STEM OPT Extension Increased to 24 Months in Final Decision

On March 11, 2016, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has finally ruled on the new STEM OPT program. The new STEM OPT extension will lasts 24 months as opposed to the previous 17 month extension program. With the initial STEM OPT for F-1 students remaining at 12 months, the new 24 month OPT extension will allow qualified foreign students to work for 3 years in the United States post-graduation. With this new OPT extension comes various new requirements. Employers under the new program will have to complete Form I-983 and submit it to the school of the employee. Form I-983 requires the student and employer to engage in a training plan that “identifies learning objectives and a plan for achieving those objectives”. Moreover, the new extension program will require the employer to increase oversight and state the method and policies dictating supervision. These newer obligations come in response to objections that the STEM OPT program displaces American workers in favor for foreign students. Amongst other requirements, the employer must verify that the STEM OPT student will not be used to “replace full- or part-time, temporary or permanent U.S workers”. To learn more about the entire program, please visit

The current 17 month STEM OPT extension program will continue until May 9th 2016, as the new 24 month extension will take place on May 10th, 2016. Those under the 17 month program who wish to extend their OPT by an additional 7 months should filed Form I-765 after May 10th but before August 8th.

Zhang & Associates, P.C. has successfully represented many STEM OPT extension cases. If you would like to contact us, please email us at Our attorneys will use their experience, expertise, and teamwork to ensure the highest quality of service. If you already retained another attorney but want to know a second opinion or have further concerns, you are welcome to retain us for fee-based consultation or quality control services. 

Founded in 1996, Zhang & Associates, P.C. offers legal services to clients nationwide in all aspects of U.S immigration law. We have successfully handled thousands of immigration cases.

At Zhang & Associates, P.C., our attorneys and supporting professionals are committed to providing high-quality immigration and non-immigration visa services. We specialize in NIW, EB-1, PERM, and I-485 cases. In the past nineteen years, we have successfully helped thousands of clients get green cards. If you plan to apply for a green card, please send your CV to Attorney Jerry Zhang ( for a free evaluation.

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