Students and DSOs: The 24-month STEM OPT Extension is Now in Effect
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) new 24-month optional practical training (OPT) extension for F-1 students with science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) degrees is in effect starting today, May 10, 2016. This rule replaces the previous 17-month STEM OPT extension.
For guidance specifically related to capturing these new requirements in the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS), visit the SEVIS Help Hub. There, school officials will find:
- Planning tools for students applying for the 24-month extension and for eligible students currently participating in 17-month STEM OPT who wish to take part in an additional seven months of STEM OPT.
- The STEM OPT Rule Implementation in SEVIS page that clearly outlines required actions for students in specific scenarios. For more information about these specific scenarios, refer to the Wednesday, May 4, 2016, SEVIS Broadcast Message 1605-01: Revised Guidance for SEVIS Workarounds and STEM OPT Transition.
Remember, all existing 17-month employment authorization documents (EADs) will remain valid until the EAD expires, is terminated or revoked. DHS will not automatically convert 17-month extensions into 24-month extensions. If an eligible 17-month STEM OPT participant wants to apply for the additional seven months of STEM OPT, they have until August 8, 2016, to submit their application to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.
In the coming days and weeks, we will publish new tools and resources to help students, schools and employers comply with the new rule. Be sure to follow Study in the States on social media so you don’t miss an update!