STEM OPT Life After OPT

Students have several options for Life After STEM OPT. Please review these below:

  • Leave the U.S. within 60 days of STEM OPT expiration. Note: the 60-day grace period also applies to F-2 dependents
  • Transfer to a new institution or start a new degree program at UMass within 60 days of STEM OPT expiration
  • Change your Immigration Status within 60 days of STEM OPT expiration. Please use the Change of Status E-Form under the STEM OPT Reporting Requirements above to report any changes

Basic Info about an H-1B and Changing your Status:

The H-1B is a specialty occupation work visa sponsored by an U.S. company on behalf of an international person. You will work with your employer or immigration attorney on this process.

H-1Bs can be filed requesting either Change of Status or Consular Processing. This is at the discretion of the employer filing the H-1B and both have specific implications for your F-1 status.

Change of Status – The H-1B approval notice will contain an I-94 card, which will forcibly change your status from F-1 to H-1B on October 1. Depending on your situation, possible benefits include Cap Gap and you may not need to file for your STEM OPT extension. If you believe you are eligible for the Cap Gap, request an I-20 reprint above so the IPO can review it.

Students with a change of status effective October 1, should submit the Change of Status E-form to the IPO around October 1 so we can verify your F-1 ended correctly.

Consular Processing – The H-1B approval notice will contain a consular notification that you can use to leave the U.S. and apply for an H-1B visa stamp in your passport when you are ready to take on H-1B status. H-1B cases filed under Consular Processing cannot benefit from Cap Gap.

Students with Consular Processing, should submit the Change of Status E-form to the IPO AFTER you have left the U.S., received your H-1B visa stamp, and returned to the U.S. as an H-1B.

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