21 December 2015
Category News Room
21 December 2015,

As previously confirmed the current 17 month STEM OPT Extension allowance ends on February 12th pursuant to a Federal Court Order.  In its place DHS has published a new STEM OPT Extension rule that permits a 24 month STEM Extension.  That rule has already completed its comment period and is awaiting final publication.  We’ve heard from various sources that the final rule should be published before the end of January 2016.  At present if someone has a current STEM Extension that is valid past February 12th it is important to know that that EAD may be considered invalid as of February 12th.  At the same time, as a result of the Court Order and lack of an active new rule, there is no allowance to apply for an EAD based on a STEM Extension that can be granted for any period after February 12th.  As a result, unless an EAD is expiring prior to February 12th, there is no option to file an extension.  Unfortunately this means everyone must wait until the new rule is a final rule, at which point the 24 month STEM OPT Ext EAD request can be filed.  We will be certain to update clients when this rule is published and we will file all necessary EAD filings as soon as we can after the window opens.  It is important to recognize that the act of filing the EAD STEM Extension automatically extends the current EAD, so filing just prior to expiry is permitted.  And as you can imagine many people are worried about the possibility of there not being a final rule prior to February 12th.  We think it is unlikely that this will happen, and we will look to clients by mid-January if it begins to look like contingency planning is necessary.

** This newsletter/memo is provided for informational and discussion purposes only.  It does not act as a substitute for direct legal contact on an individual basis **

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