Back in 2008, Optional Practical Training (OPT) was extended from 12 to 29 months for STEM students but a ruling by a court last week puts this extension in jeopardy. OTP is available to students on F-1 visas who have graduated or have been working towards a degree for nine months. OPT allows students to gain a practical working experience that is related to their field of study. The OPT extension is only for students in STEM (science, technology, engineering or math).
Last week a court ruled that this extension was invalid because the government failed to seek public comment before extending the OPT period. The court decided not to outright declare the OPT extension invalid but instead gave the government six months to cure the problem and submit the extension for public comment.
Fortunately this means the problem could be fixed in six months, but if the court isn’t satisfied upon further review it could mean that students working on OPT may be forced to terminate their employment and leave the US.
Although the OPT extension program requires public comment as of now, the extension period is still valid up until February 12, 2016, the court given expiration date. Also, F-1 students may still apply for an OPT extension and be granted the extension until the six months has run.