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Immigration Law

Threading the STEM OPT Needle - News from SEVIS (ICE, May 5, 2016)

ICE Broadcast Message 1605-01, May 5, 2016, Revised Guidance for SEVIS Workarounds and STEM OPT Transition

"After consultation with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) is revising its guidance on the handling of 24-month extensions of optional practical training (OPT) to include special instructions for students whose:

  • Post-completion OPT ends before May 23, 2016, and
  • Eligibility is based on a prior science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM)degree

USCIS and SEVP developed special filing instructions for a limited number of students who become eligible on May 10, 2016 for a STEM extension based on a prior degree or for a seven-month extension of approved STEM OPT and who must file their applications before May 23, 2016. These students cannot meet the technical requirements for filing because:

  • SEVP will deploy the STEM-related functionality into the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) on May 13, 2016
  • Designated school officials (DSOs) need time to generate and send the Form I-20 to students who may be out of state
  • Students need time to sign the Form I-20 and send a copy of it with the application for employment authorization (Form I-765) to USCIS

The chart below, originally released on April 4, 2016, has been revised to include guidance for these students. ... "