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 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.