government and these jobs are always secured. Do you want US to be more like North Korea£¿

          • Akshasnh on January 21, 2016 at 7:57 AM

            Unfortunately, I agree to some of the points that you made, even though I am an international student on OPT.

            Almost 90% of students from India comes to the US for jobs; I am one of those. But there are exceptions, very few, though.

            Also agree with the fact the FEW (maybe 30%) not all MANY chooses Andra IT staffing consultancies for finding jobs and then they are stuck in that sh**thole.
            I think these 30% of students should not even get VISA in the first place.
            I know some of these students who were at my university, and they cannot even f**king speak English correctly.

            But I have to disagree with the fact that because of these international students, US Born IT professionals are finding it difficult to get a job or losing their job too often. As a matter of fact, the unemployment rate is 5.5% (May 2015), so if an individual is not able to find a job, he/she is not good enough technically or personally or morally.

            Southern California Edison, Disneyland are two s**kers whose CEO just want more money in their pocket. They are like Martin Shkreli of the Tech Industry. You cannot paint all the companies with the same brush.

            Also as said by @AM
            “foreign students are more careful then citizens about not breaking any rule”.
            There is a difference b/t a rule and law. I would say that International students might break some rules, like driving rashly or not tipping at a restaurant .. lol. But at the end of the day, there are way many fewer cases, or I think maybe 1% where an International LEGAL STUDENT has broken any LAW.
            Have you ever heard an Indian trying to rob a bank, if not, watch this video by Gabriel Iglesias too funny..

            So Wash Tech is doing a detailed cleaning remove all scum from top to bottom which includes the OPT extension as well
            OPT extension was/is no scum, it was just a rule that was passed w/o public comments. Wash Tech has objected that is should have been passed with public comments. That is why DHS is making sure to make the new rule fulfills all the legal requirement.

          • Marc Kallathoni on January 21, 2016 at 9:26 AM

            @ YiShi and @Akshasnh
            There are more privileges for US citizens/GC holders than non-immigrants. Period!
            This is the f**king reason you guys are trying to turn the world upside down to become a US citizen/ Green Card holder in the first place!
            Right now, if there is an IT company on the Moon who gives L-1 visa to USA, you guys will make a “Vimana” and fly to Moon to get the L visa! That’s how much desperate you guys are. I don’t blame you for that. This tells that India is a shit load compared to USA, and as a US citizen I am proud to see that others begging and crying to take advantage of my country’s ethics, quality of life and other services.
            Read John Miano’s book “Sold Out” and you will get an idea why Americans want to completely abolish outsourcing so called “high tech” cheap labor. This includes the OPT too, because for some damn reason, OPT is used mainly by Indians as a back door to tap into IT jobs in USA. In 2014, 27% of Indian students who were in USA had OPT and I bet 98% of them were working in IT with lower than average salaries. They don’t mind the DAMN low salary because as I stated their first priority is to change their status from non-immigrant to immigrant so as to reap the benefits of the latter status! They don’t care whether they are displacing US citizens from IT jobs or lowering the average salary of a US IT professional. The students don’t see those things because they are here to become immigrants! That is their first priority. Who gives a damn about the US citizen, this is a globalized open market, right, eh ? WRONG!!!
            I am happy that guys will balls standing up for the rights and the way of life of US employees in the hands of foreign cheap labor. At least now people in India will think twice before applying for a 4th tier US university ( who will give their ass for the high international students fees they can collect) to study for a Masters in CS.

            I am stating the truth, no one can say this is not the case …

          • Yi Shi on January 21, 2016 at 10:08 AM

            Basically you are accusing foreign students of the intention of becoming immigrants?
            This line shows how ugly your mind is and you just want to spill venom.
            If you are a native American, why do not you blame your fellow US citizens for taking away your homeland?Blaming on foreign students is such a shameful and wrong attitude.
            If you are a US citizen but not native American, you can become citizens because your parents or ancestors have the intention of becomingimmigrants . Why do not you blame on your parents or ancestors?
            You may be right that US citizens have more privileges than non US citizens and that is the truth.
            Whenever foreign students want to find a job, they are often turned down because of work authorization. US citizens do not have the disadvantage.
            This system definitely needs to be reformed to achieve a balance and limit unnecessary family immigration but what you said will never contribute to the right action.

          • Sahil on January 22, 2016 at 8:47 AM

            and did you drop into US from the clouds ? You were a immigrant yourself if that’s what you wanted to know.

          • wakeUP! on January 21, 2016 at 10:23 AM

            @mark so you got brain washed by that miano guy …. that is true , that whatever goes in in the consultancies is a fraud thing , fake calls , scams , but that happens only in those fraud thing or in those fraud IT consulting company , the story it is not even close when it comes to non IT field , i topped my class , was the best among the best , graduated with the best grades possible and from an PURDUE got a job in a reputed electrical engineering firm , my company has been really happy with me , they dont do cheap labor , infact when they post add on Indeed they post the salary , like engineer grade 1 – 66k , grade 2 – 70 k and so on they are so transparent , so i have no idea what are you talking about , just like you and your idol moino who thinks what happens in IT fields happens everywhere , in non IT fields too, he is so wrong , next if you want to target someone then target those fraud consultancies , why targeting the students , do u have any idea that 30-40 % of the people that work in their own field , non IT field, they will be also kicked because of this stupid , insane thinking , next comes the skills my company only hired me because they didnot find a local to fill in my position for 6 months and they have to hire me , think about this , why will a company wants to hire someone if the employee ‘s status is temporary and he can go out any moment ? I work for one of the best electrical engineering power companies and stop blaming immigrants if you dont land in jobs , it means your skill level is not as per what is required by the industrial standards, instead of complaining , try upgrading your skills and becoming good at what you do …my friends who are citizens , they are the ones who got placed way before me , that;s the point , if you have a 2.5/4 gpa , change your major twice and thrice , has no idea what a basic engineering fundamental’s are , dont blame us , blame yourself , damn and by the way india is not a shitty country , the only reason i came to usa is to gain 6-7 years of solid experience in my field power engineering and after that I will get really good jobs back in my home country too , if there are shitty places in india there are also really good places to live in like bangalore , chandigrah , navi mumbai ….. so i dont know what are you talking about , if Miano wins it will not be a victory for american people , those iT consultants will outsource people from outside or go out of the country all together , which means no new jobs will be created , but jobs will be destroyed ..? yes all the non IT companies will suffer , that to MR miano

          • Marc Kallathoni on January 21, 2016 at 1:43 PM


            If you are so good go back to India and start your own electrical company. If you need capital to invest, I will personally rally my red Indian community in Montana to support you financially. How about that dude ?

  188. Dreamer on January 19, 2016 at 11:26 AM

    1)How good it is to pursue Master’s in CS from USA with almost the common intent of acquiring good job??(padai to sirf banana he).
    Well this might be the common question for the students aspiring for higher studies in US

  189. Bharath on January 19, 2016 at 10:16 AM

    I am on STEM OPT EAD. If I make a business trip to India and get back before Feb 10th, will I be safe to re-enter? What other travel doc will I need apart from the new travel I-20 from my university?

    • Parthiban Ravikumar on January 19, 2016 at 12:05 PM

      You need to have unexpired Visa, Passport, unexpired EAD card. Along with that, it is suggested to have a letter from employer explaining how the nature of your job relates to your degree and your reason for business travel. As usual take any other travel related documents that you would like to take like offer letter etc., My answer does not include a comprehensive list of items to be taken but I hope this helps you a bit.

      • Bharath on January 19, 2016 at 2:52 PM

        Thank You Parthiban. What I am concerned about is getting into the country 5 days before the STEM OPT expiration deadline. I don’t want be having any issues while re-entering.

        • Raghuram Sukumar on January 19, 2016 at 3:19 PM

          It’s a valid concern. I don’t think anyone in the blog can help you decide if that’s the risk you want to take. Would I travel in this scenario? I would not and would find ways to stay in the country. That’s my personal take. But, I don’t know your situation. Plus, you can consult your company’s attorney.

        • SDpd on January 19, 2016 at 3:54 PM

          I think you will be fine , besides I dont expect DHS to give any decision of the validity of the STEM extension or EAD card , even if they do , as long as you are entering before your EAD card expires you will be fine , you might be questioned but if you give reasonable answers like I have property , housing to sell to , and i will be leaving the country in like before 60 days you will be good . Then again , this is a worst case scenario

        • Parthiban Ravikumar on January 20, 2016 at 11:26 AM


          As Raghu and others have mentioned here nobody has a valid answer for this “most confusing” question till date. The very formal answer that I got from my attorneys for a similar question was “It is not recommended” and I took the conservative decision of not travelling; went ahead and informed the company about the risks involved. So, finally decision is yours!!! Good luck dude.

  190. Sara on January 18, 2016 at 1:55 PM

    If the judge does not approve the extension, we who are currently on OPT extension will have to stop working immediately on Feb 12th and leave the country within 60 days? But the new rule will still come into effect in May, right? So people who are applying for OPT extension in May and after will not be affected?

    Oh mine, I am going to lose my job!

    • Jain on January 19, 2016 at 11:29 AM

      When is the final hearing?

    • YouKnowWhoIAm on January 21, 2016 at 4:39 PM

      Hi Sara,

      I believe the judge would consider the humanitarian as well as logistical impact of kicking thousands of students from the U.S. More importantly, this creates a bad precedent for future U.S. immigration ruling that lawful alien workers could have their status stripped in matter of days.
      All in all, I believe you would be fine and wish you success in your work.

  191. Rahul on January 18, 2016 at 1:37 PM

    Hi, I have applied for my OPT extension in October and case was received on oct 27th. It has been about 80 days and my status has not been updated. I am worried, if USCIS is going to issue new card, as they have asked court to tell the status of unexpired EAD after Feb. 12th.

    Can someone please comment on this. I am going to call USCIS in a week time.

    • Rohit on January 18, 2016 at 7:11 PM

      Application received Oct 23rd!
      Application approved Jan 14th!
      Waiting on card arrival!

      Don’t be panic! Keep calm, wait & watch! PS: TSC processing takes longer time than expected.

      • Rahul on January 18, 2016 at 9:46 PM


        Thats a relief.

      • Aditya on January 18, 2016 at 9:52 PM

        Did u send your application to TSC?

      • Rohit on January 19, 2016 at 11:12 PM

        Status changed “Card Was Mailed To Me” Jan 19th

        Aditya – yes I filed extension request at TSC.

    • AD on January 18, 2016 at 7:28 PM


      My application reached the Vermont Service Center on October 28th and my status hasn’t changed from “my case was received” ever since.

      There have been people whose applications have reached on a later date, but received their EAD’s weeks ago.

      I believe we have to wait until it’s 90 days until the application date. From what I understand, USCIS is pretty good in approving the EAD within 90 days.

      • Rahul on January 19, 2016 at 10:32 AM


        That is a good news if people are receiving their extension EADs.

        I am waiting for my 90 days to get over.

    • Prashanth on January 19, 2016 at 11:30 AM

      applied for OPT Stem Extn on 8th of Oct. Approved in 55 days and got the card in hand in 63 days. Nebraska Service Center

      • Raghuram Sukumar on January 19, 2016 at 11:51 AM

        FYI – I launched last year.
        You can track your cases there.

      • Sumedh on January 19, 2016 at 11:57 AM

        Same here, applied at phoenix arizona, approved in 55

        • Rahul on January 19, 2016 at 2:35 PM

          Seems like texas USCIS takes longer time. The same happened with my OPT as well.

    • Harsha on January 20, 2016 at 5:23 PM

      Let me know if you get it. My case was received Dec 21st and I see processing I know its early but my current EAD expired on Jan 16. So if this one does not come or gets approved I am done.

  192. Meghan on January 18, 2016 at 11:09 AM

    My 17 month opt EAD expires on Jun and company has agreed to apply H1b this April in cap gap, will I be eligible to stay in US and work till then if rule gets approved?

  193. aditya_p on January 18, 2016 at 1:21 AM

    Hi all ,

    I have got admission for MS programs that fall under STEM in couple of universities in US for Fall 2016.
    I just went through this conversation and i think i will take my decision to join the program or not after 12 Feb 2016 news. Is my thinking correct ?
    Wish you all good luck


    • Raghuram Sukumar on January 18, 2016 at 7:31 AM

      Fall 2016 doesn’t start until August and as we know, Indian students decision to study in USA is sensitive to economy and ability to find jobs after education. After having experienced the benefits of studying abroad, I recommend you to study abroad irrespective of STEM OPT.

    • vicky on January 18, 2016 at 12:27 PM

      I guess it all depends on your expectations.
      If all you are looking for is a masters and have no plans to gain practical experience in USA, then go for it.
      If you are expecting to stay and gain practical experience in USA with STEM extension and further eyeing the H1B visa, then I wouldn’t recommend it.
      Because in my opinion, it’s not worth the stress. All through your studies you will be worried whether I’ll get a job within the 90-day grace period, during your job you will worried and hoping that STEM extension doesn’t get revoked, and each year you’ll be worried about whether I’ll get the H1B lottery, which is getting tougher by each year. Not trying to scare you, just stating the facts. Compare this with benefits of masters from other developed countries, where you have the option of off-campus work during your studies, and getting work-permit and resident is much smoother.
      It seems to me that masters from USA is meant are only for the riches, if you have money and can re-pay the loan, only then do masters from USA.

      • Chamini on January 18, 2016 at 8:04 PM

        Hi,does H1 visa approval depends on the university where we perused masters?

        • Jegan Hundu on January 18, 2016 at 10:41 PM


          Yes it does. Insiders at USCIS who conduct the lottery actually selects applications based on the universities THEY attended. Most of them have attended University of Texas at Tyler. So if you have a chance to apply as a recent gradate at UT Tyler your chance of getting H-1b is really really good. I went to Slippery Rock University and got selected since the guy who was rolling the lottery ball machine that year was a Slippery Rock Alumni.

          Hope this helps!

          • Raghuram Sukumar on January 19, 2016 at 10:48 AM

            What are you talking about? Lottery is not based on the University. Approval depends on your qualification, documents submitted, jobs requirements.

  194. F on January 16, 2016 at 7:46 PM

    Should we give another White House Petition? Or should go to white house? ….What’s wrong with OPT?

  195. Rainonrain on January 15, 2016 at 8:21 PM

    DHS asks the Court to confirm that if the vacatur occurs on Feb. 12th that it will NOT affect the legal status of F-1 students holding unexpired EADs granted under the 2008 rule. I think now we know why DHS has avoided issuing guidance on the validity of approved STEM extensions. They want the Court to answer that question. DHS points out that the court seemed to previously imply that students on the STEM extension may lost their status and urges that the balance of interests weigh heavily on the side of protecting students, their families, schools, and employers who justifiably relied on the 2008 rule. “Given that the 2008 STEM OPT Extension rule remained lawful and that these EADs were issued pursuant to regulations that were effective and valid at the time of approval, DHS believes that the employment authorization granted to these individuals remains lawful.”

  196. An alien on January 15, 2016 at 6:44 PM

    Hey! does anyone know if DHS still issue new EADs and will it keep issuing till 12 feb 2016? Because my case is still showing as received and the date it received was on 19th November 2015, it’s almost 2 months and no change in status online. Does anyone have similar dates and has the status changed?

    • Naveen on January 16, 2016 at 11:40 AM

      My application was received 29th October and got approved on Jan 11th and card mailed on Jan 13th. Received I-797 on Jan 15th with approval for 17 months. Hope that helps.

      • AD on January 16, 2016 at 4:50 PM


        What USCIS office did you submit your application to?

        My application reached the Vermont Service Center on October 28th, but still there has been no change in status.

      • AD on January 16, 2016 at 5:12 PM


        What USCIS office did you submit your application to?

        My application reached the Vermont Service Center on October 28th, but there has been no change in status yet.


      • AD on January 22, 2016 at 7:06 PM


        Any change in your case status?

        Mine hasn’t changed yet…

    • Anubhav on January 16, 2016 at 11:41 AM

      Yes. My case was received on November 13th. Still shows as received. I have another friend with similar situation.

      • Aditya on January 18, 2016 at 9:25 AM


        Which service center have you applied to. Mine too was received on 13th Nov at Texas Service Center. They take atleast 80-90 days to process.

        • Anubhav on January 18, 2016 at 10:35 AM

          Hi Aditya,

          I have sent them to Phoenix, AZ.

          • Aditya on January 18, 2016 at 10:45 AM

            I guess your case would be taken up by California Service Center. Those guys are fast at processing and you should be getting your approval soon.

  197. An alien on January 15, 2016 at 6:40 PM

    It’s unjust and betrayal on part of US government. I think if you want to cancel a rule you should have proper timeline to phase it out. It shouldn’t be on a whim. The OPT and STEM extension was the reason most of the students chose US over Australia/Canada. I think if the rule is vacated mid way, then US universities and US itself will take a hit in terms of its credibility and reliability. Vacating a rule all of a sudden and making STEM students suffer is irresponsible and cruel. On top of that it feels really sad that we don’t have a voice, we are totally dependent on DHS and have become mere spectators. I was optimistic that 100,000 signatures on the petition to white house for STEM extension would make US government do some good, at the least they could have cancelled the STEM extension in future, so that those coming to US for studies would have made a well informed decision. But it seems in the end it’s all business ;(

    • Yilie Wang on January 16, 2016 at 1:06 PM

      We have to understand the motive why WashTech was pushed to go to court. They have a valid argument. US IT workers are losing their jobs to Indian IT laborers who work for a cheaper salary because they will do anything to get the permanent residency in USA.
      The Indians with their tricks, corruptions and abuse of US law have digged the grave of ALL STEM graduates in USA. Period!

      • Ruth on January 17, 2016 at 9:26 AM

        Yilie Wang

        Indian students wanting to do anything to stay in USA seriously? Well i know to some extent it is true and im not hypocrite so i will say for 35%-40% it is true. This is also true that some of H1-Bs are flooded by companies from bangalore and hydrebad. But without them silicon valley cant be this profitable. Also services is valid business, just like china has production facilities that u guys corruptly copy from america without ur own innovation. It is u who talk of corruption on indians? Also if indian economy were as gd a china most indians who come here wont even come here. The thing with chinese ppl is ur countries economy is doing well we are happy for that..y do chinese students have to come here and try to live here in first place. Most students coming to USA are chinese…. most chinse women want to marry american men most cases bcz they have massive inferiority complex and for citizenship. I have chinese friends didnt want to be this mean but ur comment bashes everyone from india. Certain ppl from certain indian states are not even represented here in USA. and some states dont account that many students so dont bash all of india its diverse country…and even if ur bashing look at ursellfs first.

      • AA on January 17, 2016 at 11:58 AM

        Yilie Wang, foreign students coming to USA is a benefit for both parties. The college fee itself helps to raise great amounts of money within the US educational system. And the jobs created by Indian entrepreneur/any other foreign country is another boost to the industry.

        And why are Indian’s cheaper in terms of salary? Does the Tech sector differentiate in giving salaries? Please get your facts right first.

        No one is losing jobs to Indians. Whoever has the skills gets the job.

        USA has great culture and has always been welcoming to immigrants.

        • Yi Shi on January 17, 2016 at 3:23 PM

          As a Chinese Student, I think Chinese and Indian people must stand together on this issue instead of infighting. I agree with both you and Yilie Wang£¬ there are always bad horses in our groups. But if we cannot stand together, we are doomed given the fact we have relatively weak political power. I would say without the lobbying of Indian Consulting firms in US congress, we would have been in worse positions than we are now. Despite all the problems with those ICC, I should give some credit to them.

          • Yilie Wang on January 18, 2016 at 12:51 AM


            The only place where Chinese and Indians stand together is at the cashiers register at Walmart. That is also because Walmart seems to be the cheapest place to buy stuff.

      • Tian on January 19, 2016 at 12:45 AM

        Shame on you Yilie, it is time to unite instead of fight. I am Chinese and I know Chinese and Indians have common benefits in general in US, and both parties contribute a lot to US and we deserve more respect in US.

        Please stop trash talking, or use your extra energy here to argue with Wash Tech who harms us seriously and does not understand what they are doing, for example. That is the right place you can show your wisdom and courage.

  198. Prasad Boyapati on January 15, 2016 at 5:31 PM


    Any comments or updates on recent DHS response to Wash-tech opposition on OPT STEM ext motion which got requested for a stay up-to 3 months ?


  199. Deepika on January 15, 2016 at 5:12 PM

    I applied fro OPT extension in October, 2015
    Still no update, my original opt expired on January 8, 2016.
    What will be the impact on me ?
    Although ,I got 180 days extension by Default.

    • Rahul on January 16, 2016 at 12:55 AM

      Hi Deepika,

      My STEM OPT application was received by USCIS on 09/23/2015, got RFE in November. After submitting evidence got the EAD card with 17 month extension on 12/02/2015.

      Did you ask by calling the USCIS phone number ?

      Good luck!


  200. PK on January 15, 2016 at 4:12 PM

    I already submitted my application in Nov 2015 when I was eligible to apply for STEM extension. The status of my application on USCIS website says” we have received the application and a receipt has been sent”. The fee has already been withdrawn from my account. Should I be worried?

  201. Sahil on January 15, 2016 at 2:51 PM

    DHS has drafted a pretty strong statement for the court and asked for clarity on a pressing question. Late but a job well done !
    Also they may have intentionally not asked for clarity on this to keep issuing cards for as long as they can. They have issued a pretty decent number even after aug last year.

    • Raghuram Sukumar on January 15, 2016 at 3:08 PM

      That could be one reason. In the end we want extension and implementation of the rule.

      • ASHWIN on January 15, 2016 at 4:44 PM

        What if the DHS comes out of the rule after Feb 12th? Will the students with OPT expiring later, say July, be granted the extension then?

      • AjayKumar on January 17, 2016 at 8:36 AM

        If I join in school before or after STEM starts then my F1 status remains valid or not valid after Feb 12th?

  202. Babu on January 15, 2016 at 2:24 PM

    If someone OPT expires May 31st, can he/she apply for extension based on the current situation ??

    • Asha on January 15, 2016 at 4:56 PM

      My case is the same. My OPT is expiring on May 31st. Will I be able to apply for OPT extension in the month of February?

  203. Aditya on January 15, 2016 at 12:38 PM

    DHS has reponded to Washtech’s opposition to grant extension, check immigrationgirl blog for updates. DHS asks court to confirm that EAD cards will remain valid after Feb 12 if the extension is not granted. DHS puts in 3 strong points to demolish Washtech arguments and asks court to grant extension and decide as quickly as possible!

  204. Aowoo on January 15, 2016 at 12:29 PM

    FYI, DHS replied to WashTech’s arguments against the motion yesterday. The most important news is that DHS believes that students with OPT extension today shall remain lawful after the February deadline and asked the court to confirm that.

    • Raghuram Sukumar on January 15, 2016 at 2:16 PM

      DHS is asking the court to clarify that. DHS is not yet confirming EAD’s are valid.

      • ASN on January 15, 2016 at 2:31 PM

        Raghu, I think what Aowoo means is that the DHS wants the current EADs to stay valid even if there is a vacatur on Feb 12, and has posted arguments in favor of this in its brief. The final decision is, of course, up to the judge.

      • RJ on January 15, 2016 at 2:34 PM

        My OPT Extension expires on 1st February 2016. Even if court grants the extension, i believe it won’t help me anyways, right?. Any comments will be greatly appreciated

        • Raghuram Sukumar on January 15, 2016 at 3:05 PM

          You should have backup plans. Like finding other ways to stay in status. Plus, your employer should be doing H1 this April.

          • Rajeev on January 16, 2016 at 4:18 PM

            Hi Raghu,

            I know we have 60 days to leave the country after the rule gets vacated. However, if the employer files your petition for cap-based H-1b petition on April 1st, can you stay here until a decision is made on the H-1b petition?
            I am evaluating the options if the DHS doesn’t get the extension and already approved STEM gets invalid. Sincerely appreciate your inputs.


          • Raghuram Sukumar on January 17, 2016 at 11:20 AM

            I don’t think you can stay, since you don’t have status.

    • ASN on January 15, 2016 at 2:40 PM

      Debashish, please remember that though Judge Huvelle ruled that WashTech had a legal ground to challenge the 2008 OPT rule, nine months later, she actually stood by DHS’ right to issue the rule and also found no problem with the rule itself, just the way it was implemented. WashTech actually lost that case (that’s why the went to the Appeals Court), but found a minor victory because the judge vacated the rule (but put a stay on the vacatur) because it was passed in 2008 without comment. I know this doesn’t mean that the judge will definitely grant the extension now, but remember that she could have just vacated the rule back in August without a stay, but she didn’t. Disruption to students and the tech sector was a concern to her then and there is no reason why it wouldn’t be a concern now, especially since DHS has does exactly as she asked and come up with a new rule, and just need a little more time to make it effective.

  205. A on January 15, 2016 at 12:28 PM

    DHS submitted a strong response to Miano’s brief, including requesting confirmation that people who already had approved EADs will NOT be affected:

  206. Debasish Boral on January 15, 2016 at 11:05 AM

    I personally believe that Judge Huvelle is going to deny the motion of extension. She was the one who initially ruled that US workers have the legal ground to challenge the 2008 OPT rule.

    What a coincidence that nine months later the same judge invalidates the STEM extension!

  207. Debasish Boral on January 14, 2016 at 7:30 PM

    Just so you know, all employers (even cap-exempt) have to go through 2 rounds of paperwork before they can make the H1B petition to USCIS – and even premium processing takes 3 weeks. All in all, even the fastest H1B takes 6-7 weeks from initiation to completion.
    So even if employer starts to push papers today, we’re looking at a month of unemployment and no medical insurance!

    • Abbas Karim on January 15, 2016 at 8:07 AM

      @ Debasish Boral

      Say something bad happens on 02/12/16, still you have 60 days to leave country. During that time if you have initiated change of immigration status then you are okay.
      One should have saved some money for emergencies like this! At least ALL the international students/scholars I know are frugal, saving savvy people. They will overcome hardships!!!

      • Debasish Boral on January 15, 2016 at 10:58 AM

        I completely agree with you.
        Its just that I am stating how this thing is going to affect us – for no fault of our own and a complete lack of concern from the DHS. One has to agree with WashTech in that DHS has taken no step whatsoever to keep the 34000+ students informed (though that is no ground for judge Huvelle to deny the motion!) of their options and choices – in time to look for alternatives. Its as if everyone wants to believe “oh were 34000+ – the mighty DHS WILL find a way”! And now with less than a month left, we are left to scramble for ourselves!
        Shame on DHS

        • manusavi on January 15, 2016 at 2:21 PM

          I have seen a post in another blog which states that DHS has submitted its reply brief in support of the request for extension.

          Below is the summary

          Reject Washtech’s brief in its entiriety because it is “editorializing on a myerid of immigration policy and other matters that fall outside the scope of DHS’s motion”.

          DHS reiterates that this court has jurisdiction to grant extension.

          DHS asks court to confirm that if the vacatur occurs on Feb 12th that it will not affect the legal status of F-1 students holding unexpired EAD’s granted under 2008 rule.

          DHS asks the court to act as quickly as possible on extension motion.

          Any one with the same update?

          Raghu can you please shed some light here on the DHS’s reply to WASH TECH’s motion?

          • Raghuram Sukumar on January 15, 2016 at 2:34 PM

            Thanks. Why couldn’t DHS asked this since August about what happens from Feb 13, 2016 for those with valid extension. Looks like they don’t know the answer.

          • manusavi on January 15, 2016 at 2:44 PM

            Hi Raghu,

            Can we take the DHS’s reply in a different view, like below

            DHS might have thought that they can bring a new regulation before Feb 12th and that is why they don’t want to create a havoc by dealing with all the possible situations like what happens to students in STEM, What happens to students applying STEM from the day of vacatur to Feb 12th time frame, etc.,?

            Why can’t we take DHS is re-confirming the fact that students with approved STEM extensions remain valid even after Feb 12th.

          • Raghuram Sukumar on January 15, 2016 at 3:07 PM

            Then they should have come out with.

            Yes, its valid.. Wait, we take that back. Now, they are asking the Judge 🙂

      • John on January 15, 2016 at 11:50 AM

        I got the H-1B premium processing done (I am a post doc in Physics) through my department and the case was approved in 11 days (Date submitted: 12/18/15 — Date approved: 12/29/15).

        There is a preliminary Labour certification approval (step 1) to be obtained before the final forms are submitted to USCIS (step 2) and that typically takes about 7 business days. So if all goes well with your department expediting the paperwork, it will take at most 30-35 days to receive the H-1B approval notice. It is not 6-7 weeks. I hope this helps.

        • Sapna on January 15, 2016 at 7:55 PM


          You are correct! The community college I work has a Special education unit,. They hired me as a teacher on H-1b visa last week. There was no lottery, no April 1st filing date. It took around two weeks for the paper work to get approved. I have B.S. in Special Education. Good luck every one!


  208. moulika on January 14, 2016 at 4:25 PM

    With in a Month this is gonna Happen now i have to think if i have to convert to H4EAD which will take more than 3 months and my job would be in stake

    • Abbas Karim on January 14, 2016 at 7:23 PM


      No offence, but your situation is like a baby crying when someone is going to take a shoe from it. However, here there are people who are going to lose both their legs! At least you have an anchor, in terms of your H-1b spouse.

  209. ImmigrationDon on January 14, 2016 at 3:36 PM

    The only way of communication that has to be legal is MAIL.
    Because as per STEM OPT requirements, you are required to update your physical mailing address with your University or SEVIS database.

    DHS putting a note on its website cannot bar students from saying already issued EAD is invalid – there is no rule anywhere that a student has to keep checking DHS’s website.

    DSO sending an email is also not a valid means of communication – because there is no rule you have to keep checking your email.

    BUT There is a rule that says you have to provide your most updated physical mailing address – so if you get a mail in your mailbox saying your EAD is invalid – ONLY then its invalid. (If you say you didn’t receive the mail because you moved, then its your fault because as per OPT requirements you are required to update your most recent address)

    So DHS/USCIS will HAVE TO send physical mail to inform the students.
    OR the employer itself has to tell the student that his/her work auth has been revoked.

    UNTIL one of this happens – do not quit jobs or panic.

    • ASN on January 14, 2016 at 4:11 PM

      ImmigrationDon, that is not quite true. An immigration attorney on another blog has opined that DHS just needs to update their website and have the DSO’s send out emails to affected students that their EADs are no longer valid and that they need to stop working. They don’t have to send a physical mail to each and every one of us. Let’s hope that it does not come to it though.

      • ImmigrationDon on January 14, 2016 at 4:34 PM

        If you look at the DACA case where EAD’s were revoked, The USCIS site posts the notification but also says everyone was sent the notice in MAIL.
        Yes – USCIS will post it on the website – they have to. But every affected student whose EAD was approved must be notified via MAIL asking them to return it.

        • CN on January 14, 2016 at 5:03 PM

          @ImmigrationDon: Although your point is not completely wrong, very recently (last week) I received an email from my DSO which states that Sevis requirements were updated recently and I need to provide the DSO my most recent and valid email address and phone number. She also asked to re-check these details before providing since it is going in Sevis database.

          That counters your argument, somehow. They do have our emails and phone numbers now.

  210. Abbas Karim on January 14, 2016 at 3:14 PM

    People who are working at non profit universities/community colleges/ high schools affiliated with non profit higher education institutes, research institutes affiliated with non profit higher education institutes should encourage the respective HR division about the option of H-1b cap exempt quickly to keep oneself employed and in status!

    Abbas ( PhD in Archaeology 2014)

  211. Tianle on January 14, 2016 at 1:45 PM

    Please forgive me if this offenses any of you. I just can’t understand why some people keep emphasizing they haven’t heard anything from DHS or DSO? Does that make people feel more secure? I personal don’t think so. Literally, they do can inform everyone at the last minute. It wouldn’t take DHS more than a day to informal all the schools and it wouldn’t take each school more than a day to informal all its international students. Even if schools don’t keep track of which students are affected, they just need to send a massive email to all the international students and ask people to identify by themselves. At this moment, no news is actually bad news. Isn’t it?

  212. Harsha on January 14, 2016 at 3:10 AM

    Don’t worry guys everything will be okay. We are 34,000 + strong. We have to stick together, communicate and share ideas to overcome this hurdle.

    One strategy would be a change of status if the worst case happens on 02/12/2016.
    Because the law states that,
    ” As long as a foreign national files for an Extension of Stay or Change of Status or Adjustment of Status before the period of authorized stay expires, the foreign
    national will be considered to be maintaining status until a decision is made on the application or petition, even if the decision is after the date on the I-94 expires.”

    • Wayne on January 14, 2016 at 12:12 PM

      True. Just cannot imagine 34000 + individuals being taken out of the US economy . It would certainly add have a cascading effect. Additionally imagine the thousands of projects that would stall if you take so many skilled workers out of the workforce.

      • Harsha on January 14, 2016 at 3:56 PM

        Yes, you are correct Wayne. I am also worried about what will happen to my project if something bad happens after February 12th.
        However my supervisor is a very helpful, he is aware of the STEM OPT situation and told me he would do everything to support me for the H-1B, hopefully by submitting application by the end of February.

        • Neeraj C. on January 14, 2016 at 4:07 PM

          @Harsha: Your employer might complete the H1B process by end of Feb. But the filing would not be done till April 1st.
          Plus, as far as I know you will be needed to maintain your status anyways till your H1 period starts (with an assumption of it being picked).
          So, though its a positive sign in a way but its handicapped for now.

        • Abbas Karim on January 14, 2016 at 7:41 PM

          @ Harsha,

          Are you working for an IT company or is it different? It all depends on your employer. Provide more details if possible.
          For example, I am working for a museum as an artifact restoration expert, it is a highly skilled profession. The museum is run by a state university and the museum director has instructed HR division to hire me on H-1b. This is cap exempt, NO lottery, NO April 1st filing date!

          Ask from your supervisor if employer is CAP EXEMPT! If so you hit the jackpot!

          Abbas ( PhD in Archaeology 2014)

          • Harsha on January 15, 2016 at 7:56 AM

            Dr. Abbas Sir,

            Thank you for the reply.
            My project is done in a state zoo, I work as entomologist ( M.S in Animal Science ). My project, all members including myself is paid by a university. Supervisor said, it is cap exempt and he got the green card using that method. He said he will totally support me. Will I be okay?

            Thank you!

          • A on January 15, 2016 at 2:14 PM

            @ Abbas Karim

            Hi Abbas- I have a PhD in water resources engineering and I work for a state agency. My agency never hired an international student on F-1 before and they have no clue if they are exempt from cap-gap. Would you happen to know a database where I can find if my employer is exempt from cap-gap? Any help will be greatly appreciated. I am at a loss here because our HR never did this for anyone. Thanks!

          • Harsha on January 18, 2016 at 12:10 PM

            Dr. Abbas,

            My boss said that they will file cap exempt H-1b this week through the university. Boss has instructed the HR to do the process ASAP, since I am an important member of the project done at the zoo and losing me would mean the whole project would be jeopardized!

            Thank you for your guidance sir!


    • Priyanka on January 14, 2016 at 1:43 PM

      Hey Harsha,

      Thanks. If it could be done, then I think problem is solved for everybody.

  213. Kumar on January 14, 2016 at 12:03 AM

    The system should at least care for those students who came here with this rule intact (that includes me). If I have to go back now, forget about American dreams, with such a huge bank loan even my Indian dreams will be shattered. OPT expiring in March.

    • Andy on January 14, 2016 at 11:44 AM

      Well bank loans cannot be the reason. US Govt or colleges never told you to take a loan and come here. You have provided enough evidence that you can pay the college fees and support your living.

      • ASN on January 14, 2016 at 12:17 PM

        Bank loans specifically cannot be a reason. But in general, hardship to students (namely having to suddenly end employment and leave the country) can be. It was the reason the initial 6 month stay was granted in the first place. It’s why DHS mentions this in their motion requesting the extension.

      • sahil on January 14, 2016 at 1:12 PM

        thanks andy, that is brand new piece of information !

      • SDpd on January 14, 2016 at 1:56 PM

        Hi Andy , warm regards ….. your point is true…. they never told that , you have to understand how the system works , in my field I applied for nearly 200 jobs under OPT to get the training , I got call for 2 interviews , why so many rejections ? I am sure , because many applications straight away rejected me because I was not a local person or a PR holder , I was told ,i repeat I was told that all though I was really really good enough skill wise , they would wait and prefer someone who is local and will not have to apply or renew the work visa , no company wants that …if you apply for internships or training its the same story , at least in my field , I am from Electrical engineering. Point is many of my colleagues are in the same boat too. Now the company that I am working with , they are really happy with me , I increased the productivity , created more jobs because of me they hired 3/4 CAD people , all were locals , point is they hired me inspite of my temporary status is because they could not find a guy as skilled as I was ,they did interview 11 candidates before me, 10 were from Michigan area (local) and one was an international student, i was the 12th one in the line. They have to find the right match ..thats the most important point , Andy … it is not the quanlity of STEM workers but rather the quality that matters . I do understand the illegal practices that has been going on some of the IT firms or consultancies but you cannot generalize the entire OPT program because of that , we do set the standard of any company high , make them more competitive , so what will happen if you completely ban this , fine , companies will start outsourcing people from outside , will they hire more local population as a substitute ? I highly doubt that , they did not meet the requirements in the first place. The skill gap is the cause for that . Its very easy for you to say go away , get out but if you work in a technical sector , you will really understand the contributions that we make to the job market as in whole , I mean america has 100’s and thousands of problems , there are illegals everywhere , but you are just targeting the wrong set of people that’s all I have to say , Wash tech workers are from IT field , they are only seeing what happens in IT field under opt , they are not seeing how the situation is in non-IT fields , in any case you will not understand but in the long run economy will feel the consequences in the tech sector , for years to come . A bunch on immigration lawyers can jump in the air for which they think is the victory for american workers , what they dont understand is that they are doing their economy more harm than good in the long run. PS my employer doesnot do cheap labor , it does not do any illegal activity , I dont understand what the problem is ….. wasn’t that the part of the american constitution to give chance to highly skilled talented technical people to spearhead American tech sector of course without harming the local workforce , which in my case I have given plenty of prove that we don’t , in my field this shit does not happen

        • Rodrigues on January 15, 2016 at 8:48 AM

          Beautiful answer !
          I am not in IT but I do understand the problems caused by malpractices in IT companies specially with regard to twisting the immigration rules. Frankly I am in this situation because of the inability of H1B to tackle “quality vs quantity issue”. Harsh as it may sound even after getting H1B most IT professionals still “work from home” (which can be done from India as well, they dont need to be in the lab to do research and experiments !).

          Still, Washtech needs to spend more energy in tackling the illegals than discouraging the legal ones. They may not fully understand but there will be harsh consequences if foreign students stopped coming to US for research and study due to unfriendly immigration rules.

          • CN on January 15, 2016 at 2:39 PM

            @Rodrigues, @SDpd : Amazing replies guys. Rodrigues, you nailed it. With their limited vision, WashTech does not understand the tremendous long term impact driving out international tech professionals will have on US economy. There is already some churn in the economy due to international stock markets and oil markets since last 2-3 weeks. Imagine the condition of US economy if 34000+ skilled workers were to leave the country.
            All said and done, we should remain positive no matter what ! May the odds be ever in our favour !! 😀

          • Rahul on January 16, 2016 at 1:24 AM

            @ CN

            Well Said! Never give up home, always there is a chance!

        • Reza Imran on January 16, 2016 at 1:37 AM

          US policy makers and citizens should know that STEM is not equal to IT.
          F1 OPT and H-1b is dramatically skewed by IT graduates and cheap IT laborers who come to USA.
          The greedy Indians and the dumb US policy makers are making the day of all the Non-IT STEM graduates!


      • vicky on January 18, 2016 at 12:54 PM

        Yeah! agreed bank loans cannot be the reason, but if one is capable enough then why would one need a loan. Does that mean a poor guy who has no money but wants to do masters, has no right of education from good institute.

  214. Mohammad Qudeisat on January 13, 2016 at 10:47 PM

    Today I received an email from my University (which is a top US university) stating that my employer will need to terminate my employment by Feb 12th if the court deadline isn’t extended. Looks like things are not going well for us

    • Raghuram Sukumar on January 14, 2016 at 7:13 AM

      Which university? Can you forward the email to me?

    • Sahil on January 14, 2016 at 8:40 AM

      Can you please also share how much grace period your email has mentioned you could stay before leaving the country. Plus any relevant details.

    • Sujit Ballal on January 14, 2016 at 9:22 AM

      Rubbish. Either your Univ is not top or they have idiots working in the international students department. Even reputed law firms helped scare everyone with miscommunication and rumors in this case until DHS clarified. At least as of now there is no communication to universities from DHS on taking any action. I am in touch with international student offices of all universities in Philadelphia, and nobody has received any such direction from anyone…

      • Sahil on January 14, 2016 at 1:06 PM

        And I can support Sujit on this for Univ of Maryland. No communications at all. The university said I have nothing to worry about as the DHS or USCIS has not informed them about this matter.

        By the way univ rank really has nth to do with this at all. If you have an email share here else stop raising false alarms.

    • sd on January 14, 2016 at 9:31 AM

      well Unless you dont recieve any information from uscis or your case status shows valid , donot quit the job

    • Aditya on January 14, 2016 at 9:33 AM

      Can you share the email? Also, is it will or may?

    • ASN on January 14, 2016 at 9:54 AM

      If it is Purdue that sent that email, then disregard it. Purdue students called up their ISS yesterday after receiving the email and confirmed that they were just guessing. They have received no official communication from USCIS about this. We had this discussion on the immigrationgirl blog.

    • Mohammad Qudeisat on January 14, 2016 at 1:24 PM

      Yes, it was Purdue University.Text of the email:

      Dear ***:
      Our records indicate you currently have an active or pending STEM Extension of OPT.
      As you may be aware, in response to a lawsuit filed against the United States Department of Homeland Security, the Federal Rule that introduced the STEM Extension of OPT in 2008 was vacated (eliminated) in August 2015 by the Judge in the District Court of the District of Columbia who was presiding over the case. To give employees and employers an opportunity to make arrangements to pursue other options, the Judge provided for a 6 month Stay (delay) of the vacature of the Rule; that Stay is scheduled to expire on February 12, 2016.
      You can learn more about the case, the court ruling, and the most current information by visiting our website at:
      If the Stay of the vacature is not extended by the Court before February 12, 2016, you will no longer be eligible for employment under the OPT STEM Extension employment category, and if you are employed and you are using your STEM OPT Employment Eligibility as the basis of your employment eligibility, your employer will be required to end your employment on February 12, 2016. If you have questions about your options, you may contact our office via email, telephone, or walk-in (during walk-in hours).
      If the Stay is not extended, and if your initial 12 month period of OPT has expired, you must end your employment on February 12, 2016. You will have a 60 day “grace period” from February 12, 2016 in which to consider other options or prepare to exit the United States.
      You must also inform your employer regarding your eligibility for employment so they are aware and can advise you of your options within the organization.
      In our effort to insure you receive this information, you might receive it twice. If you do, we apologize for the extra message.

      With our best regards,

      • RK on January 14, 2016 at 2:33 PM

        Even I’m a Purdue grad. Yes, all of us got an email from the university.. Got this email yesterday evening . I think they are just giving a heads-up or just want to cover them on whatever happens, that they are not responsible at the end.

      • sd on January 14, 2016 at 3:02 PM

        I still dont believe this , we will have to wait and see if my university gives me a similar kind of information , DHS has not said anything regardsing this matter specially to leave the country , this looks more like a self opinionated opinion rather than an official update , as long as you put your case status online and it shows its valid , you are good to go , the court gave 6 months to make arrangements ? i dont think so ? the court gave six months to frame the rule by regular public comment period

  215. Debasish Boral on January 13, 2016 at 6:52 PM

    Wash Tech DID NOT file a motion. Wash Tech responded to DHS’s motion to the court to extend the deadline.

  216. sss on January 13, 2016 at 2:32 PM

    thing is even if the rule gets vacated , DHS has to provide that information to us via an official email or letter that your EAD card is invalid , it is DHS who has to inform us , well in that case you can work unless or rather until DHS tells you your application for opt extension is not valid anymore , or say your EAD card (opt extension ) is not valid anymore , I suppose that will take time , atleast 2 weeks , you can work little more earm extra cash , we have to all wait and see , best way is just wait and see , there is no point of any discussion , time is the only thing that will tell us how this drama will eventually end .Best way is to not act unless you have been told by DHS OR the DSO that your EAD is invalid , i Suspect that can take atleast few days to even weeks , unless you are not given a notice or something you can continue working , i mean how many people know this is happening ?? think about them how will they know …?lol they have to be told . The fastest way is email or telling by DSO but that wont be so rapid too ,,thats my opinion ..just wait and see

    • TS on January 13, 2016 at 4:35 PM

      We have been waiting since past 5 months without any guidance. I was wondering if it is possible for a student to contact USCIS directly and ask about the validity of current EAD? Has anyone tried this and heard anything back?

    • Sahil on January 13, 2016 at 4:40 PM

      I think, DHS can let affected students know through a notice on their website.

      But that is not my concern, the problem is as it cuts close to deadline , I and my company have less time to act on alternatives. I am sure new rule will come by May 10 or before that. But the window between Feb 12 and May 10 is of great concern. Problem being how to maintain status in that time ? I am sure no one will be asked to leave the country on Feb 12, just stop working. But what would be the period to prepare to go home would be defined by DHS., and could be at the most 60 days, taking you to April 12th. If in that time rule comes back those with existing EAD cards which were nullified and returned to USCIS on Feb 12th would not have time to apply for new ones.

  217. Sahil on January 13, 2016 at 11:29 AM


    Could you advise or search on the possibility of DHS ignoring court ruling altogether ?

    And in case court denies DHS’s motion, what other tricks DHS may have left to save the rule ? I am pretty sure they cant communicate things like returning EAD cards at this point by Feb 12.

    • Raghuram Sukumar on January 13, 2016 at 11:38 AM

      I have no idea. Let’s hope court will grant the extension.

  218. Sahil on January 13, 2016 at 9:45 AM

    As negative as the WashTech motion may sound it raises some points:
    1) Fed court cannot grant an extension
    2) DHS did not do enough to communicate the vacatur news. I am sure there are many who are unaware of this drama altogether.

    • Abhi on January 13, 2016 at 9:59 AM

      Yes I agree. A lot of points in the document are valid arguments. As much as I want to think “Something will work out”, the fact that the deadline is next month is now scaring me.

    • ASN on January 13, 2016 at 2:15 PM


      1) If the Federal (district) court cannot grant an extension, wouldn’t DHS have filed the motion with the Appeals court instead of the district court?
      Furthermore, wouldn’t Judge Huvelle have told them that they were filing the motion with the wrong court and that she didn’t have jurisdiction on the case any more, instead of asking WashTech for a brief opposing the motion, like she fully intends to make a decision on the case? Emily, the attorney who runs the ImmigrationGirl blog, seems to think that the DHS can ask the Appeals court to remand the case to the district court for Judge Huvelle to implement her decision. Raghu, I am curious about what Attorney Murali thinks about this, and WashTech’s motion as a whole. Would you be able to ask him?

      2) DHS’ lack of communication is an extremely valid point, but I don’t know if it would/should have a bearing on the judge’s decision on whether or not to grant the requested extension. I mean, it would have been really nice if DHS had updated the USCIS website and been better at communicating developments in the case and “what if” scenarios to students, but I think they can argue that they have been communicating with school DSO’s and the DSO’s need to communicate with the students. They can also argue that they were waiting to ask the judge if already granted EADs would still be valid even if the rule is vacated on February 12, before they are able to communicate that information to the students. While not ideal, it is completely legal for DHS to let students know as late as February 12 that they would have to stop working the next day and make plans to leave the country. Judge Huvelle had given DHS 6 months to come up with a new rule and DHS has spent all that time trying to follow her order. I don’t think it was legally binding on them to update their website and keep communicating to students.

      3) I don’t think that the DHS can just ignore the court’s order, but the AILA leadership blog had published an article recently that said that DHS has a couple of options more even if the court doesn’t grant the extension, one of them being appealing this decision to the Appeals court and requesting a temporary stay on the vacatur while the Appeals court reviews the decision.

  219. Pooja on January 13, 2016 at 1:23 AM

    Thanks Raghu for your continuous updates on this.

  220. SHRAVAN on January 12, 2016 at 11:03 PM

    Hi Raghuram,

    When does the court respond after Washtech’s Jan 11th response?


  221. Shanks on January 12, 2016 at 5:17 PM

    Just in case the court decides to not grant extension. What happens to the new rule? It still goes through right? So for people whose opt is expiring after may, they can still apply to the new stem extension when it gets passed in May ?

    • Karthik on January 13, 2016 at 9:33 AM

      Hey Shanks,

      If the court fails to grant extension, DHS/USCIS might not be able to publish the new rule. Significant and major rules are required to have a 60 day delayed effective date. Since Feb 12th is less than a month away, I doubt USCIS will be able to do anything. Having said that, if the agency wants to make the rule effective sooner, it must provide a persuasive reason as to why this is in public’s interest.

      If the rule goes through, candidates can apply for STEM extension. I suppose we’d have to wait and see. Next few days are going to be crucial.

      • Shanks on January 13, 2016 at 2:44 PM

        Hi Karthik,
        I meant, if DHS will be allowed to publish later at the date they plan to publish which is somewhere in May. I know if the court doesn’t grant an extension, the old rule will be vacated, but my question is about the new rule.
        If the court doesn’t grant an extension, does it mean DHS has to stop its reviewing of the comments (which is the stage they are in at present) and scrap the new rule altogether? I mean, they can still go ahead and publish the rule in May right?

  222. Raghuram Sukumar on January 12, 2016 at 2:18 PM

    I read from page 1 to 18 and then the conclusion. Check out the two paragraphs I added in the blog post (above). That’s’ troubling! Let’s wait for court’s decision.

    • Michael on January 12, 2016 at 2:27 PM

      Stop worrying people if you don’t have a legal opinion about the motion!!

    • neeraj c on January 12, 2016 at 4:21 PM

      @Raghu: Do we have an idea when will the court revert back

  223. Linda Lin on January 12, 2016 at 12:26 PM

    OMG……crossing my finger!

  224. Linda Lin on January 12, 2016 at 10:27 AM

    I am currently in OPT extension. Is there any updated news for the Jan 11, 2016 deadline extension? Did Federal Course approved this request?

  225. PD on January 12, 2016 at 10:22 AM

    Hey Raghu,
    What did the Washtech decide on 11th Jan? Did they grant the extension?

  226. Naveen on January 12, 2016 at 8:47 AM

    Hello Raghu,

    Did washtech say anything against the motion to the court? When do you think we can expect a decision from court?

    • neeraj chandwani on January 12, 2016 at 12:44 PM

      Hello All,
      Washtech came back with one of the most deterring articles. I am really sorry but that motion is a 32 page attempt of revoking the OPT Stem Extension for good. The motion instructs the court in a daunting way to not grant the extension as DHS hasn’t ran into something unnatural.
      Let’s not reach a conclusion but it looks very gloomy.

  227. Sagar on January 12, 2016 at 8:38 AM

    Dec 24, 2015 – Court gave a deadline of Jan 11, 2016 for Wash Teach to respond to Motion to Extend the Deadline.

    What happened after that? did washTech responded on 01/11/2016?

    • Raghuram Sukumar on January 12, 2016 at 12:05 PM

      I have updated the blog post (Jan 2016) update with motion filed by Wash tech.

      • Sagar on January 13, 2016 at 9:14 AM

        I read your post…. I am just confused now..
        I am on OPT extension now starting Dec 2015.. and valid through may 2017. Am i still eligible to work after feb 12th?


        • Sahil on January 13, 2016 at 9:42 AM

          No you cannot if rule is vacated by the court

          • robolife on January 13, 2016 at 4:42 PM

            That is not correct. It is not known yet, DHS is yet to confirm if people with existing EAD can work. The possibility is high that they can when you compare the similar DACA EAD case last year.

  228. Vineeth kumar on January 12, 2016 at 7:53 AM

    Hi raghu thanks for the update on 1/11/2016.

    • Debasish Boral on January 12, 2016 at 11:04 AM

      The honorable judge Huvelle has not ruled yet. Can only wait and watch … for now!

  229. Vineeth kumar on January 12, 2016 at 7:50 AM

    Hi raghu what does the white house has done till now after signing the petition and action did they took on petition which we have signed till now if it didn’t take any action in this short span will they going to take any decision and implement the rule ?
    @raghuram sukumar

  230. Vineeth kumar on January 12, 2016 at 7:40 AM

    Hi raghu the video which you have uploaded and shared information for all the viewers is this was the response given by Washington alliance after hearing to the response from them did The court tell their decision that is what you both explained us ? Could provide the document or link for page no.8 document filed by dhs to federal court ? And you said in the video that dhs said intially current stem opt approved and already who are in stem opt for them it will not be affected after that you said dhs said for everyone one who stem opt they under review so these things are said today in court by dhs or previously it was mentioned
    after dhs ask the court to extend the time to review the comments and court asked Washington alliance to respond did they respond if they have responded what did they tell ? After listening to that what court said ? Or still court has tell the decision after they hear the response from Washington alliance ? Or still Washington alliance has to tell their response to the court and court waiting for their ? Did the court has responded to the dhs request to extend the time limit from Feb 12 2016 to may 10 2016 . If they have responded what they have responded ?

    In the video attorny mr. Murali bhashyam read the motion and in that he told about the US EMPLOYER COULD YOU PLEASE EXPLAIN WHAT IS THAT ?


    AND WITH IN THIS SHORT TIME what can we do to immediately to implement the opt stem extension rule within this short span

    In this short span will the white house will take the action and implement the rule ? If by chance court is in favour of Washington alliance in coming days will the white house has authority to change the decision and make in favour of students?

    • Raghuram Sukumar on January 12, 2016 at 8:10 AM

      Link to the document and link to the video is in the blog post. Check under Dec 24, 2015 section.

      • Rajeev on January 15, 2016 at 9:19 AM

        Hi Raghu,

        When are we expecting to hear back from Judge Huvelle about her ruling towards the extension motion by DHS? Is there a time frame for the court decision?

        • Raghuram Sukumar on January 15, 2016 at 10:13 AM

          I’m not sure. Monday is a Federal Holiday.

  231. ASN on January 11, 2016 at 5:24 PM

    This is from Stony Brook University’s website, so please remember that this is not legally binding, just what Stony Brooks (and many other DSOs from other universities, judging by some of the

    “UPDATE 2: DHS has requested to extend the deadline from Feb. 12, 2016 to May 10, 2016 to allow time to complete rulemaking, train agency personnel, and coordinate with the community. WashTech has until Jan. 11, 2016 to respond to this request. If the court does not extend DHS’ request, the current STEM OPT rule will expire on Feb. 13, 2016. The ramifications of an expiry on both current and pending STEM OPT students are as yet unknown.”

    So make of that what you will, I guess?

    • neeraj c on January 11, 2016 at 10:15 PM

      Hello ASN,
      Isn’t that something we know from start.
      What do you mean by “So make of that what you will, I guess?”?
      Its pretty obvious.

      • Raghuram Sukumar on January 12, 2016 at 6:58 AM

        That’s a common expression of speech that Americans use on daily basis 🙂

      • ASN on January 12, 2016 at 7:26 AM

        Sorry, Neeraj C, for some reason, half my comment disappeared. Here’s what I wanted to point out. On the Stony Brook University website that I’ve linked to, it says: “DHS has announced that it plans to issue guidance on the impact of the decision, but there are no indications that it is planning to truncate the work authorization of F-1 students whose OPT has been extended under the current rule. F-1 students who have already been approved for a 17-month extension of OPT on the basis of a qualifying STEM degree should remain eligible to work through the expiration of their STEM OPT employment authorization document (EAD), even if that date falls after the February 12, 2016 deadline. In the unlikely event that DHS were to fail to meet the deadline, we would not expect it to cancel otherwise valid STEM OPT EADs unless the court were to order such an action. Given DHS’s strong incentive to comply with the court’s order, and the court’s desire to avoid causing hardship to F-1 students and employers, we do not expect this outcome.” Of course, this was written before DHS failed to meet the deadline and asked the court for an extension.

  232. Raghuram Sukumar on January 11, 2016 at 3:38 PM

    All: Few updates.

    1. I have split the comments into pages (50 per page) and latest comment are displayed at the top.

    2. If you have commented with valid email id (and confirmed your email), you can write/reply to a comment via email and also read the new comments via email. Max 10 emails per hour.

    3. Ask An Attorney: Added 3 new service in addition to Email and Phone Call options. You can hire Attorney Murali for responding to your RFE on OPT Extension ( and few of our readers have hired him to the respond to RFE). and I always recommend you have an attorney respond to your RFE. Stakes are high!

  233. Abhishek YV on January 11, 2016 at 12:58 PM

    My OPT expires around the 26th of February. I just applied for an extension a couple of days back. So, I am guessing as I am allowed to work for 180 days after my OPT expires, even if the OPT Extension rule is vacated on 12th Feb, I can still work after that right? And maybe the DHS will approve my application once the new rule comes out? Is that a possibility?

  234. Raghuram Sukumar on January 11, 2016 at 11:18 AM

    Blog Post is Updated. Check fo the Link to New Video Interview with Attorney Murali ( under Dec 24, 2015 Update Para).

    Question answered in the Video – What happens After Feb 12, 2016.

    • krishna on January 11, 2016 at 11:52 AM

      In the motion it says “If the Court vacates the 2008 STEM OPT Extension rule before DHS can publish a new final rule, foreign students seeking to continue their course of study through extended optional practical training in a STEM field with a U.S. employer will be prevented from doing so during a regulatory gap. See 8 C.F.R. § 214.2(f)(11)(i)(C)”

      8 C.F.R. § 214.2(f)(11)(i)(C): Applications for 17-month OPT extension. A student meeting the eligibility requirement in paragraph (f)(10)(ii)(C) of this section may file for a 17-month extension of employment authorization by filing Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, with the appropriate fee, prior to the expiration date of the student’s current OPT employment authorization. If a student timely and properly files an application for a 17-month OPT extension, but the Form I-766, Employment Authorization Document, currently in the student’s possession, expires prior to the decision on the student’s application for 17-month OPT extension, the student’s Form I-766 is extended automatically pursuant to the terms and conditions specified in 8 CFR 274a.12(b)(6)(iv)

      Do you think DHS is specifically talking only about new and pending STEM applications

      • ASN on January 11, 2016 at 1:29 PM

        Mark, if you watch the latest video with Attorney Murali that Raghu posted today, it is clear that Mr. Murali seems to think that that applies to all STEM students, even those with already approved EADs, and not just new and pending applications.Emily from the ImmigrationGirl blog seems to think the same thing. (However, I think it is possible that DHS is deliberately ambiguous because they haven’t decided what to do with already approved EADs if the rule does get vacated on Feb 12? I don’t know.).

        Raghu, thank you for that latest video. Were you able to ask Mr. Murali if he personally thinks that the judge will grant the 3 month extension? What does he think are the odds of that happening?

        • Raghuram Sukumar on January 11, 2016 at 2:38 PM

          I *think* DHS doesn’t want to announce that and create mass panic.

          • Prashanth on January 11, 2016 at 9:29 PM

            and what makes you think that there will not be ‘mass panic’ on Feb 12th when students are working are told to stop working right away? Use your head.

          • Raghuram Sukumar on January 11, 2016 at 10:30 PM

            I’m covering immigration news in this blog since 2007. And I’m using my head.

    • ASN on January 11, 2016 at 1:49 PM

      Raghu, thank you for that video. Were you able to ask Mr. Murali if he thinks that the court will grant the extension? After reading the motion, does he think that the reasons given by DHS for asking for the extension are strong enough that that we have a realistic chance of getting the extension? Thanks.

      • Raghuram Sukumar on January 11, 2016 at 2:42 PM

        I didn’t ask him, but we know that answer to that. We should know the courts decision after Wash Tech responds today in next few days.

        • Michael on January 11, 2016 at 2:54 PM

          “we know that answer to that”… I didn’t understand this, what does this mean? Do you imply that we know that it will be rejected!?

          • Raghuram Sukumar on January 11, 2016 at 3:17 PM

            Which means “Only the Federal Court Judge knows the answer”.

          • GP on January 11, 2016 at 3:25 PM

            Well lets hope Judge sees the economic impact of this and grants the extension!!

            In the meantime, how will DHS proceed if the extension does not go through. I mean its essentially the responsibility of DHS to officially communicate all the employers and students informing about the already issued EAD cards invalidity..Because if there is no official communication from DHS or School, the issued cards are valid according to the dates on it!! We know because we are following blogs and articles.. But most of the students dont!!

            Dont you guys think this process itself is a 2 month mini project from USCIS and DHS??


        • Prashanth on January 11, 2016 at 9:33 PM

          check the above link, Daca EADs issued before the deadline date were announced to be valid. The same should apply for Stem EADs too

          • Raghuram Sukumar on January 12, 2016 at 6:59 AM

          • ASN on January 12, 2016 at 7:20 AM

            Raghuram, in both your updated link as well as Prashanth’s link, it says this: ” This action did *not* apply to the approximately 108,000 3-year work permits that were approved and mailed by USCIS *on or before* the Feb.
            16, 2015, injunction date and that have never been returned or reissued by USCIS.” Doesn’t that mean that what Prashanth said in his comment is correct? That DACA EADs issued before the deadline date were announced to be valid? I don’t see anything in your updated link that contradicts this.
            Please, do correct me if I am missing something.

          • ASN on January 12, 2016 at 7:46 AM

            I am not aware of the specifics of the DACA case though. Was there a stay involved in that case too? Why did USCIS issue 3 year EADs even after the court’s decision on February 16, 2015 (which they later recalled and replaced with 2 year EADs)?

          • Raghuram Sukumar on January 12, 2016 at 8:13 AM

            It was complicated mess 🙂 Right now that case is with Supreme Court. We should know of the court is going to take this case this session. If they don’t take up this session. By next session President Obama will not be n the office and this was one of his Milestone. So, people are hoping the Supreme Court will take this case up.

  235. sara on December 30, 2015 at 5:09 PM

    If the court decides to revoke the OPT STEM extension, will students still be eligible for the regular 12-month OPT or does the Washington Alliance of Technology Workers have an issue with this too?

  236. Aowoo on December 30, 2015 at 1:39 PM

    According to 1point3acres, a major Chinese immigration forum/blog, the new OPT extension rule has been internally approved by USCIS (http: // The screenshot embedded in the article seems to be taken from an email from the visa department of Duke University.

    I have no way to verify the authenticity of the news but thought people might be interested in an update.

    • Raghuram Sukumar on December 30, 2015 at 2:37 PM


      • ank on December 30, 2015 at 10:28 PM

        Read this blog the guy running the case ..ask Murthy sir to explain what is he planning on doing … if you ban opt they are not understanding how bad the consequences can be …

        • Raghuram Sukumar on December 31, 2015 at 12:07 PM

          Here the line that I have been saying all along…

          As DHS pointed out to the court, once the rule is vacated on February 12, aliens working on the OPT extensions will have to cease work and leave the country.

          Let’s hope court will respond by then.

          • Jason on December 31, 2015 at 12:39 PM

            Guys…That blog belongs to Mr. Miano, who represents WashTech. Just check his previous blog posts to see how confident he pretends to be for every single case he is working on…

            A lot of immigration lawyers DO believe that the motion will pass. 50,500 comments is the most amount of comments DHS encountered in its’ history, as pointed out in the motion, which is an extraordinary situation. Also, the decision is up to the judge and judge only, the fact that Mr. Miano is making fierce predictions about the outcome of a decision which is only up to the Judge seems quite unethical.

            To add on top of that, Raghuram, at this time, we don’t need to see posts from you like “OMG I’VE BEEN TELLING THIS ALL ALONG, YOU ARE SCREWED!!!” but rather research on it more. The fact is, even if this motion is denied, DHS is NOT out of legal maneuvers to gain time. This post summarizes what alternative legal actions DHS can take :


          • Raghuram Sukumar on January 1, 2016 at 8:58 AM


            Happy New Year to all.

            Lot of immigration lawyers said “DHS has plenty of time to implement this by Feb 12,2016”.

            There was one who predicted they would request extension after analyzing the timeline.

            Here’s my worry.

            Court gave 6 months. Rule was published only in Oct. I hope courts don’t use that as the excuse.

            Most students just want some rule. Impact of this rule would be felt when employer and manager sees the form they have to fill.

            Very reason why I write statements to create fear is not every student is careful enough to read and understand and follow the rules.

            In the backend I’m seeing so many OPT RFE questions to Murali who had more unemployment days due to carelessness.

            Remember there are students from schools like NPU and SVU.

          • ASN on January 1, 2016 at 9:24 AM

            Jason, thank you for linking to that visa lawyer blog. Hopefully, the motion will pass, but it is a relief to know that DHS has other options to stay the vacatur even if the motion does not pass. I am glad that the blog gives examples of what the DHS can do in such a case. The last line of the blog, however, sounds a big ambiguous to me; “CIS has not yet released official correspondence explaining whether students affected will be granted a STEM extension after the February deadline.”

            CIS is Center for Immigration Studies, the anti-immigration organization for which Mr. Miano writes the blog. I think that the blog post meant to say USCIS and not CIS. I am also guessing that the last line probably meant to say that the USCIS hasn’t yet released official correspondence explaining whether students on STEM extension with EAD cards expiring after Feb 12 will be allowed to continue if the motion does not pass, but I could be wrong.

          • Jason on January 1, 2016 at 9:02 AM

            Thanks Raghuram! Will you look into what DHS can do at this point to save OPT STEM? I still hope and believe that they are sane enough to do something to save the program because it has huge implications for US economy. Please let us know when you have more information!

          • ASN on January 4, 2016 at 1:39 AM

            Hi, Raghuram.

            Firstly, I want to thank you for this blog, and for pursuing this particular case, and letting affected students discuss their grievances and options in the comments, and giving us an opportunity to talk to Mr. Murali. Wish you a Happy New Year as well!

            In your last comment, you said: “Here’s my worry. Court gave 6 months. Rule was published only in Oct. I hope courts don’t use that as the excuse.”

            The current rule was vacated (with a stay) on August 12. The new proposed rule was published in the Federal Register on October 18, but DHS had to wait for OMB approval before they could publish it. They sent the rule for OMB approval on October 2, which is slightly over 1.5 months from the date of August 12, when the court decision was handed out. Do you not think that the judge would not consider it a reasonable amount of time to come up with a new rule in its entirety? Is that not the general amount of time needed by DHS to come up with a new rule? I am just curious. What does Attorney Murali think about this? While I know that nobody can say anything for sure, does Mr. Murali think that the motion to stay the vacatur will pass? Are you at liberty to say?

            Thank you, and please keep us posted.

          • Raghuram Sukumar on January 4, 2016 at 8:28 AM

            I will ask Murali about this when we meet next time. It maybe totally non-factor. Considering the changes they have made to the rule, it could have taken lot longer. I would have guess with the resources they have, they would submit the rule in 2 to 3 weeks for Approval. I’m guessing here.
            Who knows the efforts goes on behind the scenes. Maybe this is fastest they could do with resources they have.

          • Prasad Boyapati on January 6, 2016 at 4:47 PM


            Any latest information on this OPT STEM issue ?


          • GP on January 7, 2016 at 12:11 PM

            We have to wait till January 11th as the court has asked Washington workers union to reply on the DHS motion of stay extension. keeping fingers crossed!!

            Quoted form the below link “The District Court has in turn granted a WashTech motion to respond to the DHS request, giving the trade union until January 11 to respond.”


      • Verma on December 31, 2015 at 5:33 AM

        Is it approved or going to be approved.
        Lot of confusion.Hardly 34,900 students are on OPT extension.

        Hope DHS may go ahead with stringent rules to cout down heavy traffic for F1VSA and unauthorized stay in USA

        Dont worry…be happy…..have a wonderful New Year 2016.

        • Mark on January 1, 2016 at 10:20 AM

          ASN, I think so.

          Here is an another source from AILA about possible options for the DHS to delay the Feb.12 deadline

          • ASN on January 8, 2016 at 6:17 AM

            Looks like Miano came across that AILA leadership blog that told OPT STEM students that there was still time for DHS to do some legal maneuvering and told them not to panic. He has commented this in response on his own blog: “Several people have written saying that they heard if DHS fails on this motion they have two more chances by filing motions for stay pending appeal in the district court then in the circuit court. The paperwork in the current motion will not be finished until the end of this month, giving the judge just days to make the decision before the end of STEM OPT on Feb.
            12th (and it is entirely possible there will not be a decision before that date). Whoever has coming up with this nonsense has not checked a calendar.
            Even if there were time for DHS to do one or two more motions, DHS would make a motion to stay pending appeal of what? The question of whether DHS improperly denied the public notice comment is not on appeal. I guess DHS could make a motion but such a stay would be really short. Folks, you need to start listening to RELIABLE sources, not any person who can post to the Internet.”

            Also, in response to being asked “Does it mean that people who have already been issued OPT extension well beyond Feb 12th will not be able to work anymore, if judge decides not extend the stay or no decision is being made?”, he commented: “That is what DHS told the Court.”

            Raghuram, could you ask Attorney Murali if that last part is true? Because it seems odd that DHS would tell the court that already issued OPT STEM extensions would also be rendered invalid on Feb 12 if the rule is vacated then, while they are themselves reviewing that question and haven’t made a decision yet. Also, in the new proposed rule, DHS has said: “In the event, however, that a final rule resulting from this rulemaking does not take effect before the vacatur of the 2008 IFR, DHS will lack clear regulatory authority to grant pending applications for STEM OPT extensions. In that case, DHS will evaluate options to address pending applications, such as returning such applications and requiring re-filing upon completion of a final rule”, thus addressing new and pending applications, nothing addressing already granted ones.


          • Raghuram Sukumar on January 8, 2016 at 8:30 AM

            I will be talking to Murali today. I will ask him his thoughts.

          • ASN on January 8, 2016 at 8:33 AM

            Thank you, Raghuram. Please keep us posted.

          • RSha on January 8, 2016 at 11:15 AM

            I am also currently on STEM OPT extension with a valid EAD card that expires in November. Now, I have a valid EAD card and I have not received any official statement or update from either my school or DHS that tells me to stop working on February 12th. No one basically has told me to stop working beyond February 12th as yet. So, does this not mean that I am eligible to work beyond February 12th? The way DHS would communicate to the students who will apply for STEM extensions after Feb 12th, in case this rule does not go through, will be by telling them that they cannot get the extension in the first place. For people in similar situation as me, either the DHS or the school should officially tell us to stop working beyond February 12th otherwise our work permit is valid.

        • DVS on January 5, 2016 at 12:20 AM

          Even if the government is unsuccessful on its FRCP 60(b)(6) motion, it has another option to delay the February 12, 2016 deadline: a stay of the court’s injunction under FRCP 62(c). While Judge Huvelle would likely not grant a stay of her ruling after refusing to delay the stay of vacatur, the government must first file a 62(c) motion at the district court level before asking for a stay of the ruling from the Circuit Court, pursuant to Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure 8.
          The upshot of this legal maneuvering is that the government has given itself three bites at the apple to delay the February 12 deadline: (1) Judge Huvelle may grant the government its requested 90-day delay on the present motion; (2) Judge Huvelle may later grant a complete stay pending appeal of the injunction; or (3) the DC Circuit may stay Judge Huvelle’s injunction while it considers the merits of her rulings in the underlying case. Interested parties should stay tuned.

      • PKSharma on January 5, 2016 at 5:23 AM

        Dear Raghu Your comments on this please:

        I felt that, what the following gentle man arugument is more reasonable:

        By John Miano, December 14, 2015
        We previously reported that the DHS regulations allowing non-student graduates to work on student visas for 29 to 35 months on student visas under the Optional Practical Training program (OPT) were vacated by the U.S. District Court in D.C. vacated for DHS’s failure to give notice and comment. DHS crafted these regulations secretly, in cahoots with industry lobbyists, as a means to circumvent the H-1B visa quotas. Nonetheless, the District Court delayed vacating the rule for six months (until February 12, 2016) to give DHS time to do something to lessen the impact.
        Rather than reexamine the wisdom of allowing non-students to work on student visas for years, DHS decided to use this grace period to double down and put in place a new rule to allow these aliens to work even longer. DHS tried to correct the defect of the original, secret rule-making by going through the motions and giving a sham notice and comment where the agency had already decided (and announced) the outcome in advance.
        The hope among supporters of this misguided policy was that the new rule would be in place by February 12 so that the extended work period could continue seamlessly.
        That ain’t happening folks.
        A major regulation must be published in the Federal Register 60 days before it goes into effect. Today is the day and no regulation has been published.
        Ironically, supporters of the regulation undermined DHS’s efforts here. The purpose of a comment period is to allow the public to raise issues with proposed regulations. DHS has to respond to the comments made during the comment period. Apparently foreign students were led to believe that the comment period is a vote. (In fact, the agency has to evaluate the merits of each issue raised and cannot consider the volume of comments on either side.) DHS was bombarded with useless comments like “I vote to increase the stem Extention (sic) time period,” with titles like “Mass Mail Campaign 28”. DHS received over 43,000 comments on this proposed rule. By spamming DHS with comments, people claiming to be foreign students simply created more work for DHS by forcing the agency to wade through a larger volume of comments.
        DHS still has to respond to the comments and produce a final regulation. The regulation then has to be approved by the Office of Management and Budget. Finally, it has to be published in the Federal Register to go into effect 60 days later.
        In theory, DHS could go to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit (which now has jurisdiction over the case) and move for another delay of vacatur. The Court’s granting of such a delay is not certain, especially because the question of whether DHS failed to give notice and comment is not on appeal. Such a motion would be particularly amusing because DHS would have to explain how its mulligan comment period actually allowed the public to influence the decision on whether non-student aliens could work on student visas for more than a year.
        Hopefully, this whole process will be rendered moot in a few months. The question of whether DHS has the authority to allow non-students to work on student visas at all is before the D.C. Circuit Court. That round kicks off on December 21.
        In the meantime, the ending of OPT extensions on February 12 has not been disturbed by new rule-making. Plan accordingly.

  237. Noamaan Khan on December 29, 2015 at 6:40 PM

    I am curious about what would happen to students whose OPT is expiring around Feb end. Mine is expiring around Feb 22nd. Do I have any hope of benefitting from the new rule?

    • RJ on January 4, 2016 at 12:59 PM

      Mine expires on 1st February. Can i expect any miracle.

      • KSMD on January 5, 2016 at 5:41 AM

        One more sad news….to all OPT students…….we are helpless.
        We are disappointed. Spent lakhs of money for higher education.
        Returning home with MS degree with un known and unwarranted journey.

        DHS Files Last-Ditch Motion to Preserve Improper OPT Rules

        By John Miano, December 27, 2015

        As we have reported previously, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia vacated new regulations for the Optional Practical Training (OPT) program effective February 12, 2016. The court gave DHS a six-month delay to allow it to take some form of corrective action. The deadline for DHS to correct by getting a new rule in place has come and gone.

        (OPT is for foreign workers masquerading as students; the new regulations extend the period of time foreign graduates in STEM fields (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) could work under PT status.)

        As DHS pointed out to the court, once the rule is vacated on February 12, aliens working on the OPT extensions will have to cease work and leave the country.

        We now know how DHS will respond to its failure to meet the deadline. It filed a motion last week with the District Court to seek relief from the judgment, hoping to get a further delay on the vacatur of the regulation. This is a Hail Mary on the part of DHS; the Cowboys have better odds on making the Super Bowl this year than such a motion has to succeed.

        The motion process will extend into the middle of January. Depending on how long it takes the judge to decide, the foreign guest workers will get less than a months’ notice whether they can continue working past February 12. In fact, they may get no notice at all. February 12 could come with no court decision and they would have to immediately stop working.

        DHS could have used the six-month delay the court very generously granted them to plan an orderly transition for when the OPT extensions go away, but did not do so.

        If this sounds screwed up, remember that these are the same folks managing airport line security. ‘Nuf said.

        I found the materials DHS filed in support of the motion highly disturbing. Remember that OPT extensions were created in 2008 for the purpose of circumventing the quotas on H-1B visas; the thinking was, if the aliens could not get an H-1B visa, let them work on a student visa instead after graduation – even though they were no longer students. Microsoft pitched the idea of these regulations to the DHS secretary at a dinner party. DHS then worked in secrecy with industry and academic lobbyists to create the rules and promulgated them without any notice to the public that such rules were being considered.

        That, folks, is government corruption.

        When the court held last August that the regulations were promulgated unlawfully, what was DHS’s response to having a court-imposed deadline?

        In the motion, Rachel Canty, Assistant Director for External Operations for the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) at U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), said DHS took an “‘all-hands-on-deck’ approach, in which multiple offices from throughout DHS and other agencies helped develop and review the draft regulation on an expedited basis.”


        Compare and contrast: When Americans are replaced by H-1B workers, DHS does absolutely nothing. Zero. When foreign workers will lose their jobs, DHS summons “all-hands-on-deck” to respond.

        That shows a government with a completely warped sense of priorities.

        • Prashanth on January 5, 2016 at 8:10 AM

          What is sad about this. That’s from a blog by the person representing the Washington Alliance of Tech workers. What the hell do you expect out of him. Almost all immigration lawyers out there has expressed that the motion to delay by 90 days will go through. This John Miana guy is helpless.

          • Raghuram Sukumar on January 5, 2016 at 10:10 AM

            I don’t want to sound negative. But, he the guys who got this rule vacated.
            So, we can’t say he’s helpless. He knows more than what you and I know.
            It’s not what court would decide. We want the extension. Period. Right?

          • Prashanth on January 5, 2016 at 12:35 PM

            Well, I don’t feel it’s a coincidence that Obama announced his Executive action regarding OPT Stem last year and court vacates the rule due to ‘procedural deficiencies’ soon. I feel it be a ploy by the government to push through the new rule and the Judge is merely a puppet. That’s why I feel whatever these guys at WA Tech Workers are helpless.

          • Prashanth on January 5, 2016 at 12:36 PM

            Well, I don’t feel it’s a coincidence that Obama announced his Executive action regarding OPT Stem last year and court vacates the rule due to ‘procedural deficiencies’ soon. I feel it be a ploy by the government to push through the new rule and the Judge is merely a puppet. That’s why I feel these guys at WA Tech Workers are helpless.

          • karan on January 6, 2016 at 12:13 AM

            DHS still has to respond to the comments and produce a final regulation. The regulation then has to be approved by the Office of Management and Budget. Finally, it has to be published in the Federal Register to go into effect 60 days later.

            Rest is self explanatory.

            Packup.Say good bye to USA.

            Forget about your blunder by doing MS in US.

            We are aliens in US (from India) to earn our bread and butter by studying in USA.
            Unfortunately, we came to know confidentially that, OPT will be vacated.

            No amnesty ,no work permits, nothing but deportation.
            My only worry is that,

            Many innocent students were motivated to do MS in US by consultencies to mint money.This should be stopped.It is a cheating tactic by consultencies and some US universities who are depending on our tuition fees to run some of the universities in their country.

            It seems some universities do not require GRE and TOEFL

            Some students are registering MS and working outside in a remote place.
            Some are doing off the campus illegal jobs.
            Mnay were taken huge loan from Banks.How do they repay?.
            Neither Emily nor Raghuram Sukuamar, or Mr.Obama will help you out to repay your loans.
            They never asked you to study in US universities.
            It is you, with over ambition flew to US without any goals and vision.Blind decision. So suffer….
            Now a days F1 VISA sucess rate is 100% .
            This clearly indicates that, OPT will be revoked in few days or weeks.
            You are asking silly questions such as my OPT expires on so… and it or any any
            First of all why US should give you jobs/ OPT??????…


            Come back, start own business , develop India like Japanese who believe drop by drop make the ocean.
            Why cann’t Indian students work with same vigour,intelligence,hard work at India?

            Who knows one day India may establish much better companies like….Microsoft etc..We have highly precious brains.Use it …….
            We must give toughest of the tough competetion to USA in IT.
            We have to make India as a supreme nation in the world for IT industry and US should depend on us in IT sector.

            We have worlds best brains.Our strength is our brain, our hard work, our innovations, our team work efforts.

            Forget about this ,think it as a bad dream.Think positively for construction of India as a super power in IT….. like all hands on deck.

            Do not beg.have your own identity. At the most initially we may fail, but it is not an end. It is a new biginning. Change.

            “When we have our own house, why we should live in a rented house with so many restrictions, second class citizen treatment, insults, humiliations, vacate, follow this rule or else vacate, looked low by US citizens,.

            I support Japan, each developing nation should follow Japan.

            Thes are all my opinions.Not intended to discourage young hearts and brains.
            I am sorry if you take in other way.It is for your good only.

  238. amit on December 24, 2015 at 11:32 AM

    http:// immigrationgirl .com /stem-opt-battle-continues-in-two-courts-and-at-dhs/

  239. RO on December 22, 2015 at 10:37 AM

    My DSO says that even if the STEM ruling does not pass, my STEM is valid until the end of my work authorization. Unless they are sure about it they would not communicate the same to the students. Any comments?

    • Raghuram Sukumar on December 23, 2015 at 1:26 PM

      USCIS is yet to confirm if 17 months Extension is Valid. So, wait for official update from USCIS.

      • amit on December 24, 2015 at 11:02 AM

        The U.S. Department of Homeland Security asked a Washington, D.C., federal court on Tuesday to prolong its stay of an order axing an optional practical training extension for certain student visa holders, saying the agency needs more time to review the over 50,500 comments received on its replacement rule.

        DHS asked the court to extend the stay of a decision that vacated the rule, until May 10..

      • sharadjk on December 28, 2015 at 8:11 PM

        here is the link to the USCIS filling for 90 days extension , its the actual motion copy , looks like they are changing the rule in its entirety thats what it said , so expect more changes , also NAFSA has issued a guideline for DHS to work on , links are

        Raghu can do the remaining work of explaning the motion statements made by DHS to extend this vacataur by may

        • Raghuram Sukumar on December 29, 2015 at 10:21 AM

          Attorney Murali is on vacation. Pleas what till New Years to get more updates. 😄

        • ASN on December 30, 2015 at 12:32 AM


          Thank you for those links. I had a look at the motion copy and read through it. I saw the reasons USCIS is giving the court for staying the vacatur by an additional three months, but I did not see anything that indicated that they are going to change the rule in its entirety. Are you trying the say that the final published rule is going to be entirely different from the proposed rule that received those 50,500 comments? It might very well be, but I saw no indication of it in the motion copy that you linked to. I might have overlooked it. Could you point to any specific parts that made you arrive at that opinion?

          If I am mistaken and you were saying that the new rule is going to be different from the current rule (the one that is being vacated), then you are of course, right. That was very evident from the time the proposed rule was published.

          • kk on December 30, 2015 at 10:03 AM

            Hi ASN man I meant to talk about the new rule not that they are making changes to the rules in its entirely again , thats what i meant , my english sucks ..haha , for what i know is DHS has almost read all the comments , because they said that 85% are unique which means they have gone through the comments , they are now preparing the response to the comments , it , the way comment period works is that the –
            The comment period is meant for public participation where in the public can share their own opinion , also sometimes with data to support their claim , the agency should not base its rule on the basis of number of comments received in favor or against it . Its not an voting system , an agency must site that the final rule will overcome the problem cited in the comment section and will address it well , it will also should provide any alternative solution if its more effective , if the comment period however pose serious criticisms to the rule with data or opinion the agency can terminate the rule or can propose the rule rule again entirely , with another comment period ; in this case I suppose that is not the case , because all they said was that they received so many comments and they need time to respond to that comment , good thing is they are moving towards the final step , publishing the rule for OMB review , then putting it in the federal register , then the 60 days delay effect for major rules
            In short I would say they are all prepared to make the final rule go through with some changes , the only thing is that the court shall give them enough time to draft the rule and the status of the students shall be unharmed

    • gaurisankargaur on December 30, 2015 at 12:42 AM

      Indian students will not go to USA if OPT rule doesn’t go through. It impacts U.S. Economy by multi-billions of dollars.Doing MS in US is not as standard as M.Tech from IIT. Majority of US universities will face finacial crisis for R &D. Obama executive actions shows his vision for future generations, to make USA much more stronger.Truely a leader of the world. His basic aim is to attract best and brightest students to US, use their talent to build the nation as a superpower in all aspects. Unfortunately some US citizens (who were migrated) are making lot of hue & cry for OPT extension.

      I think OPT extension may be through with some changes to avoid illegal immigration.More over,OPT is entirely within DHS limits. They are putting the motion as per the procedure.All Govt. will run as per the procedures not as per the principles.

      What way US citizens are goig to affect by extending OPT?……..

      Real US citizens are least bothered about OPT extension.

      It is a matter of those who are weak,insecured citizens who do not want others to grab their jobs.
      Science and technology is always dynamic.
      Everyone has to work to make the entire globe to glitter…

      • ASN on December 30, 2015 at 12:58 AM


        I think that this new 24 month OPT STEM extension rule is going to go through regardless. I think that the DHS is pretty confident of this rule becoming effective by May 10. I don’t think that’s the most troubling question right now (unless the Appeals court deems OPT illegal in the other case filed by WashTech, and one they have a very slim chance of winning, according to most immigration lawyers.) I don’t think you have to worry about OPT or the OPT Stem Extension going away any time soon. The most troubling question right now is whether the court will grant an extension of the stay of the vacatur of the current rule from Feb 12 to May 10, because if they don’t, students currently on the STEM Extension would have to stop working on Feb 12 and go back to their home countries (unless USCIS decides that students with EAD cards valid beyond Feb 12 can still stay and work, regardless of the vacatur, in which case the vacatur will still affect students with Feb 12 expiration date on their EAD cards, or those with an expiration date between Feb 12 and whatever date the new rule becomes effective on).

  240. Asmi on December 22, 2015 at 10:16 AM

    Hi Raghu,

    Thank you for the fabulous work you are doing. This is my first time commenting and I read the comments policy but it seems like you are answering the questions here, I thought its probably ok to post my question here.
    My OPT (standard) expires Dec 31, 2015. I applied for STEM extension on Sep 8, 2015. I got my card yesterday and its valid for 17 months. For those of you who applied for extension at the TEXAS SERVICE CENTER, it maybe more than 90 days (as in my case) before your case is approved.
    I have a PhD and I work for a state agency. Unfortunately, the agency apparently never hired an international student (probably being a government agency). They have no idea about h1b and STEM but after explaining they understood and they are working with their legal team to figure out the cost. In all probability, they will sponsor my H1B but the issue is time. I have a post doc offer from the university and if I take that up, my boss (university) will file for H1B. Would you happen to have any idea as to when I can decide if I need to go back as a post doc (meaning would it work if I just decide to go back to the university on Feb 1 and they file H1B in a week). Is it a practical time frame? I understand I may not get my EAD but would it help me maintain my status?
    Also, I need to provide my current employer some documentation which says that a government agency is exempted from CAP GAP and can file for H1B any time of the year. Could you please give me a link to any such info (preferably DHS/USCIS). I tried but couldn’t find anything. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Apologies for the long comment/question. Thanks!

  241. shashank on December 21, 2015 at 6:21 PM

    Hope you can guide me on the following:
    My OPT extension is expiring in April 19, 2016. I also applied for MBA in University that provide CPT from Day 1. Session starts Jan 19, 2016. I am planning to defer to session II which starts in March 14. I have two scenarios in front of me-
    1. If court order stay and OPT extension is revoked, I will go on CPT.
    – Do you see any problem in transferring my SEVIS from old university to new university, if my OPT is revoked on Feb 12 (for March 14 session).
    2. If court rules not revoke OPT extension, I will apply for 7 month extension-
    – Do I have to ask my employer to create training and mentoring plan before I apply for addition 7 month extension.
    – Do I will be able to file for 7 month extension.

    • Raghuram Sukumar on December 23, 2015 at 10:09 AM

      If STEM OPT ext approved with Mentor and Training plan, then your employer and you have to follow the instructions. For other questions, I will let other memebrs of this gorup comment.

    • Naveen Gali on December 23, 2015 at 4:21 PM

      hey shasank, can you provide more details about the university you got admission into. Do they offer classes online?


  242. Sumedh on December 18, 2015 at 6:07 PM

    Hi All,

    I believe I got a valid doubt here. I am opt extension too. I have applied my extension after the court judgement. I applied for extension on Aug 31(approved by Laguna niguel CA service center), and my application was approved and extension was given till 25/Feb/ 2017.

    As well my cousin applied in September and got her approval for complete 17 months. And many of our friends too.

    I am surprised if we are the only special ones or those who received are special and making everyone panic.

    • Raghuram Sukumar on December 19, 2015 at 10:29 AM

      As of today your approval is not valid from Feb 12, 2016. Wait for more details from DHS.

      • Aditya on December 19, 2015 at 10:44 AM

        Show me an official link which says approval is not valid. Please dont create panic. Just say, no one is sure.

        • Raghuram Sukumar on December 20, 2015 at 9:15 AM

          I posted the link. USCIS reply to AILA is as official as it gets. Only Immigration attorneys who are members of AILA have access to those documents.

          • Michael on December 21, 2015 at 7:37 PM

            Please do not misinform your followers!!! USCIS did NOT say EAD cards will not be valid after Feb 12. They are still reviewing this question, simply because they probably have two options in their heads: 1) Add some kind of a provision in the final rule so that current EAD cards still remain valid. 2) Ask the court for extension. Do you know how many $$$ would it mean to send 30,000 qualified STEM workers to their homes in a day? They will never do that.

  243. Venkat on December 16, 2015 at 5:20 PM
    • Raghuram Sukumar on December 18, 2015 at 8:56 AM

      Venkat – Thanks for sharing.

      There’s so much uncertainty around this. It’s better to have a Plan B.
      Just in case.

      • ConfusedGuy on December 18, 2015 at 9:29 AM

        Hi Raghu

        And what options are available in Plan B? No other visas are available for people on STEM extension. If you can suggest some options it would help (I cannot think of any)

        • Raghuram Sukumar on December 18, 2015 at 11:24 AM

          Not a lot. I can do a webinar on this next week.

          • ImmigrationDon on December 19, 2015 at 8:38 AM

            There are 3 kinds of categorizes you will need to address here :

            1. People who are eligible to apply for STEM extension after Feb 12
            2. People whose applications are pending on Feb 12 (If rule does not go through I suspect all pending application status will change to denied on Feb 13 since DHS will lack the authority to approve them thus eliminating the 180 day work rule when the application is pending)
            3. People who are on already approved STEM extension

            Since H1B is the only option which does not come into effect till Oct 2016 – options are very limited to none

    • krishna on December 18, 2015 at 10:10 AM

      that guy is the attorney of the wash tech workers that filed case against the DHS

    • AJ on December 18, 2015 at 10:51 AM

      This is a rule which is “economically significant” and “major” that went into effect in 30 days. It happened earlier this year.

      I have gone through the document which explains the rule making procedure i.e. this

      and it says, if the DHS(rule making body) could provide proper justification, even economically significant and major rules can go into effect in 30 days. Might be a good question to pose to Attorny Murali Bashyam.

      • Harshil on December 18, 2015 at 11:30 AM

        AJ….great data Raghu please ask Murali if this rule can be brought into effect within 30 days if DHS provides justifications!

        • Raghuram Sukumar on December 19, 2015 at 10:52 AM

          I think only DHS can answer that. I posted analysis on how it requires 60 days period before publishing in a video. We have to wait and see what DHS plans to do. I don’t think any attorney at this point can answer this.

  244. Raghuram Sukumar on December 15, 2015 at 9:57 PM

    Check the latest update (Dec 15, 2015) in this blog post. USCIS changed their minds! Crazy!

    • vid on December 15, 2015 at 11:49 PM

      Thanks for the update. This is indeed frustrating . It is going to be a big hassle to re-issue EAD cards . It seems like that USCIS will not meet the deadline.

    • AD on December 16, 2015 at 5:41 PM

      You should verify the source before publishing an update like you did on December 9.

      • krishna on December 16, 2015 at 6:08 PM

        I got this email from the Murthy firm

        The original MurthyDotCom article was based on a document published a couple of weeks ago by AILA on its website. Yesterday, AILA was contacted by the USCIS to say that this question is still under review. (It is unclear whether this was an error by AILA, and error by the USCIS, or if the USCIS is simply reconsidering the matter.) AILA, in turn, contacted the Murthy Law Firm to advise us of what had transpired.

        • Raghuram Sukumar on December 18, 2015 at 8:49 AM


      • Raghuram Sukumar on December 18, 2015 at 8:50 AM

        Link is posted in the blog. Please read the blog post.

  245. vid on December 11, 2015 at 4:27 PM

    Dear Raghuram,

    Thank you for your latest updates on STEM OPT extension. I already have an approved STEM opt extension with an expiration date later than Feb 12th 2016. According to your post it should be still valid , although rule implementation will not meet the deadline. Do you know whether USCIS have any official update regarding this?

  246. vid on December 11, 2015 at 4:26 PM

    Dear Raghuram,

    Thank you for you latest updates on STEM OPT extension. I have already have an approved STEM opt extension with an expiration date later than Feb 12th 2016. According to your post it should be still valid although rule implementation will not meet the deadline. Do you know whether USCIS have any official update regarding this?

    • Raghuram Sukumar on December 11, 2015 at 5:26 PM

      Nothing is available in the public domain. I did search a lot for this.
      Sometimes, teleconference details doesn’t gets published. Or I have to be an attorney to get access to that. I’m trying!

      • Aditya on December 14, 2015 at 1:51 PM

        What if my application is pending around 12th Feb? I have already applied for an extension and my packet reached USCIS on 13th Nov. If my application is pending around that time, will they be able to grant extension?

        • Raghuram Sukumar on December 14, 2015 at 3:48 PM

          I don’t know the answer. Their language is confusing in the rule. Wait for final rule.

    • Raghuram Sukumar on December 18, 2015 at 9:25 AM

      Latest update says, it’s not valid ( or they are still thinking if it will be valid)/

      • Hemalatha Thyagarajan on December 18, 2015 at 10:44 AM

        i do not understand. what is not valid?

  247. Goutam on December 10, 2015 at 4:14 PM

    There is no risk to travel outside of the USA if you have valid US visa, valid OPT, Company’s letter and updated I-20. Recently, I traveled three times (2 times in Brazil and 1 time in Puerto Rico) with my STEM OPT and had no problem in entering to the US. I am not sure whether we are allowed to work with STEM OPT after February 12 or not.

  248. Ro on December 7, 2015 at 10:56 AM

    I have my OPT Extension until Nov 2016 and planning to travel to India during January(return before Feb 12th 2016). Is it ok to travel during that time?

    • Raghuram Sukumar on December 8, 2015 at 8:46 AM

      It’s not advisd to travel during OPT, but so many have done it. If you can avoid then good, if not then you are essentially taking the risk.

      • Michael on December 21, 2015 at 7:43 PM

        Sir, you really need to get a handle of US immigration laws before scaring people here. “It’s not advised to travel during OPT”.. Can you please give me a source that says this? If you have a valid F