Friday, May 8, 2015

OPT 17 Month Stem Extension and E-Verification

You would want  to apply for OPT  STEM extension if your H1-B doesn't get picked up in the lottery or for some other reason . The important thing is that the employer you are working for his company should be E-Verified and then only you can apply for 17 months OPT extension.

Usually all big companies in US are E-Verified. According to USCIS nearly 500,000 employers use E-Verify currently.

Recipients of bachelors, master's and doctoral degrees qualify for one time 17 month  STEM extension after your Post completion OPT.( Total Eligibility becomes 29 months - Initial 12 months of Post Completion OPT and then 17 months of STEM extension).  It is important to know that is does not matter during your Post completion OPT period that your company is E-verified or not . But when you apply for STEM extension it does matter because while filing the stem Extension it will ask for your company's E- Verification number.

Like you receive a EAD Card  for your post completion OPT ( for one year ) you will receive a new EAD card for your OPT Stem Extension. The filing fees for your Post completion OPT and OPT stem extension is $380 ( currently - It can change) .

Overview for STEM Extension (17 Months)

During your lifetime you are granted 17 month OPT extension only once. It does not matter how many additional degrees you have . For Instance: You do your masters and then work for a company for initial 12 months on Post completion OPT and then you apply for your STEM extension for 17 months ( Taking into account your company didn't sponsor your H1-B or it didn't get selected in lottery ) . So you decide to go to school again , then remember you cannot get stem extension again. It is granted once per lifetime. Also it is possible to change employers in your stem extension and also during Post completion OPT. You can continue to work with your employer if you have applied for your stem extension and are currently waiting for the card.

There are few Requirement for STEM Extension

1) Your degree should be a stem degree ( Science , technology , Engineering or Mathematics)

2) You should be currently on your Post Completion OPT

3) Your employment must directly relate to your field of study ( Your Major) . You should work at least 20 hours a week .

Also during your OPT extension you can work with multiple employers i.e. you can have multiple jobs but all the employments must relate to your field of study.

To apply for your Stem extension you should contact your DSO. Your DSO should verify all the paper work and you should send a $380 money order or check.

Travel during OPT STEM Extension

You would require a few documents to re enter US :

1) Stem Extension I-20 with page 3 endorsed for travel by your DSO .

2) Valid F-1 Stamp

3) Valid Passport

4) Job Offer or a letter from your employer stating that you are employed with their company.

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