US adds 22 new OPT fields granting 3-year work rights
To attract more international students to strengthen the US economy and competitiveness, the US department of homeland security (DHS) has added 22 more fields of study to the STEM Optional Practical Training (OPT) program for international students.
" Today, DHS is adding 22 new fields of study to the STEM Optional Practical Training (OPT) program. These additions will enhance the contributions of non-immigrants in the US studying in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.", Homeland Security tweeted.
22 New fields added to STEM OPT are:
- Forestry, General
- Forest Resources Production and Management
- Human-Centered Technology Design
- Cloud Computing
- Climate Science
- Earth Systems Science
- Economics and Computer Science
- Environmental Geosciences
- Geography and Environmental Studies
- Mathematical Economics
- Mathematics and Atmospheric/Oceanic Science
- Data Science, General
- Data Analytics, General
- Business Analytics
- Data Visualization
- Financial Analytics
- Data Analytics, Other
- Industrial and Organizational Psychology
- Social Sciences, Research Methodology, and Quantitative Methods
There are already 224 fields in the OPT list. This increase aligns with the development of new areas in which students enrol.
Optional Practical Training
OPT allows F1 student visa holders to work in the USA for 12 months. Although it is possible to avail these months before completing the course, which is known as "pre-completion OPT." The students usually apply for OPT after completing their course, called "post-completion OPT". If a student spends some months of their OPT period during their graduation or post-graduation in the US, those months are deducted from post-completion OPT.
24-month extension for STEM OPT
Although all the F1 student visa holders can work in the USA for 12 Months under OPT, the US government allows international students to extend their OPT 24 months, whose courses fall under STEM OPT (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics). As all the fields that the US has added belong to STEM OPT, the students of these fields will stay back in the USA for 3 years and gain valuable work experience. According to the Open Doors survey, around 81,000 Indian students were enrolled for the OPT program in 2020, signifying its popularity among Indian students.
Eligibility for OPT
To be eligible for OPT, students who hold valid F-1 student status must be present in the US at the time of application. They must also be enrolled at an accredited US educational institution for at least one full academic year. The choice of their work should be directly related to the major field of study.
How to apply for OPT
Generally, to apply for OPT, international students have to request the designated school official (DSO) at their academic institute to recommend their name for OPT. The DSO recommends the students' names by endorsing their Form-I-20, Certification of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status, and making the appropriate notation in the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS). After that, students have to file Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization with USCIS, accompanied by the required fee and the supporting documentation.
For detailed information on OPT and to apply for a US study visa, students are advised to contact US study visa experts at Pyramid eServices- the leading study visa consultant in India. Students can do so by calling at 92563-92563 or visiting any of the pyramid's nearest branches.
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