The Student and Exchange Visitor Program issued an important update to their optional practical training (OPT) guidance, that supersedes prior OPT policy guidance documents 0801-01 and 0801-02. According to SEVP, the updated guidance:

  • Provides current dates related to H-1B petitioning for FY 2011 numbers (and removes information related to previous years.
  • Amends the text to past tense, as applicable.
  • Replaces the term "OPT STEM extension" with "17-month extension." Classification of Instructional Program (CIP) codes for all science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) are the universe for those CIPs that are approved by DHS for the 17-month extension. However, DHS does not approve all STEM CIPS for the extension.
  • Deletes reference to the public comment period for the IFR, which has closed (section 1.2). Adds text related to school filing of courses of study for CIPs, for STEM designation of CIPS and for DHS approval of STEM CIPS for the 17-month extension of OPT (section 1.3). Adds text on other resources available related to the IFR (section 1.4).
  • Refines procedures for filing for OPT after the program end date (section 5.2)
  • Deletes 10 day exceptions to the time that counts for unemployment during OPT at the EAD start date and between jobs. SEVP will need approval for such exceptions through another proposed rulemaking. (sections 7.1.6 and 7.1.7)
  • Removes restriction that employment during the 17-month extension must be paid employment. SEVP will need approval for such a restriction through another proposed rulemaking. (sections 7.2.2 and 7.2.3)
  • Deletes dates for wait-listing for this year. SEVP has been notified by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) that there will not be a waitlist utilized as a part of the FY 2011 H1B Cap filing process (section 9.1.1).