A new rule was proposed today seeking to extend the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) OPT (Optional Practical Training) extension from the current limit of 17 months to a maximum of 24 months. This proposed rule would extend the period of time that international students who have graduated from US universities with their Bachelor’s, Master’s and/or Doctorate degree in a STEM field can be authorized to work in the United States following the completion of their degree. In addition, the proposed rule renders international students who earn a subsequent STEM degree at a higher education level eligible for a renewed 24 month period of work authorization; at present, the 17 month STEM OPT is a one-time grant.
This proposed rule is currently in the rule-making process and is open for notice and comment. Anyone who wishes to comment on this proposed may do so for the next 30 days. After the close of the notice and comment period a final version of the rule will be published in the Federal Register. NOTE: The lawsuit filed against the STEM OPT 2008 extension rule is currently on hold until February 2016, allowing the Department of Homeland Security to reissue the STEM OPT rule following the proper notice and comment procedures.