OPT Extension Options

So last year you filed for your H1 and it came back saying, “You’ve been approved”, but hey wait… in not so small writing is “We have denied your H1 because you never had your graduation certificate”. Well just dandy I say… Why do you even bother to tell me I was approved in the first place.

A year goes by with you as God (as all of us on OPT feel), and then it dawns on you that your OPT is expiring and you fall to a status a little less Godly. H1 time is around again and God forbid we (in Masters quota) fall prey to the lottery system. But it happened.

Our situation now is worse than being stuck between a rock and a hard place. In order to stick around we have to be picked in the lottery. Of course there are other ways to stick around (remember, the hardest part is making it to the US. After which you are in a state of perpetual bedlam bliss), but you are trying to get the smoothest, cheapest way out.

What ensues is short of a roller coaster ride (not circles, but highs and lows).

H1 applied for – Nail biting tension

H1 goes into lottery – Hair pulling tension

H1 selected – Rejoice!! Nothing can stop us now

Cap Gap – Just when I thought we were through

USCIS Interim Rule release – Yaaay!!! Party again

OPT Extension requires H1 Approval (not receipt) – Gloom again

E-verify done- Finally!!! 17 month extension obtained.

So what’s the final verdict? There are currently 2 ways to extend your OPT.

Method 1

Get your company to E-verify and then give this information to the school along with an OPT application fee of ~370$. Your OPT is now magically extended to 17 months and will get terminated when the COS of your H1 is applied.

Method 2

Get your H1 approval (via premium processing) and submit those documents to your school (read Intl Advisor) and they should be able to get you an extension up until October.

Hope this helped. Good luck.

“May the EAD be with you!”

– Author of blog.rameshbhaskar.com

4 Responses

  1. Vivek

    I have a question on OPT extension. If we have H1 approval starting Oct.1.2008 with COS I-94 attached to it, can we still apply for OPT extension of 17 months after Oct.1.2008 ?

  2. durgeshbhat

    Applying for a OPT extension option will be out if you have a approved H1 with I-94. Is there a particular reason why you want to be still a student and continue working on OPT? If you are in the United States and would like to continue working, then you should go for Change of Status and if you have some other problem please mention particulars. As it might be possible to do something like that with the help of a lawyer.

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