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Atlanta Immigration Lawyer > Blog > Employment Based Immigration > Gaining Practical Industry Experience Through STEM OPT

Gaining Practical Industry Experience Through STEM OPT


If you are an F-1 student in the United States and the program of study you are enrolled in is an approved STEM field, then you may be eligible for STEM OPT (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics optional practical training) extension. This is a 24-month temporary extension for training related to your STEM program of study. Previously, the STEM OPT program only allowed for a 17-month extension, but in 2016, it was prolonged to 24 months.

When you are considering applying to participate in the U.S. Citizenship Immigration Services (USCIS) STEM OPT, there are several things to consider in terms of your eligibility, as well as how you should prepare and what to expect.

STEM OPT could be an excellent opportunity for you to advance your skills and knowledge in your field of study so you are even more primed and ready to compete in the job market. But you may have questions about STEM OPT, and if you do, you can call the Atlanta non-immigrant visa attorneys at Shirazi Immigration Law, Inc., who can assist you.

Understanding the Best Practices for Students Interested in STEM OPT 

There are several things that you should do and be aware of when you are getting ready to apply for STEM OPT. These include:

  • Take the time to visit the STEM OPT Hub for a plethora of information on the program, as well as resources and helpful links to help you get started. The STEM OPT Hub also provides instructions on how to begin the application process.
  • Only eligible students will be allowed into STEM OPT, so you must assess your qualifications. To learn more about your ability to secure a STEM OPT extension, you will have to check the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) STEM Designated Degree Program list and look to see if your Classification of Instructional Program (CIP) is there.
  • It is important to be aware of scammers. Fake employers could get you, unknowingly, involved in a racket where there is noncompliance with the terms and conditions of employment. When a noncompliant or fraudulent employer is identified, it is necessary to report them to the Homeland Security Investigations tip line.
  • There are reporting requirements that you must know about and maintain to keep your legal status. For more information about these requirements, you may review the Students: STEM OPT Reporting Requirements page.

To gain more practical experience related to one’s STEM-related program of study, STEM OPT is a great option for qualified students. When students have excelled in their studies in combination with high-quality, hands-on experience in their particular program of study, they are in a better position to be successful when they go out to seek employment in their STEM careers.

Speak to a Non-Immigrant Visa Attorney Today 

STEM OPT is one of the many advantageous programs available for international students to help them advance in their careers. If you have questions about the U.S. immigration system and if you would like to apply for a U.S. non-immigrant student visa, you can schedule a consultation to discuss your needs and case. Please call Shirazi Immigration Law, Inc. today at 404-523-3611. One of our Atlanta, GA, immigration lawyers is here for you and ready to help.



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