If an H-1B petition filed on your behalf did not make the ‘Random Selection Process’, you have certain options. If you are currently in F-1 status with an OPT, students in STEM programs could immediately apply for a 17-months extension of Optional Practical Training.

A. Eligibility for STEM extension:

  • The student must have a bachelor’s, master’s, or doctorate degree included in the STEM Designated Degree Program List.


  • The student must currently be in an approved post-completion OPT period based on a designated STEM degree.


  • The student’s employer must be enrolled in E-Verify.


  • The student must apply on time (i.e., before the current post-completion OPT expires).

This will extend your OPT until October 2015 and you will be eligible to apply for the 2016 H-1B CAP in April 2015.

Process of Applying for STEM extension:

  • The student files Form I-765 with USCIS, Form I-20 endorsed by the DSO, a copy of the STEM degree, and the required application fee.


  • Form I-765 is being amended to require the student to indicate the degree and provide the employer’s E-Verify information.


  • If their post-completion OPT expires while the 17-month extension application is pending, students who timely filed their STEM extension applications with USCIS will receive an extension of employment authorization after their current employment authorization expires, but for no more than 180 days.

B. Return to School

You could always go back to school. Enroll in a program that would allow you to maintain your F-1 student status. You need not return to the same institution, or even apply for a program that leads to a degree.

C. Spouse in H/L, or F Nonimmigrant Status:

If you have a spouse in H/L or F nonimmigrant status, change to dependent status may be possible. Contact the Office immediately to set this process in motion.

For additional Q&A on the subject, please see http://www.uscis.gov/archive/archive-news/questions-and-answers-extension-optional-practical-training-program-qualified-students

Please do not hesitate to contact your prospective employer to schedule an appointment with our Office for a consultation with an Attorney.