Federal Court Grants Extension of Current STEM OPT Rules Through May 10, 2016
The United States District Court for the District of Columbia has granted the Department of Homeland Security’s request for an additional three months to implement new STEM OPT regulations. In August 2015, the Court vacated the current STEM OPT regulations for failing to comply with the notice and comment requirements of the Administrative Procedures Act. The Court’s August 2015 holding stayed the invalidation of current STEM OPT regulations through February 12, 2016 – in order to avoid "substantial hardship to foreign students" and to allow sufficient time for the Department of Homeland Security to promulgate new STEM OPT regulations in compliance with the Administrative Procedures Act.
On October 19, 2016, the Department of Homeland Security published new STEM OPT regulations in order to satisfy the notice and comment requirement. The Department of Homeland Security received more than 50,000 public comments and asked the Court for additional time to review comments, finalize the new STEM OPT rules, and train government staff. The Court’s grant of additional time means that current STEM OPT regulations will remain in effect for qualifying F-1 students through May 10, 2016.