The Department of Homeland Security published new federal regulations governing Optional Practical Training on April 8, 2008. These regulations allow for a 17-month extension of post-completion Optional Practical Training (for a total period of 29 months) provided that certain conditions are met:
Your most recent degree must be in a field of study that is on the Federal Government’s approved list of STEM Fields.
S = Science
T = Technology
E = Engineering
M = Mathematics
STEM Fields include :
A detailed list of all STEM fields approved by the federal government is available at: http://www.ice.gov/sevis/stemlist.htm
E-Verify was formerly known as the Basic Pilot/Employment Eligibility Verification Program. E-Verify is an Internet-based system operated by the Department of Homeland Security in partnership with the Social Security Administration. E-Verify allows participating employers to electronically verify the employment eligibility of their newly hired employees.
A F-1 student applying for an OPT 17-month STEM extension can only do so if at the time of filing, the student is employed by, or has a job offer with, an E-Verify participating employer. The employer must provide the student with the company’s E-verify name and company I.D. number, which are required on the I-765 Application for Employment Authorization.
For more information on E-Verify, visit: http://www.dhs.gov/ximgtn/programs/gc_1185221678150.shtm
Manhattan College is now required by federal regulation to continue to maintain a student’s SEVIS record for the full period of Optional Practical Training, including any extension.
The student must agree to report the following information to the International Student Advisor’s office within ten days of the change:
The student must also agree to provide a report every six months to the International Student Advisor’s office to verify the above information.
The employer must agree to report the termination or departure of the student to the International Student Advisor’s office, or through any other process chosen by the Department of Homeland Security.
Students granted a 17-month OPT extension may not accrue an aggregate of more then 120 days of unemployment during the total 29-month OPT period, effective April 8, 2008. Any periods of unemployment before the effective date of April 8, 2008 do not apply. More than 120 days of unemployment after April 8, 2008 may affect eligibility for future US immigration benefits. The application could be denied because of the unemployment. A student may provide documentation for the adjudicator to consider any extenuating circumstances.
Provided that the student has submitted a timely and correctly filed application for a 17-Month STEM Extension to the USCIS Processing Center, if the student has not received notice of the approval of the STEM extension application before the current EAD card’s expiration date, the student’s EAD card is extended automatically pursuant to the terms and conditions specified in 8 CFR 274a.12(b)(6)(iv). This means that the expired card will remain valid until USCIS makes a decision on the extension application or for a period not to exceed 180 days.
A person who has applied for a 17-month OPT STEM extension, whose current EAD card has expired, cannot travel outside the United States, even if employed, until the new EAD card is received.