DHS Approves New STEM Student Visa Extension Period

The Department of Homeland Security has finalized its amendment of F-1 nonimmigrant student visa regulations regarding optional practical training (OPT). However, the amendment only applies to students of science, technology, engineering, or math—otherwise known as STEM students. The amended regulation allows students who have opted for 12 months of OPT to extend their study by 24 additional months, with the application window open from May 10th to August 8th of this year. This OPT extension period will replace the current OPT period of 17 months.

F-1 students who qualified for the 17-month extension will have the ability to extend it by an additional 7 months if they apply during the same May 10th-August 8th application period. This new regulation will also create stronger oversight and regulation of OPT programs by requiring formal training plans of employers, as well as implementing new wage protections for international OPT workers. This will ensure that students who continue to train in the U.S. have concrete learning objectives that employers will empower them to meet while they work in their field.

Another important amendment to the OPT extension is that only students who attend accredited colleges may apply for the extension. By increasing oversight, the OPT program can provide even more powerful benefits to students who choose to study and work in the U.S. It will ensure that they are paid in amounts that are appropriate for their job and their industry, while also ensuring that employers are giving F-1 students duties that will properly equip them.

Turn to Ohio Immigration Lawyers Today

Brown Immigration Law has been committed to helping immigrants achieve their goals and navigate the law for decades. With more than 70 years of combined experience, our immigration attorneys can help STEM students understand and comply with the complex network of immigration laws in the United States. Our help provides our clients with the best possible chance for a positive outcome, from filing the correct forms to fighting for them in court.

If you’re unsure of your own eligibility as an F-1 STEM student, give our firm a call. We can help you determine if you are eligible for a 7-month or 24-month OPT employment extension. Contact our firm today.

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