17-month Extension for F-1 Students - Eligibility
E-Verify Employer: At the time of application for the 17-month extension, the student must have a job offer or be employed by an employer registered with the E-Verify federal employment verification system.
Employer Reporting: The student’s employer must agree to report the termination or departure of the student to the Designated School Official (DSO) or through "any other means or process identified by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS)." (As of April 8, 2008, DHS has identified only the DSO as the one to be contacted, but other means may be added later.) An employer must consider a worker to have departed when the employer knows the student has left employment, or if the student has not reported for work for a period of five consecutive business days without the employer's consent.
STEM Degrees: This benefit is limited to STEM degree holders (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) in the fields listed below, as specified in the Classification of Instructional Programs (CIP). A full list of CIP Codes is available online at http://www.laborimmigration.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/STEM-List-Expanded-May-2012.pdf.
Degree Completion: Students must be currently participating in a 12-month post-completion period of OPT, working for a U.S. employer in a job directly related to the student’s major area of study. (Students must have successfully completed a Bachelor's, Master's, or Doctorate in a field on the DHS STEM Designated Degree Program List, from a SEVIS-certified college or university.)
Unemployment: Students have not accrued a combined total of more than 90 days of unemployment during the initial 12 months of post-completion authorization. Days of unemployment will be counted from either the start date requested or the date the employment authorization is approved, whichever is later (Students granted a 17-month extension will be given 30 more days, which means they may not be unemployed for more than 120 days during their 29 months of OPT.)
This unemployment provision does not apply to any periods of unemployment before the effective date of April 8, 2008. The 90-day “clock” started on April 8, 2008. More than 90 days of unemployment in post-completion OPT after April 8, 2008 may affect eligibility for future benefits. If a student applies for a benefit and has more than 90 days of unemployment AFTER April 8, 2008, the benefit may be denied because of that unemployment. Unemployment provisions do not apply to students on pre-completion OPT who are maintaining full-time enrollment and are still pursuing their studies.
Note: Periods of up to 10 days between the end of one job and the beginning of the next job will not be included in the calculation for time spent unemployed.
Duration of employment authorization
The employment authorization period for the 17-month OPT extension begins on the day after the expiration of the initial post-completion OPT employment authorization and ends 17 months later, regardless of the date the actual extension is approved.
Students must file the application for the 17-month OPT extension prior to the last day of their 12-month OPT authorization as indicated on their EAD. They will be able to continue employment while the extension application is pending, until a final decision on the I-765 or for 180 days, whichever comes first.
Reporting Requirements while on OPT
UK students with an approved 17-month extension must report to the UK International Center Data Manager at firstname.lastname@example.org within 10 days of any change of:
Validation Report: UK students must make a validation report to the Data Manager every 6 months starting from the date the extension begins and ending when 1) the student's F-1 status ends, 2) the student changes educational levels at the same school, 3) the student transfers to another school or 4) the 17-month OPT extension ends, whichever is first. The validation is a confirmation that the student's name and address, employer name and address, and/or loss of employment is current and accurate. The report is due within 10 business days of each reporting date.
Optional Practical Training Filing Procedures
Prior to providing the 17-month extended I-20, the DSO in the UK International Center must receive from the applicant the documents listed below. This can be done by the following means:
Personal visit - 214 Bradley Hall
Fax – 859.323.1026
Mail – Frances Henkel, UK International Center, 214 Bradley, Lexington, KY 40506-0058
John Honeycutt, UK International Center, 214 Bradley, Lexington, KY 40506-0058
Upon receiving the extended OPT I-20, students must file for the extension within 30 days of the I-20 issuance date. The following documentation should be sent to the appropriate USCIS Service Center with jurisdiction over the state where they reside, as noted on the I-765 instructions:
Guidelines for photos (passport style): taken within past 6 months
University of Kentucky E-Verify# for F-1 STEM OPT Extensions
F-1 STEM OPT students employed at the University of Kentucky who wish to file for an extension of their OPT need to enter the following number on their form I-765 in Section 17, which asks for the employer’s E-Verify Company Identification Number: 297664. The company name is the University of Kentucky.