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New STEM OPT Rules Starting May 2016

Beginning on May 10, 2016, F-1 students graduating with a U.S. bachelor’s or master’s degree in a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) subject are eligible for 24-month OPT (Optional Practical Training). This is an increase from the duration, which provides for a 12-month initial OPT plus a 17-month extension. Applications submitted and approved prior to May 10, 2016 will be approved for 17 months, but any applications adjudicated after May 10, 2016 will automatically be granted 24 months. One of the immediate benefits of this increase is the ability for STEM graduates on OPT to have 2-3 attempts at getting an H-1B visa. Given that the number of H-1B petitions have exceeded the maximum number of 65,000 (20,000 for master’s cap) allowed by Congress, there have been lotteries for the past three years with the odds of having an H-1B petition selected at about 1 in 3, or 1 in 4. Click HERE to learn more about the new 24-month STEM OPT.  The lawyers at Maximilian Law Inc. are also available to answer questions you have on U.S. immigration law.