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24 Months Stem Opt Extension – Rule Published – Effective May 10, 2016

24 Months Stem Opt Extension – Rule Published – Effective May 10, 2016

The final 24-month STEM (Students with degree in Science, Technology, Engineering or Mathematics from the U.S. institutions of higher education) OPT (Optical practical training) rule was published in the Federal Register on Friday, March 11, 2016.

  • The new 24-month STEM OPT rule is effective Tuesday, May 10, 2016.
  • The current 17-month STEM OPT rule remains effective through May 9, 2016, and will continue to govern the STEM OPT extensions that were approved prior to May 10, 2016 and for which a 7-month extension has not been requested.
  • Duration of STEM OPT – The OPT extension period for STEM OPT students is increased to 24 months for applications adjudicated on and after May 10, 2016 effective date of the new rule. It is currently 17 months. The 24-month extension when combined with the period of standard post-completion OPT that must precede an application for STEM OPT, allows qualifying STEM students up to 36 months of post-completion optional practical training. After completing another qualifying degree at a higher degree level and receiving another period of standard post-completion OPT based on that degree, a student would be eligible for one more 24-month STEM OPT extension. A student is limited to two STEM OPT extensions during his or her lifetime.

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