USCIS UPDATE: Certain Students Applying for English Language Study and 24-month STEM OPT Extension Programs Affected by the ACICS Loss of Accreditation

On May 10, 2016, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s rule for the 24-month science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) optional practical training (OPT) extension went into effect.

The rule strengthened oversight of the STEM OPT extension and enhanced DHS’s mission by requiring that:

  • Students work with their employer to complete a Form I-983, “Training Plan for STEM OPT Students,” that clearly articulates a student’s learning objectives and their employer’s commitment to helping them achieve those objectives.
  • DHS perform site visits to employers that train STEM OPT students to confirm that the information included on the student’s Form I-983 is accurate and reduces the potential for abuse of the STEM OPT extension.
  • Students, employers and designated school officials each complete specific reporting requirements throughout a student’s STEM OPT extension.

As a reminder, F-1 international students with an eligible STEM degree from a Student and Exchange Visitor Program-certified, accredited school who are currently in a period of post-completion OPT may apply for the STEM OPT extension.