F-1 STEM OPT Update: Program Continues to May 10, 2016

Monday, January 25, 2016 - 10:15am

January 23 2016: The court has granted the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) a three month extension, until May 10. 2016, to allow the DHS time to implement the new F-1 STEM OPT rule that DHS announced in October . Foreign national graduates in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields working the the US under an extension of their Optional Practical Training (OPT)-and their employers-are all breathing a sigh of relief this morning as the previous rule would have otherwise been eliminated effective February 12, 2016 ,possibly resulting in revocation of work authorization already granted under the program.

DHS published the new rule in response to a recent court decision that would have prevented the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) from granting optional practical training (OPT) work permits to some foreign graduates. The DHS published a proposed rule in the Federal Register. This rule would amend the DHS F-1 regulations to allow for OPT extensions for certain graduates in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields, as well as continue current “cap-gap” relief for all eligible F-1 students.