STEM Optional Practical Training in the United States

Houston, TX (Law Firm Newswire) September 26, 2018 – Under the current administration, most rules regarding immigration visas are changing. One of the areas affected by changes is the STEM optional practical training or STEM OPT. Be aware that the system is being revamped and what may have applied a year ago, may no longer apply.

“It would be best to consult with an experienced immigration attorney about STEM OPT extensions,” said respected Houston immigration lawyer, Annie Banerjee. “There are a lot of changes going on, and relying on what you may have done a year ago is not a good idea.”

STEM OPT is an extension program for eligible F-1 students with stem degrees. One of the first things to keep in mind when applying for STEM OPT is to make certain that the job is in the student’s subject area.

When it comes to optional practical training (OPT), students may not have more than a 90 day or 3 month extension if the OPT is for 12 months. If the OPT is for a duration of 17 months, the student may not have any more than a 120 day or 4 month extension and if the OPT is for 24 months, the student may not have more than a 150 day or 5 month extension.

The question this year is whether third party placement is permitted on the STEM OPT program. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) are currently arguing over the matter. “The issue is that if using this excuse and Citizenship and Immigration denies an H petition, then the F student may get out of status,” explained Banerjee.

Curricular practical training (CPT) is another area that that may be faced with problems. In particular, it is best to be diligent and careful with day one of curricular practical training as USCIS is asking those students to prove that the course they have applied for actually requires the participant to have practical training. Any schools applied to must also hold classes as well. Students may not have a job in another city than the school.

In any situation that appears unusual to USCIS, they tend to rule the student does not have status. “In most situations, the best advice for a STEM student wanting STEM OPT or CPT is to stay in touch with the designated school official (DSO) at all times,” added Banerjee.

Law Offices of Annie Banerjee
131 Brooks Street, Suite #300
Sugar Land, Texas 77478
Phone: (281) 242-9139

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