Bridgewater State University
International Student and Scholar Services
Optional Practical Training (OPT)
Effective April 8, 2008, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) revised its regulations on F-1 Optional Practical Training (OPT).
17-month post-completion OPT extension for certain STEM graduates. The new rule makes recipients of bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees in certain STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) fields eligible for a one-time 17-month extension of post-completion OPT (for a total eligibility of up to 29 months).
This rule benefits STEM degree holders (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) in the following fields:
Actuarial Science: CIP Code 52.1304.
Computer Science Applications: CIP Codes 11.xxxx (except Data Entry/Microcomputer Applications, which are CIP Codes 11.06xx)
Engineering: CIP Codes 14.xxxx.
Engineering Technologies: CIP Codes 15.xxxx.
Biological and Biomedical Sciences: CIP Codes 26.xxxx.
Mathematics and Statistics: CIP Codes 27.xxxx.
Military Technologies: CIP Codes 29.xxxx.
Physical Sciences: CIP Codes 40.xxxx.
Science Technologies: CIP Codes 41.xxxx.
Medical Scientist (MS, PhD): CIP Code 51.1401
A full list of CIP Codes is available online at Classification of Instructional Programs (CIP 2000).
Additional requirements for the 17-month extension include:
The student must be currently participating in a period of standard OPT, working for a U.S. employer in a job directly related to the student's major area of study.
The student must have successfully completed a bachelor's, master's, or doctoral degree in a field on the DHS STEM Designated Degree Program List, from a SEVIS-certified college, or university.
The student must be employed with or have a job offer from an employer registered with the E-Verify employment verification system. For more information on E-verify. please visit www.dhs.gov/e-verify .
The student has not previously received a 17-month OPT extension after earning a STEM degree.
The DSO must recommend the 17-month OPT extension in SEVIS, after verifying the student's eligibility, certifying that the student's degree is on the STEM Designated Degree Program List, and ensuring that the student is aware of his or her responsibilities for maintaining status while on OPT.
The student will have to apply for the 17-month extension on Form I-765 with fee.
Students who timely file an application for the 17-month OPT extension will be able to continue employment while the extension application is pending until a final decision on the I-765 or for 180 days, whichever comes first.
The employer must agree to report the termination or departure of the student to the DSO or through "any other means or process identified by DHS" within 48 hours of termination of employment. An employer must consider a worker to have departed when the employer knows the student has left employment, or if the student has not reported for work for a period of five consecutive business days without the employer's consent.
During post-completion OPT F-1 status is dependent upon employment. During any initial 12-month period of post-completion OPT, no student (including STEM students) may be unemployed for an aggregate of more than 90 days. If a STEM student receives a 17-month extension, the limit on unemployment is raised to an aggregate of no more than 120 days, applied to the entire 29-month period on which the student is on post-completion OPT.
A student may change employers during the 17-month period, but all employers that a student will work for during the STEM extension period must be registered in the DHS E-Verify program, and the student must report the change in employment to his or her DSO. Please see a Foreign Student Advisor for further instructions.
Students on a STEM extension are allowed to volunteer, incidental to their status. This means that volunteer work is allowed but does not count as employment for the purpose of maintaining F-1 status.
USCIS must receive the OPT application preferably 120 days prior to the expiration of the current Employment Authorization Document (EAD). The OPT extension application must be submitted to and received by USCIS within 30 days of the date on which the Foreign Student Advisor issues a new I-20 recommending OPT. The student must use the most recent I-20 for all purposes including travel. Please note that the 17-month OPT extension cannot be filed after the end date of the standard OPT.
F-1 students are responsible for reporting any change of address to ISSS and USCIS within 10 days of moving. Students must report their information to ISSS every six months. This includes the period while the student is on OPT.
The regulations governing these reporting requirements are as follows:
8 CFR 214.2(f)(17) requires that "A student must inform the DSO and the Service of any legal changes to his or her name or of any change of address, within 10 days of the change, in a manner prescribed by the school. A student enrolled at a SEVIS school can satisfy the requirement in 8 CFR 265.1 of notifying the Service by providing a notice of a change of address within 10 days to the DSO, who in turn shall enter the information in SEVIS within 21 days of notification by the student."
8 CFR 214.2(f)(12) requires that "An F-1 student authorized by the Service to engage in practical training is required to report any change of name or address, or interruption of such employment to the DSO for the duration of the authorized training. A DSO who recommends a student for optional practical training is responsible for updating the student's record to reflect these reported changes for the duration of time that training is authorized."
The university is also required to report the student's employer's name and address. Students who are currently unemployed should inform ISSS of this fact.
Students must report their information to email@example.com with subject title "OPT student - update my personal info" in the format below. A clear copy of the EAD should be attached to the email if the student has not already submitted one to ISSS.
Student's name (Last Name, First Name)
Student's Banner ID number
Student's SEVIS number (Nxxxxxxxxxx-located on the top right corner of I-20)
Student's current residential U.S. address
Student's Email address and alternate email address
Student's employment name and worksite address
Date the student began working for the current employer
Any periods of unemployment while on OPT
Step 1: The student will submit the following to Dr. Roopa Rawjee at ISSS:
Completed OPT Extension Request form - available at http://www.bridgew.edu/InternationalStudents/forms.cfm
Copy of current BSU SEVIS I-20 with original OPT recommendation.
Copy of Diploma/Degree or Official or Unofficial Transcript, verifying that you have graduated.
Completed form I-765: Available at www.uscis.gov. When completing the I-765, the student must follow the instructions as listed for foreign students under category A. Use code (c)(3)(C)
At top, mark "Renewal of my permission to accept employment"
Item #11: Have you ever received an EAD card before? Which USCIS Office: Vermont Service Center
Dates = Dates of EAD validity
Results = Granted
Documentation = Photocopy of EAD
Item #17: For your "Degree" use what is listed in #5 on SEVIS I-20
Signature: Make sure your signature does not touch lines above or below and only sign between the two lines.
Copy of previously issued EAD (for student file at ISS).
Copy of the Front AND Back of your most recent I-94 Departure Record Card.
Note for students unable to come in person to ISSS:
You may scan and email your documents to Dr. Rawjee at firstname.lastname@example.org
Please let Dr. Rawjee know if you need the I-20 mailed to you. ISSS will mail the I-20 to you via USPS first Class mail.
You are required to sign and date the I-20 immediately, then scan and email a copy back to Dr. Rawjee so that you file at ISSS can be updated.
Do not mail a copy of your Social Security Card.
ISS will take 3-5 business days to review and process the OPT Extension request. Please call (508) 531-6195 to ask if the I-20 is ready for step 2.
Step 2: If possible, the student is required to return to ISSS to pick up the OPT Extension I-20 and supporting documents and bring the following (to be mailed to USCIS):
Check for $380.00 payable to "Department of Homeland Security". Write "For OPT extension" on the memo line.
2 "Passport" photographs with small envelope. Photos must meet U.S specifications (not taken in home country).
The student must write his/her name and date of birth on back of each photo lightly in pen.
Completed form G-1145 requesting E-Notification of Application/Petition Acceptance available at www.uscis.gov (optional)
At Step 2, Dr. Rawjee will put together the OPT Extension application packet and return immediately to the student. The student is required to mail it to USCIS at the appropriate lockbox.
Note: If the student is unable to come to ISSS, they can mail the completed application packet directly to USCIS at the appropriate lockbox based on the address on the I-765.
Please utilize the OPT Extension Application Checklist to ensure that your application is complete.
*Please contact Dr. Rawjee at email@example.com for questions and/or clarifications.
Last Modified: August 30, 2012