Good News: OPT for 29 Months Now

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has extended the period of Optional Practical Training (OPT) from 12 to 29 months for qualified F-1 non-immigrant students. This new rule will benefit students pursuing degree in degree in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics.

Optional Practical Training (OPT) is a period during which undergraduate and graduate students in F-1 status who have completed or have been pursuing their degrees for more than 9 months are permitted by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to work for at most one year on a student visa without needing to acquire a work H-1B visa towards getting a practical training to complement their field of studies.

This is a boon for pending H1-B applicants, who would now have more chances to apply for an H1-B status. Though there are many clauses which have to satisfied to obtain the extended work limit, but, most of the students would satisfy these. So, most of the students can safely assume that they can work for atleast 29 months after their course completion.

Another aspect of the rule responds to the situation in which an F-1 student’s status and work authorization expires before he or she can begin employment under the H-1B visa program. The interim final rule addresses this problem by automatically extending the period of stay and work authorization for all F-1 students with pending H-1B petitions. The rule will also implement certain programmatic changes, including allowing students to apply for OPT within 60 days of graduation.

To read the complete notification, click here.



April 7, 2008 at 7:21 AM

While this will surely benefit 90% of the people, atleast 10% of us are studying courses which are highly specialized and can be classified as SENSITIVE TECHNOLOGY too for which job restrictions exist at various levels....

There are quiet a number of clauses that need to be satisfied for the extended OPT, however, thankfully, there are loopholds too... anyways, most people can safely assume that they'll be in US for 2.5 years which means they could apply for the H1B 2 - 3 times.... chances of getting that in the lottery increases exponentially.... (simple mathematics.... A*A*A = A^3)


April 19, 2008 at 11:11 AM

The decision to extend the OPT period to 29 months is good in all ways.
- If you don't get a job, you get more time to search
- If you get a job, you could defer your application for a H1-B, and thus remain on F1 status AND PAY LESS TAXES!!!

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