United States: Deadline for 7-month STEM OPT extension is Aug. 8

The filing period ends Aug. 8 for F-1 students currently holding 17-month STEM OPT extensions who wish to apply for a seven-month extension under the new regulations.


Key dates and criteria:

  • The filing period closes Aug. 8 and allows current holders of 17-month STEM OPT extensions to extend their status for a one-time seven-month extension.
  • The seven-month extension must be requested within 60 days of the date the designated school official entered the recommendation for the 24-month OPT extension into the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System record.
  • F-1 students must have at least 150 days of valid employment authorization remaining on their 17-month STEM OPT period as of the date of filing the new application for an employment authorization document.

Background: Under previous rules, F-1 students who receive science, technology, engineering or mathematics (STEM) degrees were eligible for an extension of the initial one-year Optional Practical Training (OPT) period for a 17-month “STEM OPT extension.”

In March, a new regulation enhanced the STEM OPT program, including lengthening of the STEM OPT extension from the current 17-month period to 24 months. The rule provided for a filing period that began May 10 and ends Aug. 8 for current holders to lengthen their STEM OPT extension for the additional seven months.

BAL Analysis: BAL is working with employers and F-1 students to file extension applications for eligible STEM OPT holders to take advantage of the longer period of work authorization.

This alert has been provided by the BAL U.S. Practice group. For additional information, please contact BerryApplemanLeiden@balglobal.com.

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