New STEM OPT Regulations

[sent to all F-1 students on 3/11/2016]:

 
We write to share the update that the new STEM OPT final rule has now been published.  The rule is available in its final form on the Federal Register's Current Issue page at https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2016-03-11/pdf/2016-04828.pdf.  
 
The 17-month STEM OPT regulations remain in effect through May 9, 2016. The 2016 final rule’s STEM OPT 24-month extension is effective beginning on May 10, 2016. Some highlights of the changes include:
 
STEM OPT extension period - The new rule increases the OPT extension period for STEM students from the current rule's 17 months to 24 months.
STEM eligibility based on previously earned degrees - If you earned a STEM degree in the past 10 years, you may be eligible for a STEM OPT even if your most recent degree is not on the STEM list.
Up to 2 lifetime STEM extensions.
Up to 150 days of unemployment in the aggregate. 
New employer responsibilities - Employers will be required to submit training details, compensation information, and displacement attestations as part of your STEM application.  Evaluations will be required at 12- and 24-months, and an additional plan will be required within 10 days for each new job you accept.  DHS may conduct employment site visits.  If you are thinking about applying for a STEM extension, please begin to discuss the training plan (https://studyinthestates.dhs.gov/form-i-983-overview) requirement with your employer right away.  
 
If you are currently on 17-month STEM OPT
You may request a 7-month extension if, as of May 10, 2016, you will have at least 150 calendar days remaining on your EAD at the time of filing Form I-765.
 
If you have a STEM OPT Extension pending on May 10, 2016
USCIS will issue a Request for Evidence asking for a new 24-month DSO recommendation, which ISSS may provide upon receipt of a training plan as described above.  
 
If you are on regular OPT and are eligible to apply for STEM
You may apply up to 90 days before the end of your regular OPT.
 
Please visit the STEM OPT Hub at https://studyinthestates.dhs.gov/stem-opt-hub for more information to understand the new rule.  In the coming months, ISSS will roll out updated STEM OPT procedures consistent with the new rules and we will keep you informed through email, our website, and our eforms as any changes occur.