Sustaining the Immigration Status on F1 Visa and J1 Visa


As a foreign student, it is essential to adhere to certain regulations connected with   your status as F-1 or J-1 non-immigrant status. Given here are a few things which you will be able to do in order to assist in maintaining your status:

  • Take care not to get expired your immigration documents

You need to watch out the expiry date mentioned on your I-20 or DS-2019. In case you are unable to finish your studies by the stipulated date, then, you should make a request for the extension of your document prior to its expiration. The application documents for F-1 as well as J-1 program extension are accessible at ISSS. Support students must keep in touch with their J-1 Program Officer for program extension application and related instructions.

  • Maintain your passport current

Similar to the case   regarding your documents for your immigration, you ought to maintain your passport current always. You need to keep in touch with your native country consulate or your country embassy for details for the extension of the legality of your passport.

  • Enroll for a full course of study

Generally, you must plan to enroll for a 12 credit hours during the fall as well as spring semesters. Summer enrolment is not obligatory, if you do not begin or finish your studies in summer. Click here for further information on this aspect.

  •  Try not to  work without approval

Always, you are required to access permission to do work, even if it is for on-campus employment at your School or in a University. In case you are employed off-campus on a F1 Status, then you must have CPT or OPT EAD. Keep in touch with your International Student Officer to get to know more relating to the work approval.

  •   Remember  not to work  for not more than  20 hours every week while the Fall and Spring semesters

In certain situations, you may get entitled to do work for over 20 hours each week. Yet, you must discuss with the ISSS staff member for further information.

  •   Inform  your home address not  later than 10 days after your shifting your residence

The F-1 as well as UIUC-supported J-1 students can do so by making current the UI Integrate to indicate the latest home address. The J-1 students who are supported by an outside organization should keep in touch with the J-1 sponsor of the program for instructions.  You need to take a note that you are required to offer   the address of the place you reside - P.O. box NO. or the address of the office!

  • Adhere to the  transfer processes in case you wish to start  a new program of study, shift the  area of study, or enroll in  a different school

You need to contact a staff member at the ISSS before the change, to decide what you need to do. All the time, you are required to consult your ISSS in case you have any queries relating to keeping up your status.

Extension of STEM OPT

Extension of OPT

As per the  Interim Final Rule dated the 8th April 2008, those  F-1 students who are presently approved  for a OPT for 12-month period, and  who have successfully finished a bachelor’s, or master’s or a  doctoral degree in an area on the Designated Degree Program list of DHS STEM from a SEVIS-approved  US college or a university, and hold an employment -offer or are doing work by a job provider who is registered with  “E-Verify” federal job verification system, are able to make application  for an OPT extension for a period of  17-month extension.

When to make the Application

  •  A student will be able to make application for the STEM OPT extension for 17 months, 120 days before the close of the period of post-completion OPT till the termination date of the present OPT employment approval of the student. Students are suggested to file the application sufficiently early so that they can receive the fresh EAD prior to the close of the routine period of the OPT.
  • The extension for 17-month period is only feasible only one time in a lifetime; a student is regarded as in -eligible to get an extension more than one time, irrespective of the level of degree.
  •  This extension of period can be permitted only in an one 17 month duration; the duration of extension is not able to get “split” into 2 duration.
  •  The students who are on “pre-completion” OPT will be in-eligible for the extension.

Who are qualified?

A: In order to get qualified, you ought to be holding your status as F-1 and complete all the given below criteria:

  • You are authorized for your first 12 months allocation of post completion OPT.
  • You have kept your International Student Office current along with your physical address as well as the address of the employer.
  • You have not gone beyond 90 days of joblessness during on OPT.
  • You have accessed a BS, MS or PhD in a domain of STEM (Technology, Science, Engineering, and Mathematics)
  • Your presently employed, or have accessed an employment offer to do work, in a position which is directly connected with the degree got and for a job provider who takes part in  USCIS E-Verify mechanism.
  • You have not earlier accessed the extension for 17 month depending on an earlier degree.


Diverse kinds of OPT employment

Forms of employment that are permitted for routine pre- OPT and post-completion OPT

All types of OPT job needs to be in an employment that is connected with the degree program of the student. The employment which comes under the pre- or the post-completion OPTS may encompass:

·         Paid job. Students might be working part time (for a minimum of 20 hours every week while they are on post-completion OPT) or work full time.

·         Numerous job providers. The students may be able to do work for multiple employers, but all the employment ought to be connected with the degree program of every individual student and the pre-completion OPT is not permitted to go beyond the permissible cumulative hours per week.

·         Short-term manifold job providers (the performing artists). Those students who are engaged as musicians or any other types of performing arts, can do work for more than one job provider who is short term hirers (gigs). The student ought to keep a record of all gigs, the dates as well as the duration of employment.

·         Work for employment. This is generally referred to also as 1099 hiring wherein a person extends a service on the basis of a contractual association instead of a job relationship. In case a request is made by DHS, the students must be ready to offer the proof indicating the time period of the contract duration and the name as well as the address of the contracting firm.

·         Self-employed enterprise owner. The students while on their OPT are facilitated to begin a business and remain self-employed. The student ought to be in a position to certify to the effect that he or she holds the valid license for doing business and is vigorously involved in a business which is connected with the degree program of the student.

·         Getting hired through an organization or consulting company. The students while on post-completion OPT must be in a position to offer proof to the effect that they did work for an average of a minimum of 20 hours every week during their employment through the agency.

·         Voluntary employment.  The students are able to do work in a voluntary capacity or as unpaid interns, where such a practice is not in violation to any of the work regulations. The work ought to be for a minimum of 20 hours every week for those students who are on post-completion OPT. A student must be in a position to offer adequate proof, accessed from the employer of the student, to prove that the student had been employed for a minimum period of 20 hours each week during the course of getting employed.



How to Make an Application For CPT

How should I apply for the Curricular Practical Training?

In order to make an application for CPT, the student should get the authorization from below mentioned persons and also should take the below mentioned  letters to their concerned International student Office minimum of one month before  the beginning of anticipated employment: A few school have varied deadlines, so verify with your concerned International student office.

A letter  received  the job provider which has mentioned the begin as well as close dates of work, job details, number of hours every week, address of employment  location, in addition to the  name of the supervisor

A letter received from the academic advisor describing that the work experience is very essential element of academic program and is needed from all students.

Moreover, you must enquire with the concerned International student officer if he/she requires any extra evidences from your side and take care to collect all the papers before a minimum of 1 to 2 months of your CPT begin date

How to make the CPT Application:

Step 1: You ought to have a letter of offer from your potential job provider which CLEARLY specifies the following:

1.      Available job title is a provisional internship position

2.      Precise dates of work

3.      Nature of employment you will be getting engaged in

4.      Locality (with street address) of where you need to work

Step 2: You should get enrolled in an internship credits or in a class (es) relating for the internship at the Nevada University, Reno

Step 3: You should have a certification from the concerned academic advisor showing that the internship you would like to enroll is related directly to your domain of study. Page 2 of CPT Form.

Step 4: Once having finished doing all the 3 steps indicated above, you are required to get an appointment to  contact personally your International Student Advisor located  at the International Student affairs Office  or the  International student Services Office or International Student & faculty Office.

Step 5: During the appointment at OISS, you need to bring the below mentioned items:

1.      The offer letter for Internship received from your employer

2.      The Class schedule indicating your having joined  in a class(es) relating  to internship

3.      Reference letter received from the academic advisor

Step 6: At the time of your appointment, the International Student Advisor will do examination of your documents and once it is accepted, then you will get an approval for the CPT on the I-20.

·  Those F-1 students, who get the CPT, are not required to make an application for the EAD card from the USCIS; a CPT approval on your I-20 is the work authorization for you.

·  The employment is approved for ONE JOB PROVIDER ONLY.

PLEASE NOTE: The F-1 students who got a one year or even more full-time CPT are not eligible for the OPT after the completion of the program. You should not commence working prior to receiving the approval



What you mean by CPT?

What actually is Curricular Practical Training?

 Curricular practical training (CPT) refers to an employment outside the campus, which is related directly to the area of your study. The sole aim of curricular practical training is intended not to support the approval for employment.  Instead, it is meant to permit students to carry out training, which is closely related to their recognized curriculum and is the key   to attaining an academic goal.

 Who are all entitled to Curricular Practical Training?

In order to get entitled to CPT, you need to have employment which is connected with the established curriculum of your academic program and within the course of study of the student. The CPT may be accepted for either part-time or for full-time employment, which is based on the requirements of curriculum. Moreover, the students ought to have a reference in writing from the student’s academic advisor and also an employment offer from a curriculum-authorized job provider. Generally, the students should adhere to a full-time academic enrollment when doing employment on CPT, not including the vacation periods. 

Before the beginning of employment, the students are required to get the approval from the Adviser of International Students and Scholar Office(ISSO) who documents the student’s employment in Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) and gives a fresh I-20 Form bearing a note that allows the student to take part in the CPT. Moreover, the students should apply again to the ISSO whenever they change the job providers, expand or cut down their working hours, or stretch the duration of their period of employment


Is it possible for foreign students to do work in the U.S.A.?

Yes, there exist four different employment groups for the F-1 visa holder student. The rule stipulates under Title 8 of Code of Federal Register, Part 214, that the foreign students who are on F-1 visas are entitled to "practical training".                                               

What you mean by practical training?

The practical training permits foreign students to agree to paid employment in U.S. Practical training ought to permit the international students to attain experience in the domain of their study, which they could generally not access in their native country.                                      

Who are all entitled?

Any foreign student who has joined in a U.S. college or a university and who possess an F-1 visa are able to make application for Optional Practical Training.                                           

When a student is able to get involved in Optional Practical Training?

Students can start the practical training after completing their degree stipulations.                                           

What is the duration of practical training?

Students who hold the F-1 visa status are entitled to a full-time practical training for 12 months period after completing their studies.


By what manner the students access the practical training?

The applications for the practical training are submitted by the student. Moreover, the students should get a reference from the office of International Students and Scholars located in their college or their university and an approval from the Citizenship and Immigration Services (CIS).                                     

How does job provider come to know whether a student is entitled for employment?

Foreign students (Holding F-1 Visa) who have received the sanction for Optional Practical Training ought to hold the ensuing documents:                                      

·         An approved passport

·         A student copy of Form I-20 ID, having the reference from the official of the Designated School (DSO) on the 3rd page.

·         A valid Employment Authorization Document (EAD). The EAD (Form I-766), which is a plastic-coated, photo I.D. card given by the Immigration clearly indicating the dates of approved employment.                                

What should the job provider supposed to do?

The job providers must examine that the foreign student holds a valid Employment Authorization Document (EAD). Once the job is assigned, the foreign students must fill up the general forms:                                       

·         The I-9, Job Verification Format

·         The student needs to fill up the upper section of this format by making use of the last date of the EAD card for the date of expiration of consent to do the work.                             

·         The W-4, Certificate for Employees Withholding Allowance

·         The foreign students are bound by the Federal as well as State income tax and hence, they are liable to withhold tax. If the worker is non-resident for the purpose of tax, make use of the extraordinary rules that are printed on the format while filling up the W-4.                                   

Once I have made an application for OPT, can I make a travel outside U.S. when I await for the EAD card to be received?

The USCIS at this juncture specifies that you can undertake a travel when your OPT is awaited so as to come back and look for job. Yet, this explanation is a shift from the earlier operating guidelines. The recommendation of ISS is that you must not undertake a travel outside the U.S. when your application for OPT application is awaited. In case it is urgent for you to do so and should travel, it is not certain how it be risky.              

Is it possible for me to travel when on OPT along my EAD and pursue my search for employment after reentry?

USCIS has stipulated that in case your OPT is approved, you have accessed your EAD and you leave U.S. prior to getting an employment, your OPT is ended and you are not likely to reenter U.S.

The USCIS amended the earlier operating guidelines and have lessened the explanation of the rules 8 CFR.214.2 (f) (13) (ii) to specify that you ought to reenter U.S. to “continue your employment”.

ISS stoutly suggests that you must not undertake a journey unless there exists an urgent situation that warrants your travel or you possess a letter certifying that your are employed nor have an offer for employment. Moreover, this is a shift in the interpretation and hence, it is not clear as to whether your entry will be taken in to account at your entry point.


Is it possible for me to get more OPT in case I shift to another degree program?

A: Yes. If you start a fresh degree program of higher level (i.e. Bachelor degree to Masters or Masters Degree to Ph.D.) program, you will be entitled to an extra 12 months period of OPT as indicated above. However, you are only entailed to one block of 17 month extended OPT.

Q: When is it possible for me to work under OPT?

A: Only once after you access the OPT job document (“Employment Authorization Document”) given by the office of immigration service, and the effectual start date given on the work document has been attained.

Q: Can I remain unemployed when got approval for OPT, and still remain in the U.S. legally?

A: The latest rules published on the 8th of April 2008, restrict the periods of unemployment while post-completion OPT. At present, the F-1 status is reliant on employment, adhering to the ensuing parameters:

Students must not accumulate a total of over 90 days of joblessness while any kind of post-completion OPT done under the beginning 12-month of post-completion OPT approval.

Students who are given a 17-month OPT addition may not accumulate a total of over 120 days of joblessness.

Q: How many months are I eligible to stay in U.S. following my post-completion OPT closing date finishes?

A: A grace period 60 day is given to you after the close of you’re OPT time period, if not you have expanded the F-1 status for a different degree program, or your application is pending for a change of your status on immigration to another category.

What all documents should I require to make reentry to the U.S. with a recognized OPT?

 You are required to have your I-20 authorized on the page 3 by a staff member of ISS, the valid Employment Authorization Document (EAD), an approved visa, in addition to a letter certifying an employment offer.

What if I have some period of time remaining in my student program? Can I make a travel at that period, although my I-20 indicates that I have got approval for OPT but the application for OPT is still awaited from the CIS?

Yes, but you should be coming back in the capacity of student to fulfill the academic obligations. For instance, a student who has made an application for OPT in the month of May is admitted in summer, but who fails to graduate till the month of August, may still be able to make a travel in the capacity like a student till the date of their graduation. ISS suggests that you make a travel with an authority letter that indicates to prove that you still are a student in summer.                                       

What if my visa in the passport has ended, but I require traveling outside U.S. when I am on OPT. Is there any risk of refusal of yet another F-1 visa?

 Yes, there is every possibility of a risk of refusal. The threat is more when you are in a lively student status, because your status is now employed instead of going to a school. The F-1 student visa needs  that the candidate should propose to come back to the native country at the close of program, and in case the visa issuing authority is not certain of your intent to come back home, the application for visa could be refused.                                        

You are required to obtain an approved passport, currently certified I-20, EAD card, and a letter certifying an offer of job indicating your remuneration, place, employment duties, and commencing date. Also, you ought to be ready to interact on how the employment experience will relate to an employment in your native country and how you wish to make an application for it.                                           

What if job provider would like to employ the student for rather longer time?

The job providers can apply for H1-b Non-Immigrant Temporary Worker visa once the graduation is over or any period when the practical training is going on after the graduation. This will permit the student to do the job in U.S. till six years period. It is applicable only for job with the applying institution. The office of the International Students and Scholars (ISS) has a group of attorneys who hold expertise in evaluating the H1-b visa requests.                                  

Who is entitled for H1-b visa?

Persons holding a graduate degree are generally ideal candidates for an H visa; yet those persons holding bachelor's degree as well are entitled.                                        

How does a job provider support a student for eternal residency?

A job provider may like to help a worker with accessing a permanent residency, which is also called as “green card". This exercise can take more time and can be very costly. The expert advice of the attorney is suggested. The office of the ISS can offer a catalogue of lawyers on immigration in the locality.                                    

Why must a job provider employ a foreign student graduate?                                   

·         It helps to diversify your work environment.

·         It gives a broad array of skills as well as capabilities.

·         It is flexible, adjustable and go-getting.

·         Are multilingual very often.

·         Have global experience.

·         It facilitates the employer to get the brightest and motivated persons from their native countries.

·         Have wide experience attained through employment in their native countries.

·         Facilitates to get trained in U.S. and able to pass on assignments in their native countries.

·         Often have technical skills.

·         Can prosper an institution through exchanging cultural experience.

·         Have wide network among the employees. Hence, hiring a well qualified non-citizen may draw other more qualified job seekers.                                    

What occurs if I shift after I mail my application for OPT?            

The Postal Service of U.S. will never pass on mail from USCIS in case the address given on the envelope is different from that is in mailbox. Think of making use of   the ISS address on the application for I-765. We will shoot out an email to you as and when the card reaches.                        

 What time it takes to get OPT approval?            

Roughly three months of time from the date the USCIS gets your application, although it can be quicker based on the season of the year.         


In case my mind changes and I make a decision not to do work, is it possible for me to stop my OPT approval?

The answer greatly relies on your specific situation. In case you were given a fresh I-20 with the approval for OPT but still is not mailed your application to the USCIS, you should inform the concerned ISS adviser regarding the change in your decision. ISS will be able to cancel the OPT approval.             

In case you have previously mailed your request to the USCIS, an application can be given to the USCIS to stop processing. The fee for your application will not be refunded and there is no guarantee that your request for refund of the fee will be entertained. You need to get in touch with the ISS adviser for further help. In case you have accessed your EAD card and would like to stop the authorization, you need to get in touch with the ISS adviser. Termination in this case is highly improbable. The application for OPT is not meant to be terminated.     


I failed to send my application for OPT sufficiently early, and I understand I may not obtain the start date for OPT which I requested. How can I get to know which date the USCIS will approve?     

Regrettably it is very hard to assess. The approval relies on at what time the application reaches as well as the volume of work at the USCIS. In case the USCIS try to process your application later than your application begin date, they may postpone the begin date to their processing day, till 60 days later than your program close date. Yet, there exist no method to forecast what date it can be.                


How much time it takes to receive the Receipt Notice/Notice of Action (NOA)?

Roughly two or three week’s time after the USCIS gets your application. You can check up from your bank if your cheque is encased. If that is the case, the NOA is most probably reaching you.     

After getting my EAD card, is it necessary to give a photo copy to the ISS?           

Yes, in case you have requested for your EAD to be mailed directly to you, you need to submit a copy to the ISS. In case your EAD is sent to the ISS initially, then we will make photocopy prior to your picking up the EAD.  


My understanding is that I can request for a "provisional" EAD card. Is it correct?           

In earlier days, students were facilitated to request for a provisional EAD card in case their request was awaited for over 90 days. Now there is change in the processes and provisional EADs are not issued any longer. If your request is awaited for over 90 days, you need to get in touch with the concerned ISS adviser.           

What in case my EAD card is not received or possesses has wrong details on it?  

For this, you need to get in touch with the ISS adviser.                                    

What should I do, in case I lose the EAD card?   

In the event of your losing your card, you ought to make an application and make the payment for replacement card. You need to fill up a fresh I-765 Form and send it to the USCIS along with all relevant documents that includes the fee. Get in touch with the ISS adviser for a latest I-20. We suggest you to retain your EAD at your residence (not in the purse) because you may have to incur additional expenses and spend more time to get the replacement.              

What way can I obtain my EAD card in case it is sent to ISS office and I shift from the Seattle locality?   

   In the event of your shifting from Seattle locality much before receipt of the EAD, you should make arrangement to get the EAD at your latest address after informing the ISS adviser. We suggest that selecting an option for mailing which you can follow. The standard First-Class mail by means of the U.S. Postal Service will not be possible to track and in case you lose your EAD, you ought to give a fresh fee as well as request to the USCIS for replacing your EAD.







Selecting an OPT Begin Date

  • The "begin date" is that date when the consent for your work commences. It is not possible for you to do work before the begin date, but it is feasible for you to commence the work later.
  • Your applied begin date ought to be inside 60 days following the date of your program fulfillment. For instance, in case you have completed graduation or have completed your replacement program on 21st May, your begin date cannot be after 20th July.
  • Making alteration of the applied dates of OPT, later than making the application which is communicated to USCIS, can be extremely hard. Hence, you need to select your dates meticulously.


Undertaking journey on OPT

Can I make a journey outside U.S. prior to my getting card for employment for OPT, and  also once I access the card?

A: The reply to this query relies very much on a number of aspects that are related to what type of OPT request as well as each individual’s situation unique to him. When you are on OPT, still you are regarded as holding the F-1 (student) migration status, even in the event of your completing your studies and have obtained the graduation.

Can I undertake a journey outside U.S.A Prior to accessing the pre-completion OPT card:

A: It is possible for you to undertake a journey outside U.S. prior to receiving the card, in case you intent to make use of that OPT time period for the completion of pre-degree. To get the entitlement to re-enter to U.S., you ought to have an approved F-1 visa (even though the Canadian citizens have exemption from this requirement for visa), an approved passport, and an approved I-20 format with a travel signature not very old.

Can I make a journey outside U.S.A once you access the pre-completion OPT card:

A: Yes, it is possible for you to make a travel outside U.S. once you get the employment card, so long as you are a lively student at Dartmouth, and intent to enroll yourself for full-time program in the following accessible term. For getting entitlement to re-enter the U.S., you need to have an approved F-1 visa (even though the Canadian citizens are given exemption from this requirement for visa), an approved passport, and an approved I-20 format with a current travel signature.

Can I undertake a journey outside U.S.A Prior to receiving the post-completion OPT card:

A: It is not advisable to make a travel outside U.S. when you are expecting a post-completion OPT employment card. In case the OPT is still not received by you, still it is possible for your to make a re-entry to  the U.S. so long as you hold a  proof  that supports that your OPT application is pending, a recognized passport, an approved F-1 visa (even though the Canadian citizens are given exemption to  this visa stipulation), the real signed I-20 format  with the OPT reference and a current travel signature on the form, and a proof of non-migration intent (i.e.: it is a proof to the effect that you will come back to your home nation once  you finish your OPT time period). The formats of non-migration intent proof might encompass entry to a College or a University in your native country; an offer of employment in your native country; or a proof that your spouse or your children are residing in your native country. You are entitled for a fresh application for F-1 visa, even if your employment card has not got accepted.

Can I make a travel outside U.S.A Once I access  the  post-completion OPT card:

A: For getting the entitlement for a  re-entry to  U.S. once the after getting the approval for OPT request, you ought to possess the job card under your custody, an approved F-1 visa (even though the Canadian citizens get exemption from this stipulation for visa ), a recognized passport, an approved  I-20 format  with the OPT certification and a current travel signature on the 3rd page, evidence of a provisional employment in your domain of study, and evidence of non-migration intent (i.e.: evidence that you will come back to your native country once you fulfill your OPT time period). The formats of non-migration intent proof might encompass entry to a College or a University in your native nation; an employment offer in your native country; or proof of your spouse or your children residing in your native country. You are entitled to a fresh F-1 visa application also, during the sanctioned period of OPT.

Can I undertake a journey outside U.S.A Prior to my accessing OPT STEM extension employment card:

A: In case you have made an application for an extension STEM OPT, but you could not access the fresh OPT card yet, you are entitled to make a re-entry to the U.S. in case your present OPT period is not over at the time of your re-entry, and you possess an evidence for filing the application for STEM OPT (the acknowledgement from government, and a photo copy of the request packet). Apart from this, you need to possess an evidence of provisional job with an E-Verify job provider. Also remember that you need to possess an approved F-1 visa for student in order to make a re-entry to U.S.

In case you have made an application for the card for STEM OPT, and could not access the same, and your present time period of OPT is over, you may be under risk to undertake a travel and make a re-entry to U.S., because you will not have access to the fresh OPT employment card under your custody. In case your travel is unavoidable, you need to make sure to possess your evidence for submitting the application for STEM OP (the acknowledgement from government, and a photo copy of the request packet). Also, you ought to possess evidence of provisional job with an E-Verify work provider. Moreover, this kind of travel can be *very* unsafe.

Can I make travel outside U.S.A once you have accessed the extension employment card for STEM OPT.

A: In case you possess the approved STEM extension employment card, you must be able to make a re-entry to U.S. in case you possess the STEM OPT employment card, the earlier employment card, and evidence of provisional work with an E-Verify work provider. Remember that you also require an approved F-1 visa for student in order to make re-entry to the U.S.

Always, there exist a danger that you are likely to get denied your entry to the country, in case the officer at the Consulate or the officer at the immigration department at the port of entry does not get convinced that you will go out of the U.S. at the close of OPT period, in case you are not able to convince   your job, or that your job is in relation to your area of study and at the degree level.

Extending of OPT after a period of 12 months for STEM OPTs

What is the manner by which STEM OPT students get OPT work eligibility extended afar 12-months?

In the first instance, the student should access  a STEM degree (science, technology, engineering or math), get hired by a job provider and sign up for  government program “E-Verify”, and needs to apply for extension of 17-month  on Form I-765 with required fee. Students who file on time  an application for the OPT extension for 17 months will be facilitated to pursue  employment when  the application for extension is awaited, till a last decision regarding  the I-765 or for a period of 180 days, whichever is the first.

In the second instance, the expansion of status as well as employment approval is mechanical for those students who filed and awaiting an H-1B petition.

Below given are details on these two instances:

1) The 12 month limitation  on F-1 Optional Practical Training (OPT) can be further extended by a period of 17 months, totaling 29 months, for some students who hold  STEM degree (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) in the given below fields:

STEM” fields (Science, Technology, Engineering or Mathematics) encompass:

  • Actuarial Science.
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Engineering
  • Engineering Technologies
  •  Biological and Biomedical Sciences
  • Mathematics and Statistics
  • Military Technologies
  •  Physical Sciences
  • Science Technologies
  •   Medical Scientist (MS, PhD)

Other stipulations for 17-month expansion are:

  •  Earlier have not accessed an extension of  17-months;
  • Must possess a STEM degree and should have fruitfully finished a bachelor's, Master's, or Doctoral degree in an area as per the Designated Degree Program List of DHS STEM, from a SEVIS-approved college or a university.
  • Presently should be on post-completion OPT, doing work in a STEM degree connected area;
  •  Should be doing work for (or having an offer of job from) a hirer  who has done  registration with e-Verify system (visit the USCIS e-Verify website);
  •   Should be presently taking part in a 12-month OPT, being employed for a U.S. hirer in a work that is related directly to the major field of study of the student.
  •  The student ought to possess an employment offer from a job provider who is registered with E-Verify employment verification mechanism.
  •  The student is required to present a photo copy of the valid degree along with the application, and if possible the transcripts to offer evidence on the field of degree.
  •  The name of employer as listed by the  E-Verify
  •  E-Verify  company recognition number of hirer (or E-Verify customer company recognition number of the agent of the employer)
  • The student must not receive an extension of 17-month OPT after getting a STEM degree.

Apart from this, the employer of the student should consent to report the ceasing or exit of the student to Immigration Advisor (DSO) or via "any other method or means suggested by DHS." A hirer should treat an employee to have been terminated when the hirer comes to know that the student left the job, or in case the student failed to report for employment for a time period of 5 successive business days without the consent of the employer.

Extension of OPT when H1B application is filed--cap -gap extension

Those students who get benefitted due to the timely filing of  H1-B application, and those who will be able to have a break in between the close of their OPT approval and the 1st October begin date of  H1-B are entitled to a Cap-Gap expansion of their OPT. 

The status’s duration and work approval will get extended for those students who are authorized for OPT, who are the beneficiaries of filing of H-1B of petition in time applying for   an employment begin date of 1st October of the ensuing fiscal year. This is applicable to all the students who are on OPT, not merely the STEM students. The expansion of the duration of the status and work approval would naturally end upon the refusal, rejection, or revoking of H-1B application filed on behalf of the student.

 The stipulations that should be satisfied for this automatic extension of the status and work approval encompass:


  • The student who is recipient of the H-1B petition submitted prior to the end of the lawful F1 status of the student
  • The H-1B petition requiring a change in the status effective from 1st October of the ensuing fiscal year;
  • The F-1 student who did not dishonor the rules and regulations relating to that status; and
  • The H-1B application is not refused rejected or got revoked


The job providers must understand that this expansion is mechanical (by enforcement of regulation) when the terms are satisfied, so that no fresh Employment Authorization Document is needed for I-9 use. Also, this expansion is applicable to all F-1s chosen to get an H-1B for the ensuing fiscal year, if the F-1 functions in a technology, science, mathematics or engineering domain or not. Such an expansion of status also encompasses the spouse as well as children of the student in F-2 status.