24 months stem opt rule published

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

Raghuram Sukumar OPT 1107 Comments

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

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 Murthy.com

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.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VQrK5cjuksQ

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).

Comments

  1. 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.

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

  4. 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
    Kartika

    1. Author

      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.

  5. 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

    Regards
    Rakesh

  6. 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

  7. 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!

  8. Hi,

    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
    Swetha

  9. 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 ??

    1. Author

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

      1. 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.

        1. 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?

  10. 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.

    1. Author

      DonT USPS for sending such documents. FedEx or UPS.

  11. 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)?

  12. Hi,
    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.
    Thanks

    1. Hi,

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

  13. 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.

    Thanks

  14. 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.

  15. 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?

    Thanks,
    S

  16. 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.

    1. 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?

        1. Author

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

    2. @Pravallika,
      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?

  17. 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

    1. Author

      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.

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

  18. 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.

    Thanks,
    Rajesh.

    1. Author

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

  19. Author

    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.

    1. 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?

      1. Author

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

  20. 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.

    1. Author

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

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

  21. 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?

    Thanks,

    Satish

  22. Raghuram,

    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.

    1. Author

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

  23. 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.

  24. 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

    1. Author

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

  25. Hi,
    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?

  26. 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.

  27. 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.

    1. Author

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

  28. 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!

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

    Can I file the change of status by my self?

    Thanks,
    Megha

    1. Author

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

  30. 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)

  31. 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. 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.

    1. Author

      No you are going to miss the 7 months OPT Extension

  33. 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

    1. Author

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

    2. 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?

      1. Hi,

        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?

  34. 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.

  35. 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

    1. Author

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

      Yes, you have to pay $380 again.

  36. 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.

  37. Hi Raghu, Thanks for the info
    In this mentioned video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F60YagBRTzU 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

    1. Author

      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?

  38. 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?

    Thanks

  39. 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?

  40. 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,

    Jai

    1. Author

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

  41. 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.

    Thanks

  42. 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.

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

    1. 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!

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

  43. Hi,

    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 dhs.gov 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

    Thanks

    1. 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.

      Thanks
      Harsha

  44. 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?

    1. Author

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

  45. 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?

    1. Author

      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.

  46. 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?

  47. 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..

    1. Author

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

  48. 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.

  49. 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!

    1. 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.

  50. 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?

  51. 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

  52. 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

  53. 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.

    1. 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

  54. 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,
    Ajay

    1. Author

      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 ICE.gov site for list of eligible degrees.

  55. 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..?

    1. Author

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

  56. 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!

    Nimit

    1. Author

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

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

    1. Author

      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.

  58. 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?

    1. Author

      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.

  59. 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.

    1. Author

      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.

    1. Author

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

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

    1. Author

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

      1. 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.

        1. Author

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

  61. 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.

    1. Author

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

  62. 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.

  63. 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?

    1. Author

      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.

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

      2. 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?

      3. 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?

        Thanks!

        1. Author

          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.

  64. 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

    1. Author

      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.

  65. Author

    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.

    1. Author

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

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

      1. Author

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

  66. 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?

    1. Author

      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.

  67. Hi,
    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?

    1. Author

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

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

  69. 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?

    Thanks

    1. 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.

  70. 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”…..so 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

    1. Author

      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.

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

  71. 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?

    1. Author

      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.

  72. 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?

    1. Author

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

  73. 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?

  74. 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?

    1. Author

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

  75. 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?

    Thanks,

    1. Author

      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.

  76. Hi
    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?

    Regards
    Susrut

    1. Author

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

  77. Raghu,

    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.

    Thanks,
    Shiva

    1. Author

      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.

  78. 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 ?

    Thanks,
    Akshay

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

  80. 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.

    1. Author

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

      1. 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.

        1. Author

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

    2. 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.

    3. 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.

      Thanks.

      1. 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!

  81. 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?

  82. Hi,

    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 ?

  83. 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.

  84. Hi,
    Hi,
    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?

  85. 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!!!

      1. 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?

      2. 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.

        1. Author

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

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

  87. Author

    Final rule Text is now available. YAY!

    Effective Date – May 10, 2016

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

    1. 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?

    2. 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?

      1. Author

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

    3. 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?

  88. Hi,
    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.

    1. Author

      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)

      1. 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!

        1. Author

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

        2. 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

      2. Hey Raghu,

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

      3. 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.

        1. Author

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

  89. 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!

  90. Hi,

    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.

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

  91. Raghu,

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

      1. Author

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

        1. 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.

          1. Author

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

        2. 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.

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

    1. Author

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

  93. 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 : https://www.uscis.gov/e-verify/employers/using-e-verify-employer-agent

    Thanks

    1. Author

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

    1. Author

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

  94. 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. ?

  95. 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?

    1. Author

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

  96. Author

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

    See the updates in this page above.

    1. 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!

      1. Author

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

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

      1. Author

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

    3. 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?

      Thanks!

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

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

  97. 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.

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

  98. 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?

    1. 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!

  99. 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.

    Thanks
    Priyanka Maloo

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

    2. 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.

  100. 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?

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

      1. 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.

  101. 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.

  102. 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?

    1. Author

      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.

    2. 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.

  103. 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.

  104. 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?

  105. 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.

    1. 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 https://www.facebook.com/groups/F1.Visa.OPT.STEM.Extension/permalink/1681511398794646/

      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.

      1. Author

        Hey,

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

      2. Neeharika,

        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.

        1. 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.

          1. Author

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

          2. Author

            Hey,

            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.

          3. 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.

  106. 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.

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

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

        1. Author

          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.

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

  109. 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.

  110. 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..
    Thanks

  111. 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.

  112. 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?

    1. 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….

      1. 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.

        1. Author

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

          1. 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.

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

        Not sure what is running in their mind.

  113. 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.

    1. 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.

  114. Raghu,
    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.

    1. @Dhige,

      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.

    2. 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.

      1. 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.

        Peace
        Harsha

      2. @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.

      3. 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.

  115. 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.

    Thanks

    1. 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

      1. 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.

  116. 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

    1. Pooja,

      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.

    2. 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.

      Source: http://www.uscis.gov/archive/archive-news/questions-and-answers-extension-optional-practical-training-program-qualified-students

      or

      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. “
      http://www.uscis.gov/i-9-central/complete-correct-form-i-9/complete-section-1-employee-information-and-verification/foreign-students

      Hope it will be helpful!

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

        1. 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.

          Thanks,
          Sumit

  117. 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 .

    1. Where are people getting these numbers ? where does it say that 50% of indian student go the desi consultancy way ?

    1. 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.

      1. Sumit,

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

      2. 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.

  118. 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!!

    1. @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

  119. 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.

    Thanks
    Sumon

    1. Author

      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.

    2. 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.
      ThanksSumit

      1. 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.

  120. 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).

    1. Author

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

  121. 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.

    1. 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.

      1. 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.

    2. 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.

      1. 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…

  122. 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.

    1. Author

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

    2. 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?

      1. 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.

        1. 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…

          1. 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.

  123. 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?

    1. 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?

  124. 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.

  125. 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.

    Thanks

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

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

  126. 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.

    1. 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?

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

        1. Hi Sagar,

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

          1. 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.

          2. Hi Sharma,

            Can you plese point me to the directive in any of the USCIS or DHS websites which details as you said?

          3. Its just commonsense to understand what is duplicate petition means.. which consulting firm you from?

    2. 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.

      1. Author

        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.

        1. 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.

        2. 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?

          1. Author

            @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.

          2. 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….

          3. Author

            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.

      2. 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.

    3. 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.

  127. 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.

  128. 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 .

    1. Hi,

      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.

      1. Thanks!

        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?

  129. 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.

  130. Hi,

    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?

  131. 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!

  132. 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!

  133. Raghu, just wanted to thank you for maintaining this blog and keeping us informed and updated!

  134. 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!

  135. 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?

  136. 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!

  137. 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.

  138. 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!

  139. 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..!

  140. 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.

  141. Thanks raghu 🙂 You are doing a great job posting these updates from time to time. And do complete your dinner 😉

      1. 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 .

        Regards

  142. 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! .

  143. 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?

    1. Author

      I haven’t read the order yet. I will have a clear idea after reading the document.

      1. Where is the order accompanying this memorandum? Can you publish that here as well so we can read it?

  144. 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.

  145. 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?

    1. Author

      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.

      1. 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!

        1. Author

          Thanks Sumit. I do help students prepare for F1 Visa interview to H4 visa holders to get to work.

  146. 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 🙂

  147. 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?

    1. The vacatur has been extended to may 10th which means existing EADs stay valid atleast till May 10th.

      1. 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.

  148. 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.

    1. 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.

    1. 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.

    2. Happiest day of my lifeeeeeeeeeeeeeee :p So relieved!!! my application was pending!

  149. 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.

  150. $$ 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 ??

    1. 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.

  151. I read in the earlier comments that John Miano was “expecting a quick decision from the judge”. Shows he can be dead wrong.

    1. 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.

  152. Folks,

    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.

    1. 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.

      Thanks

      1. Hi,

        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.

        Thanks

  153. 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.

  154. 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.

    1. 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.

  155. 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?

    1. 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.

    2. 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…

      1. 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 ?

        1. 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.

          1. EADs are still being issued. I got my EAD mailed yesterday.

    3. 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 ?

      1. Author

        There’s no premium processing like to speed up the OPT approval process. EAD card processing time is approximately 90 days.

        1. Hi Raghu,
          There is infact , https://www.uscis.gov/forms/expedite-criteria . 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 .

          1. 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)

            @Raghu
            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 ?

      2. 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

        1. Author

          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.

          1. Hello Raghu, please if you can help me with PR for Canada, it will be great.

          2. You don’t need a lawyer to get the invite, Canada is much simpler than US.

          3. Author

            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.

  156. 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.

    1. Julaina,
      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!

    2. 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.

  157. 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.

    1. Author

      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.

      1. Raghu,

        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.

        1. Author

          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.

          1. 5-15 not true for everyone. Depends on country of your citizenship.

          2. Author

            Yes and at what point in the H1B period, your employer starts the GC process.

          3. 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…

        2. 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.

          1. 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.

          2. Aditya,
            USCIS received my application on November 10th but still no decision. It is nice to know that they have approved yours. Good luck!

      2. 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.

      3. 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 etc..as 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.

      4. 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?

        1. You can work until 180 days after your OPT expires if your OPT stem application is pending.

  158. Dear Raghu,

    I came across this article online…

    http://www.ailaleadershipblog.org/2015/12/28/stem-opt-rule-coming-but-likely-delayed-still-not-time-to-panic-though/

    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.”

    1. What does taken under advisement mean? I thought judge was to give decision on the motion today

      1. Author

        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.

        1. When can we expect any order, provided the hearing was called on Expedited front ?

          1. Author

            That’s’ the million dollar question. Only the Judge can answer that.

      2. 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.

        1. 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?

          1. Srirkant,
            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.

    2. 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

    3. 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?

  159. 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.

    1. @Pa2399

      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” !!!

    2. how much do you really think international students contribute to a 17 trillion dollar economy ?

      1. 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.

    1. Waiting for an update . Mostly you can expect the news to be out in an hour from now.

  160. It almost feels like I am waiting for my court hearing! Either they will grant me bail or hang me to death!

    1. I hope it works in your favour. Otherwise, please consider coming back to India and improving it 🙂 Your motherland needs you..