Today DHS released an advanced copy of its final rule allowing foreign students with degrees in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) to extend their Optional Practical Training (OPT) for an additional 24 months. DHS will publish the final rule in the Federal Register this Friday.  The rule will go into effect on May 10. Beginning May 10, students who are currently in the U.S. under their 17-month STEM OPT extension will be able to file to extend their OPT for an additional 7 months.

This rule gives foreign students with STEM degrees the opportunity to work in the United States for up to 36 months.  The extended time period offers a number of benefits to foreign students and U.S. employers that wish to hire them.  By defining fields of study that qualify for STEM in accordance with the Department of Education’s Classification of Instructional Program (CIP) categories, the new rule expands on the permissible fields of study that were authorized under the old STEM rule.  Notably, increasing OPT work authorization from 29 months to 36 months will give F-1 STEM OPT holders more chances at being selected for an H-1B visa number in the annual H-1B lottery.  The rule also redresses the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia’s vacatur of the 2008, 17-month Optional Practical Training (OPT) STEM Extension rule, and part of the contentious legal battle surrounding the overall validity of the STEM extension program, which is expected to be decided by a Federal court in May.


Continue Reading DHS Set to Publish Final Rule Allowing Further STEM OPT Extensions for Foreign Students

Foreign-born entrepreneurs are critical to the advancement of the U.S. emerging technology industry.  There are a number of visa options, both immigrant and non-immigrant visas, available to entrepreneurs and investors in the emerging tech space (see my previous blog post “Visa Options for Immigrants in the Emerging Tech Space” outlining these).  This post will offer an overview of the O-1 visa, a non-immigrant visa.

There are two types of O-1 visas with the O-1A visa being reserved for those who can demonstrate extraordinary ability in the sciences, education, business, or athletics (the O-1B visa is reserved for individuals with extraordinary ability in the arts or extraordinary achievement in film or television).  Some of the most significant tech innovation is attributed to foreign nationals in the United States.  A foreign national who develops or invents new technology may be eligible for the O-1 visa based on their extraordinary abilities in science or business.


Continue Reading Focus on the O-1 Visa for Immigrants in the Emerging Tech Space

shutterstock_74614888Immigrant entrepreneurs and investors have always been at the core of the American economy.  Immigrant-founded companies have generated billions of dollars in revenues and contributed intellectual property leading to significant socio-economic advancements within the United States.  Foreign-born entrepreneurs are a critical component to the advancement of the U.S. emerging technology space and it is important to note the variety of visa options available.  This initial post will provide an overview of the nonimmigrant and immigrant visa options available to entrepreneurs and investors in the emerging tech space with future posts focusing on the visa specifics.
Continue Reading Visa Options for Immigrants in the Emerging Tech Space