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DHS Proposes New Rule to Extend Training Opportunities for International STEM Students

October 16, 2015

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) proposed extending the time some international students may receive practical training while in the United States.

Specifically, the DHS proposed rule extends how long F-1 students who study science, technology, engineering or mathematics (STEM) may participate in optional practical training (OPT), a form of temporary training available to some post-secondary F-1 students who are in the United States. OPT must directly relate to a student’s course of study.

Under the proposed rule, eligible international students with STEM degrees who elect to participate in an initial 12 months of OPT could extend their OPT by 24 months with the appropriate mentoring and training by employers.

The proposed rule would only permit STEM OPT extensions to F-1 students with degrees from accredited schools, and whose employers are enrolled in U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services’ E-verify employment eligibility verification program. DHS encourages comments on this proposed rule; public comment will be open through November 18, 2015.

The department submitted the proposed rule to the Federal Register and it is slated for publication on Oct. 19, 2015. For more information, visit the Federal Register’s website.

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