Summary of Proposed 24 Months STEM OPT Extension Rule [Video]

stem opt extension videos

Here’s 5 Part Summary of DHS Proposed 24 Months STEM OPT Extension Rule.

Immigration Attorney Murali explains the proposals listed in the STEM OPT Rule in this 5 part video series.

  • Proposed Rule will be published for public comments on October 19, 2015 for 30 Days.
  • There’s several good proposals and added conditions for STEM OPT Extension. But, there’s one section that worries me.

Part 1 – 24 Months STEM OPT Extension Rule

Part 2 – Mentor and Training Plan

Part 3 – New Requirements for Employers, DSO and Employee

Part 4 – CIP Code to Wage Requirements

Part 5 – How to Write in Public Comments


Additional Details from the Proposed Rule:

  • Students with current 17 months STEM OPT can apply for 7 more months up to 120 days before end of STEM OPT
  • It’s expected that students would have pay $380 and follow the new Training and Mentor plan to apply for 7 months extension
  • Unemployment Days have been increased to 150 Days (for total of 36 months)
  • It’s still possible for DHS to implement 36 months STEM OPT Extension
  • Cap-Gap will be back into existence
  • Expected Date when Rule will become effective : Feb 2016
  • 24 Months STEM OPT Rule is now open for Public Comments


I will reach out to Attorney for additional details if I can’t answer your questions or parts of the proposals are unclear. This rule is 107 pages long. As we read in detail, finer details will become visible. But, the good news is that we have a Rule in Making. This should quell the uncertainty and concerns among International students.

There’s one section of the Proposal that worried me  

however, that a final rule resulting from this rulemaking does not take effect before the vacatur of the 2008 IFR, DHS will lack clear regulatory authority to grant pending applications for STEM OPT extensions. In that case, DHS will evaluate options to address pending applications, such as returning such applications and requiring re-filing upon completion of a final rule… (a page 40)

Stay tuned for more updates about this 24 Months STEM OPT Extension Rule and Rule Making Process.

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  1. Raju on June 21, 2016 at 12:24 AM

    OPT Extension RFE but H1B approved.

    I applied for OPT Extension in March 2016 and and H1B (Premium)April 2016. My OPT ended on May 2016. But by the time it ended I got the H1B picked (Thus status changed to Cap-gap) and later H1B was approved. But i got RFE for OPT Extension.

    1. What should I do with this RFE? When I contacted my International advisor , they told me to reply for that RFE and face it so that there will be no problems in future (Dont know what could be the problems).
    2. My employer is not willing to encourage OPT Extension.
    3. Can I withdraw my OPT extension application, if so, what could be the consequences??
    4. What will happen if I don’t respond to RFE??

    Any information about this is highly appreciated.


  2. Zarni on March 13, 2016 at 11:08 AM

    I finished my undergrad in CS and worked on both OPT and STEM OPT. I am now going back to my Masters. Am I eligible for STEM OPT afterwards?

    • Raghuram Sukumar on March 14, 2016 at 7:45 AM

      New degree level will get you new OPT and STEM OPT.

  3. Sheba on November 19, 2015 at 5:24 PM


    I have a small doubt. In order to avail the second extension do I need to purse the higher degree than what I have now

    Say for example I have my MS from US and used my 12+24 months of opt. and then go for another MS rather than Ph.D. Will I still get another 12+24 month
    Or just 24

    • Raghuram Sukumar on November 20, 2015 at 9:19 AM

      I don’t think you can get second extension for MS.

  4. Jayavant Muralidhar Nijagal on November 12, 2015 at 3:20 AM


    I am a graduate student pursuing Masters in computer science at USC and I will be graduating in December 2015. I will be starting my work as a full time employee at Amazon from February 2016.

    Firstly, I would like to talk about how the OPT extension will benefit both the employee and the employer. In case of a software developer , during the first year of employment, he/she spends most of the time getting used to the company’s coding practice and how things work inside the company. The employee might on an average complete two projects within the first year of employment. It is after the first year that he/she gets the hang of managing and finishing projects within the deadline.

    If the OPT extension does not turn out to be successful and the employee has to go back to his/her country, it is a loss to both the employer and the employee. It is a loss to the employer because after spending one year’s worth of resources which includes both financial and technical investment, the company will no longer be able to take advantage of all the training provided. And as for the employee is concerned, he/she will not be able to prove to the company what he/she is capable of in terms of writing code or completing projects and thus will return without contributing much to the company.

    And as for the I901 rule which requires the student to get approval from both the employer and DSO, I feel it is a waste of both employee’s and DSO’s time. Not only will it increase burden for the employer and DSO, but in the worst case, it might reduce the employment of OPT students just because it is tedious to employ them. The end result is the reduced speed of development in the USA. Just because the US government wants to keep track of immigrant employment in the country, it is not sensible to expect the student to get an approval and report every six months. The focus of the employee will change from contributing well in the company to all the frustrating actions which he/she must do in order to comply with the rule.

    In conclusion, there is no doubt that the US government needs to pass the OPT extension rule in order to maintain the on going technical advancement without which USA is just like any other developing country. And it will be beneficial to both the student and the employer if the Mentorship rule is made less stressful and less stringent.


    • Raghuram Sukumar on November 12, 2015 at 9:21 AM

      Did you post this in the site?

      • Jayavant Muralidhar Nijagal on November 12, 2015 at 12:38 PM

        Yes I did.

      • Hitesh on November 14, 2015 at 4:32 PM

        Hey Raghav,

        I am trying to leave a comment on the page but there seems to be an error and it won’t recognize the text that I input saying “cannot leave this blank”.

        Is there an error that has been talked about that I might be unaware of? Thanks for your efforts in this matter.


        • Hitesh on November 14, 2015 at 4:33 PM

          Raghuram*, I apologize.

  5. Bharath on November 3, 2015 at 10:40 AM


    My company wants me to work from India for 2-3 months. My STEM OPT is supposed to expire in Nov 2016. Although I will be on the US payroll, following are my questions:
    Can I re-enter the country after feb 12 even if the new 24 month rule kicks in?
    How long can I be outside the US on my STEM OPT EAD and re-enter safely?

  6. Karen on October 24, 2015 at 2:02 AM

    Hi Raghu,

    Thank you for collecting the info, I have a question is, my OPT will expire on Feb. 16, 2016, but can I still apply the extension? I am really confused…I don’t know whether I can still apply for the extension at this moment…
    Thank you in advance!

    • Raghuram Sukumar on October 25, 2015 at 8:31 AM

      Should you apply for Extension – Yes

      But, timing is everything.

      If you apply now, it will be $380 (17 months )+ $380 (7 months).

      But, I’m not sure if you wait and apply after they publish the rule, if you can get 24 months and pay only $380 (with one application).

      You have to do the Math.

      If I were you, I wold apply for 17 months Extension now.

      You can ask Murali – he can have a better explanation to help you (

      • Karen on October 26, 2015 at 9:09 PM

        Thank you so much, I think it will be safer for me to apply it now!
        Thank you again!

  7. RAM on October 23, 2015 at 11:15 AM

    After 30 days of comment period in how many days maximum or minimum can they declare the rule so as to meet the deadline of 12th Feb so as to 60 days before then they have to post if by December 15 ?

    • Raghuram Sukumar on October 23, 2015 at 11:41 AM

      We have no idea. They said this rule should go into effect in Feb 2016.

      • RJ on December 10, 2015 at 10:59 AM

        Hi Raghu
        I got this pdf from following link.!documentDetail;D=ICEB-2015-0002-0206
        Please see page 27. It reads ” And as noted above, DHS proposes that qualifying students would be able to request the balance of the modified extension up to 120 days before the end of the student’s 17-month period. This would mean that students who have started their STEM OPT extension after January 2015 would have enough time left on their 17-month STEM extension to apply for the additional extension.

        We did not see this in DHS proposed rule PDF. My opt extension expires on 2nd February. Does that mean, I am not eligible?

        • Raghuram Sukumar on December 10, 2015 at 11:21 AM

          It was available when the rule was proposed. We have to wait for the final rule text. Stay tight!

  8. Sameer on October 21, 2015 at 11:37 AM

    Hi Raghu,

    My OPT expires on Dec 29 2015 and My application for STEM OPT is pending under the current rule i.e 17 month STEM extension. So what do you think will it be approved as the old rule is still valid until 12th Feb 2016.

    • Raghuram Sukumar on October 21, 2015 at 2:16 PM

      Refer to the text of the proposed rule. It’s not yet implemented, so I don’t know.

  9. VD on October 21, 2015 at 8:30 AM

    Where is the link to the I-910, the form for the Mentoring and Training Plan?

  10. Shiv on October 20, 2015 at 6:21 PM

    My STEM extension currently expires December 2016. In this case, does that mean my extension will be extended to July 2017 under this new rule?

    • Raghuram Sukumar on October 21, 2015 at 6:59 AM

      If your STEM OPT Extension (17 months) is expiring before the rule comes into effect, you are in for trouble. Wy? You have to find another way to stay in status (legally).

  11. NA on October 19, 2015 at 11:14 PM

    I am on opt extension which will expire in first week of February 2016. What if rule is finalized on 12th feb 2016.. I will be on 60 days of grace period, in that case will i be benefited from this rule?

  12. Swamy on October 19, 2015 at 11:00 PM

    Hi Raghuram.

    My STEM OPT expires on Dec 7 th 2015. Will I be eligible for this extension rule. I heard Murali saying that it can happen before Dec 14th or close. Can you please share your opinion whether I have to stick with my University or I have to transfer my SEVIS to other university? Any suggestions would be appreciated.Thanks!

    • Raghuram Sukumar on October 20, 2015 at 5:29 AM

      I can explain what’s in the rule. If you want the know how it affects your status then you have to ask Murali.

  13. NA on October 19, 2015 at 10:26 PM

    I am on opt extension which will expire in first week of February 2016. I shall be benefited if this new rule comes up before that.
    But what if DHS feels that it will not be able to meet the deadline and asks for stay on the ruling? In that case what about people who have a hope of getting extra 7 months ( thereby one more H1B chance in April 016) what if stay order is vacated in march and 24months rule comes in march? I shall be on 60days of grace period so Will i be eligible for 7 months extension?

    • RJ on December 10, 2015 at 11:06 AM

      Please comment on this.

  14. Kusuma on October 18, 2015 at 4:32 AM

    Does Stem opt 24 mths extension apply to a person who has done bachelors in India but is doing MS in stem field in USA.Pl clarify

    • Raghuram Sukumar on October 18, 2015 at 10:21 AM

      Please watch the videos again.

  15. TJ on October 17, 2015 at 10:40 PM

    Is a student eligible for 7 moths extension if OPT STEM extension will be expiring in January 2015? Thanks for your time and help.

    • Raghuram Sukumar on October 18, 2015 at 10:28 AM

      You are in a tricky spot. We have to wait for the timeline. You are likely to be in grace period of your OPT when this rule comes into effect. I don’t know the answers.

      • TJ on October 18, 2015 at 6:16 PM

        Yes, I am. What a luck!! I did not get H1B for the lottery process, even though I have a Masters degree from USA. Please keep this point in your check list, and mention in the future article.

        • Raghuram Sukumar on October 18, 2015 at 7:47 PM

          I know folks who have couldn’t get H1B after 3 attempts in Masters Cap.
          It’s tough 🙂

        • Raghuram Sukumar on October 19, 2015 at 11:57 AM

          You are the second person in same situation. One other person OPT Ext is expiring in December.

          • MJ on October 19, 2015 at 12:17 PM

            One more person to your list. My STEM OPT expires on Jan 1st. Do you think we will be able apply for 7 month extension on grace period?

            Thank you and your videos were great help.

          • Raghuram Sukumar on October 19, 2015 at 1:18 PM

            MJ – you have 60 days Grace period. But, I have to look up if this rule becomes effective from Feb 13, which will be during your Grace Period, you can apply for remaining 7 months. Since the rule is proposal stage, I don’t think anyone can give you a right answer. But, if I were you, I would look for Plan B.

          • TJ on October 19, 2015 at 9:19 PM

            Guys, pray for the best and prepare for the worst. God will help us. Raghu said the right thing. After going through the super ……………. lottery process, we have nothing to lose.

  16. Sanket Narvekar on October 17, 2015 at 12:34 PM

    Thank you, Raghu! You are doing a great job! We really appreciate it

  17. sreekanth on October 17, 2015 at 12:13 PM

    pls clarify me on this…. I got my bachelors in electronics and I’m interested to pursue my masters in MIS wil I be eligible for the 24 month opt…………

    • Bachelors on October 17, 2015 at 12:43 PM

      Bachelors from US?

    • NKP on October 17, 2015 at 12:45 PM

      Come on bro… watch the video properly.

      Since your bachelors degree is from Indian university, you cannot claim 24 months stem opt on that.

      Once you do masters from USA university, you will be eligible for 12 + 24 months of OPT+stem opt.

      and in case, you prefer to Phd in the future form USA university, you will be eligible to get 12+24 months of OPT again.

      • sreekanth on October 18, 2015 at 1:05 AM

        Thank u… i watched it… BT dey used an example so i was lill confused … now evrythng z 5n….u mentioned as 12+24 months opt+stem opt whts tht its al about 12+24 thts al r8??

  18. sreekanth on October 17, 2015 at 12:07 PM

    I had done my bachelors in Electronics from Indian university and now opting for Masters in MIS will I be eligible to get 24 month extension… As u were saying it can be extended only to the students who z working on bachelor’s degree… pls clarify on this

    • Raghuram Sukumar on October 17, 2015 at 3:22 PM

      Watch the videos again.

  19. RJ on October 16, 2015 at 9:23 PM

    Hi.. As stated that If due to some reason, their is a delay in rule implementation than DHS can consider various options like returning applications that are pending… But what about the candidates who are currently working on approved 17-month OPT which extends beyond 12TH Feb ?


    • Raghuram Sukumar on October 16, 2015 at 9:38 PM

      That’s why I said “that statement worries me”.

      • peter on October 27, 2015 at 1:24 AM

        Thank you for the video!
        I am on 17 month STEM extension right now, it expires in September 2016. My question is – can i just stay on my current extension till September, or do i need to reapply for the new extension in February?


        • Raghuram Sukumar on October 27, 2015 at 9:10 AM

          You can stay with the current extension till sep 2016. 120 days before the expiry, you can apply for 7 months extension (as per proposed texxt).

          • Harsh on November 3, 2015 at 10:58 PM

            HI Raghu, i appreciate you help. now they started making the rule and what should be our part now. like where and when do we comment on the proposed rule?

          • Raghuram Sukumar on November 4, 2015 at 6:08 AM

            Submit your comments.

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