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Laura Edgerton, Esq. Edgerton Immigration Law

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1 Laura Edgerton, Esq. Edgerton Immigration Law

2 DSO must approve. No authorization from USCIS is needed. CPT must be an integral part of an established curriculum. CPT is defined to be alternative work or study, an internship, cooperative education, or any other type of required internship or practicum that is offered by sponsoring employers through cooperative agreements with the school. A student may begin CPT only after receiving the updated Form I-20 with the DSO endorsement. Students who have received one year or more of full time CPT are generally ineligible for OPT. Exceptions for students enrolled in graduate studies that require immediate participation in CPT.

3  Training must be directly related to the major area of study.  Maximum of 90 days of unemployment (120 days with STEM extension)

4 Process  Designated School Official (DSO) must recommend OPT. DSO updates the I-20 & SEVIS with the approval. DSO prints and signs the student’s updated Form I-20 and gives it to the student.  Student applies to USCIS for employment authorization. ◦ Up to 90 days prior to being enrolled for one full academic year ◦ Employment cannot begin until after the end of the full academic year  Student is issued an Employment Authorization Document (EAD).  The period of authorization for OPT cannot exceed a total maximum of twelve months (except for STEM extensions).

5 What is a STEM Degree?  Science, Technology, Engineering or Mathematics (STEM)  The STEM Designated Degree Program List includes: - Computer Science Applications- Military Technologies - Engineering Technologies- Biological & Biomedical Sciences - Physical Sciences- Actuarial Science - Science Technologies- Mathematics & Statistics - Medical Scientist- Engineering

6  Eligibility requirements:  Student has a Bachelor’s, Master’s, or Doctorate degree on the STEM Designated Degree Program List.  Student is in an approved post-completion OPT period based on a designated STEM degree.  Student’s employer is enrolled in E-Verify.  DSO recommends the extension.  Student applies on time (i.e., before the current post-completion OPT expires).  Process: Student files Form I-765 with USCIS, along with updated Form I-20, a copy of the STEM degree, and the required application fee.  If OPT expires while the 17-month extension application is pending, students who timely filed their STEM extension application will receive a 180-day extension of employment authorization

7  “Specialty Occupations.” Normally require theoretical or technical expertise equivalent to at least a U.S. Bachelor’s degree.  H-1B Cap: ◦ Maximum of 65,000 H-1B Visas each fiscal year ◦ 20,000 additional H-1B visas available for advanced degree graduates from U.S. universities  Duration: Three years with an additional three year extension; maximum stay of six years. ◦ Exception: Some applicants who have initiated the Green Card process prior to their six year expiration or who have backlogged priority dates  Process: Employer files a petition with USCIS that includes Form I- 129 and various required supporting documents.

8  What is the “cap gap”?  Who is eligible for “cap gap” relief?  What does a “cap gap” extension do?  What should YOU do to evidence “cap gap” extension? ◦ Updated I-20 from DSO

9  Cannot work unless already have OPT  60-day grace period applies after denial, withdrawal or revocation, except for fraud, misrepresentation or status violation ◦ STEM extensions filed within 10 days  No travel during “cap gap” extension

10  Requirements: ◦ Candidate is seeking work in an area of “substantial intrinsic merit” to the U.S. ◦ The benefit from the candidate's proposed activity will be national in scope, and ◦ The national interest would be adversely affected if a Labor Certification were required for the alien applicant.  Does not require employer sponsorship!!

11  “National interest” may include: ◦ Improving the U.S. economy; ◦ Improving wages & working conditions for U.S. workers; ◦ Improving education & training programs throughout the U.S.; ◦ Improving health care; ◦ Providing more affordable housing for impoverished U.S. residents; or ◦ Improving the U.S. environment and making more productive use of the country’s natural resources.

12  For professors or researchers who are internationally recognized as outstanding in a specific academic area  Avoids Labor Certification … BUT requires a Job Offer.  An applicant must have the following: ◦ An offer of employment for a tenured/tenure-track position or comparable permanent research position. ◦ 3 years of teaching and/or research experience in the academic field, generally beyond the Ph.D. ◦ International recognition as being “outstanding” in the academic field.

13  Two of the following criteria must be met: ◦ Receipt of major prizes or awards for outstanding achievement ◦ Membership in associations which require outstanding achievements of their members. ◦ Published material in professional publications written by others about the scholar’s work ◦ Participation, either individually or on a panel, as the judge of the work of others in the same/allied field ◦ Original scientific or scholarly research contributions ◦ Authorship of scholarly books or articles (in scholarly journals with international circulation)

14  Must have a major, international award or at least three of the following: ◦ Receipt of lesser nationally/internationally recognized prizes or awards for excellence; ◦ Membership in associations which require outstanding achievements as judged by recognized experts; ◦ Publication in major, recognized media or journals about you and your work; ◦ Participation as a judge of others; ◦ Major original contributions to your field; ◦ Authorship of scholarly articles published in major publications; ◦ Display of your work in exhibitions; ◦ Playing a critical role in distinguished organizations; ◦ Commanded high salary compared to others in your field; or ◦ Commercial success in the performing arts.

15  The Good News – Processing Times ◦ NIW Petitions: 4 months ◦ Extraordinary Ability/OR Petitions: 4 months ◦ Expedited processing (except for NIWs)

16 May 2010 Visa Bulletin (Chinese Nationals)  EB-1:Current  EB-2:22 SEP 05  EB-3:22 APR 03

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