24-Month STEM OPT Extension Rule Summary


On October 16, 2015 at 8:45 a.m., the Department of Homeland Security filed the proposed rule, “Improving and Expanding Training Opportunities for F-1 Nonimmigrant Students with STEM Degrees and Cap-Gap Relief for All Eligible F-1 Students,” which will replace the 17-Month STEM Extension.” The proposed rule will be published in the Federal Register on Monday, October 19, 2015, for public comment. The timeline for publication of a final rule is tight but doable. A summary of the key elements to the proposed STEM Extension are as follows:

  • 24-Month Extension of Optional Practical Training (OPT)
  • Formal Mentoring and Training Program Requirement
  • Prior U.S. STEM Degree from Accredited Institution May Be Used for Extension
  • Duty, Hour, and Compensation Requirements to Protect U.S. Workers
  • DHS Discretion for Employer Site Visits
  • Additional 60-Day Allotment for Unemployment (Aggregate of 150 Days)
  • E-Verify Employer Requirement
  • Student Reporting Requirement to DHS
  • Cap-Gap Extension for Timely Filed H-1B Petitions
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