No Changes Yet in OPT/STEM Extensions

The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia ruled on January 23, 2016 to allow the DHS to continue the current OPT/STEM extension program until May 10, 2016 despite a rigorous challenge by the Washington Alliance of Technology Workers. This is a major relief both for U.S. employers and affected F-1 students. Before this date, DHS is expected to correct the technical errors made in its 2008 rule making that created the availability of OPT/STEM extensions. It is also hoped that within the next few months it will become clearer whether additional extensions in two year increments of OPT will become available to STEM graduates and whether additional categories of F-1 graduates will become eligible for extensions of OPT beyond their current one year limit.

At the very least, what all this uncertainty means is that students should not rely on the various proposals (including executive action) to extend their OPT and thus should file for H-1B visas this April to maximize their chances of extending their employment eligibility in the United States.

| Employment Authorization, Nonimmigrant