STEM FAQs

Unless the context shows otherwise, all answers here were provided by Rajiv and were compiled and reported by our editorial team from comments and blog on immigration.com

Status of Off-site Placed STEM OPT Extension Students

Authored on: Thu, 05/31/2018 - 07:21

Question

USCIS now interprets the 24-month STEM OPT extension rule from 2016 to require a STEM OPT worker to be placed only at a worksite of the employer. In other words, the USCIS now says that any offsite placement, including at a third-party worksite, is prohibited. Will this affect the H1B petitions filed by employers for such opt students, where they are working at an end client location (not employer location) and the H1B petition was filed with end client details.

Answer

Watch the Video for this FAQ: Status of off-site placed STEM OPT extension students

Video Transcript

First of all to say that USCIS has changed its regulations and they do not allow off-site placements of STEM OPT extensions students is incorrect, because USCIS has said this from a very long time that they are not going to allow these placements. If you are in a situation, what can happen is you could be considered to be out of status for no fault of your own. So if you file an H-1B and if the government says well we think you're out of status hopefully that's all they can do, they can make you go outside the USA for a visa stamping. More...

 
 
 
Note: This is a verbatim transcript of the referenced audio/video media delivered as oral communication, and, therefore, may not conform to written grammatical or syntactical form.

STEM OPT Extension for Consulting or Staffing companies

Authored on: Tue, 05/31/2016 - 09:00

Question

Can I apply for STEM OPT, if I work for a E-Verified staffing agency (similar to Aerotek, Kelly services) on contract basis that is related to my STEM field of education at a client location ?. (I along with staffing agency will fill out I983 form) <br>

I read online that USCIS has regulated "Certain Types of Employment" for STEM OPT in this new rule. So am worried that working for a staffing company at a client company location is therefore invalid :/ ((If so, I think then all the staffing companies would suffer as well))<br>

I have attached hereby the snippet from Federal Register:<br>

""""""There are several aspects of the STEM OPT extension that do not make it apt for certain types of arrangements, including multiple employer arrangements, sole proprietorships, employment through “temp” agencies, employment through consulting firm arrangements that provide labor for hire, and other relationships that do not constitute a bona fide employer-employee relationship. One concern arises from the difficulty individuals employed through such arrangements would face in complying with, among other things, the training plan requirements of this rule. Another concern is the potential for visa fraud arising from such arrangements. Furthermore, evaluating the merits of such arrangements would be difficult and create additional burdens for DSOs. Accordingly, DHS clarifies that students cannot qualify for STEM OPT extensions unless they will be bona fide employees of the employer signing the Training Plan, and the employer that signs the Training Plan must be the same entity that employs the student and provides the practical training experience. DHS recognizes that this outcome is a departure from SEVP's April 23, 2010 Policy Guidance (1004-03)."""""
<br>
It would be really helpful if you could explain what the above paragraph means.

Answer

Watch Video: STEM OPT extension for consulting or staffing companies

Video Transcript: Basically what the government is saying is that if you have staffing arrangement or a consulting arrangement and you are not directly supervising the employee who is on OPT STEM extension on the site where they are working then you should not be filing for their STEM OPT extension. So far this is what we know of the USCIS comments. I have not heard anything different from USCIS so far. 

Note: This is a verbatim transcript of the referenced audio/video media delivered as oral communication, and, therefore, may not conform to written grammatical or syntactical form.

F-1 OPT Requirements

Authored on: Wed, 10/23/2013 - 05:33

Question

1. How do I apply for F-1 OPT?

2. How do I get a 17-month STEM extension of my post-completion OPT?

Answer

1. Once you receive a recommendation for post-completion OPT from your Designated School Official (DSO) to pursue OPT, you must apply for an employment authorization document (EAD) with USCIS within 30 days. Additionally, you may file up to 90 days prior to your program end-date and not later than 60 days after your program end date. 

2. If you have completed a qualifying Science, Technology, Engineering or Mathematics (STEM) degree, and you are currently in an approved post-completion OPT period based on a designated STEM degree, you may be eligible to apply for a 17-month STEM extension of your  post-completion OPT. For a STEM degree to qualify, it must appear on the STEM Designated Degree Program List. If you want to apply for a STEM extension, you must file for an extension of your EAD with USCIS before your current OPT work authorization expires. USCIS recommends that you file 90 days before the expiration of your OPT.   

For further information visit the USCIS page on F-1 OPT requirements

OPT to H-1B

Authored on: Mon, 10/07/2013 - 06:40

Question

I am currently on my Post-completion OPT. I was recently hired as an IT by a company which agreed to sponsor my H-1B. My OPT expires on January 2013. I've done my Associate Degree in Computer Science. Also, I have BS in Computer Science but from foreign country. Seven year experience in IT.I had my BS evaluated recently. It is equivalent to US Bachelors Degree in Computer Science Computer Technology.

Q1: I will have a gap of 3 months before April 1. How to maintain my status?

Q2: I am under STEM not with my US AAS but with my foreign BS degree. Can I extend my OPT with my evaluated diploma?

Answer

A1. You can consider going back to school or B-1/B-2 status. There is information on our blog on B-1/B-2 to maintain status.


A2. STEM OPT extension is only for US bachelor's or above. Foreign degree does not help in that.