DHS Final Rule for STEM Students and Cap-Gap Relief

HomeNews & EventsDHS Final Rule for STEM Students and Cap-Gap Relief

Immigration News & Events



DHS Final Rule for STEM Students and Cap-Gap Relief

Share This Post: facebooktwitterLinkedIn

Following much anticipation, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is issuing a final rule that will allow certain foreign students with science, technology, math, or engineering (STEM) degrees to extend their optional practical training or “OPT” period by two years. The rule will take effect May 10, 2016.

As previously reported on our blog, agency regulations from 2008 were the subject of litigation because DHS failed to follow established procedures for their implementation. Per an order from a district court judge overseeing the case, DHS had to implement regulations, following the proper procedure, by a certain date, or STEM OPT would expire. This, of course, left many students panicking about their futures.

Fortunately, DHS properly implemented a new rule by the court-imposed deadline. The final rule will give STEM graduates a total of three years of OPT – an increase from the 29 months they are afforded under current regulations. The rule also imposes strict new requirements on students and employers to ensure integrity and compliance. These include, among other things, a requirement for individualized training plans developed by the employer and student; requiring the student to regularly report to the university’s designated school official; and allowing extensions only to students with degrees from accredited schools.

We are relieved to know that talented and motivated students have the option to stay in the United States in STEM OPT status for up to three years after graduation.

Say what you will about Donald Trump’s campaign for the president of the United States. To call it controversial would be an understatement. After he called Mexicans “rapists” and “drug…


United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) reports that immigrants around the country are currently being victimized by phone scams. According to USCIS: Scammers pretend to be a government official…



Recognized Leaders In
Immigration Law

Joseph & Hall P.C. is a full-service immigration law firm. We pride ourselves on being nationwide experts in all areas of immigration law, including the practice areas listed below. Our attorneys frequently are asked to speak both locally and nationally on a wide variety of immigration topics. For an overview of each practice area, please click the links below. If you have any questions about how these practice areas may apply to your case, please do not hesitate to contact our firm.


We Are Committed to Your Dreams.

Countless people dream of becoming a U.S. citizen. If your application was rejected by the USCIS, we are here to fight for your best interests.

Get in touch with us. Write us a message.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
Tap Here To Schedule An Appointment
It's Fast & Easy