F-1 nonimmigrant students who have U.S. degrees in certain programs in the fields of science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM) are eligible to apply for a twenty-four-month extension of Optional Practical Training (OPT), in addition to the standard twelve months of OPT available to all F-1 nonimmigrant students.
As of January 21, 2022, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has added twenty-two fields of study to the list of programs that qualify for STEM OPT. The new fields of study include bioenergy, general forestry, forest resources production and management, human-centered technology design, cloud computing, anthrozoology, climate science, earth systems science, economics and computer science, environmental geosciences, geobiology, geography and environmental studies, mathematical economics, mathematics and atmospheric and oceanic science, general data science, general data analytics, business analytics, data visualization, financial analytics, other data analytics, industrial and organizational psychology, and social sciences, research methodology, and quantitative methods.
This expansion is the first move of several upcoming immigration policy changes announced by the Biden administration in an effort to attract and retain STEM talent within the United States. Ogletree Deakins’ Immigration Practice Group will continue to monitor developments with respect to these and other policy changes and will post updates on the Immigration blog. Important information for employers is also available via the firm’s webinar and podcast programs.