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CIS Announces New Rule Allowing Extension of Optional Practical Training

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On April 4, 2008, the CIS announced that optional practical training (OPT) may be extended in two situations. First, if an F-1 student has a pending H-1B petition and is working pursuant to post-completion OPT, the student’s status is automatically extended until the October 1 start date indicated on the approved H-1B petition. The extension terminates when the CIS rejects, denies or revokes the H-1B petition. A person here in F-1 status may remain in the United States during this period and if the student is working pursuant to OPT, that student may continue working until the October 1 start date.

Second, a student may be eligible to extend post-completion OPT by an additional 17 months. To be eligible for this extension, the student must have at least a bachelor’s degree in certain designated fields (STEM degree), the student must be in an approved post-completion OPT period based on that STEM degree, the student’s employer must be enrolled in E-Verify, and the student must apply for the OPT extension before the current post-completion OPT expires. Note that this is not an automatic extension, but one that must be applied for timely.

The STEM designated degrees include the following courses of study:

  • Computer Science Applications
  • Actuarial Science
  • Engineering
  • Engineering Technologies
  • Biological and Biomedical Sciences
  • Mathematics and Statistics
  • Military Technologies
  • Physical Sciences

For more information on these extensions, click here

By: Martha James

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