OPT Extension grace period is getting over- RFE responded on Feb 20th,2013


My OPT extesnion was pending more than 180 days, but I worked till now on grace period after inital OPT got expired. I got RFE on Dec 12th and I submitted all documents on Feb 20,2013, and my grace period is getting over on March 11th,2013.

Could you please advise on this, whether I will be able to work after grace period(March 11th,2013), and I would like to apply H1 this time, can i apply h1 when grace period of opt extension is over and opt extension is pending status in RFE?

Please advise.

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I don’t think you were allowed to work during your grace period once the original OPT has expired. Unless OPT extension gets approved, you should leave US and have the petition filed while you are outside US.

My school DSO told me that we could work after OPT expires untill we hear back from USCIS about our OPT extension petition (i.e. grace period). But I could not find any details on USCIS website supporting the same.

I stand corrected. You are right - http://www.uscis.gov/portal/site/uscis/menuitem.5af9bb95919f35e66f614176543f6d1a/?vgnextoid=ff791c491861a110VgnVCM1000004718190aRCRD

Q -What document can an F-1 student applying for a 17-month STEM extension show his or her employer when completing the Form I-9?

A -

  1. According to the employment authorization regulations at 8 CFR 274a.12(b)(6)(iv), which were part of the April 8 interim final rule, an F-1 student who has timely filed an application on Form I-765 for a 17-month STEM extension of his or her post completion OPT, and whose employment authorization document (Form I-766) has expired, is authorized to continue working while that application is pending, for a period not to exceed 180 days.

  2. The expired Form I-766 EAD (issued under category ©(3)(i)(B)), the USCIS receipt notice showing a timely filing of the STEM extension application (Form I-797, Notice of Action), combined with an I-20 updated to show that the DSO recommended the STEM extension for a work authorization period beginning on the date after the expiration of the EAD is the equivalent of an unexpired Employment Authorization Document under List A, #4 of the Form I-9. This combination of documents satisfies the Form I-9 requirements for 180 days (or less if the application is denied beforehand). If the 17-month STEM extension is approved, the student should receive a new Form I-766 EAD reflecting the 17-month STEM extension within the 180-day period.