DHS publishes proposed changes to the 17-month (STEM) extension of OPT and Cap-Gap
On October 19, 2015 the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) published proposed changes to the 17-month extension of OPT and Cap-Gap extension. These changes come in response to a U.S. District Court ruling invalidating the existing regulations. The court found that DHS did not follow the correct procedures for allowing for public comment when they issued the regulations in 2008. DHS was given until February 12, 2016 to republish the regulations with an appropriate notice and call for comments.
The proposed regulations include significant changes to the 17-month extension of OPT. If published as proposed, these changes will affect students currently on the 17-month extension, as well as students applying in the future. The proposed regulations are available for public review and comment at the U.S. Federal Register until November 18, 2015.
Eligible F-1 students can continue to apply for, and work on 17-month extension through the February 12th deadline. ISS will provide more information as it becomes available.
Read the proposed regulation in its entirety: Improving and Expanding Training Opportunities for F-1 Nonimmigrant Students with STEM Degrees and Cap-Gap Relief for All Eligible F-1 Students
Part-time Study Opportunities for F-2 Dependents
The Student Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) announced a new rule effective May 29, 2015, that increases opportunities to study for spouses and children of nonimmigrant F-1 students. F-2 spouses and children may enroll for less than a full course of study at a college, university or community college.
F-2 spouses and children are allowed to enroll in less than a "full course of study" at an SEVP-certified school without violating their status, even if that part-time study eventually leads to a degree or certificate. The University of Arizona defines less than a full course of study as:
11 units or less
8 units or less
If an F-2 dependent pursues a full course of study, this will result in a violation of status. F-2 dependents are still prohibited from engaging in employment.
International Student Services (ISS) welcomes this opportunity to introduce part-time study opportunities for F-2 dependents. To find more information, visit the Study in the States webpage. If you have any questions, please contact ISS at email@example.com, or visit us during advising hours to learn more.
Immigration Systems, Offices, Documents, and Personnel
SEVIS: Student and Exchange Visitor Information System
SEVIS serves as an electronic means for the university, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS, formerly Immigration and Naturalization Services), and Department of State to receive and transmit information concerning international student visa status. This information had previously been transmitted in paper format. Now, reporting requirements will be done electronically in real time on reportable events.
DSO: Designated School Official
DSOs are University employees registered with the DHS and are familiar with the Service regulations for the requirements for admission and maintenance of status of nonimmigrant students in F status and are named by the university president. DSOs are the only personnel authorized to sign immigration documents as they relate to F status. Continuing F-1 students must see a DSO in the International Student Programs and Services (ISPS) for any necessary signatures or authorizations.
RO/ARO: Responsible Officer/Alternate Responsible Officer
RO/AROs are University employees registered with the DOS and are familiar with the Service regulations for the requirements for admission and maintenance of status of nonimmigrant students in J status and are named by the university president. RO/AROs are the only personnel authorized to sign immigration documents as they relate to J status. Continuing J-1 students must see a RO/ARO in the International Student Programs and Services (ISPS) or their J-1 Program sponsor for any necessary signatures or authorizations.
ISS: Office of International Student Services
915 N Tyndall Avenue
DOS: Department of State
DHS: Department of Homeland Security
USCIS: U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
CBP: U.S. Customs and Border Protection
ICE: U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement
POE: Port of Entry
Form I-20: Certificate of eligibility for nonimmigrant student (F-1) status
Form DS-2019: Certificate of eligibility for Exchange Visitor (J-1) status, Formerly IAP-66
U.S. Visa: Permission to apply for entry into the US
Form I-94: Non-immigrant Arrival and Departure Record, commonly known as “the little white card in passport”
D/S: Duration of Status
All F and J students must have a D/S stamp on their Form I-94
EAD: Employment Authorization Document
Permit to work off-campus under Optional Practical Training (OPT), Severe Economic hardship, or J2 applications
CFR: Code of Federal Regulations
FERPA: Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act
Protects the privacy of all student records. For purposes of the information that a school or program sponsor is required to report to SEVIS for students in F or J nonimmigrant status, the provisions of FERPA do not apply.