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Expert James
Expert James, Immigration Attorney
Category: Immigration Law
Satisfied Customers: 7648
Experience:  Experienced in all aspects of immigration and nationality law.
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I have a valid OPT Till January 15 2014. I want to apply for

Resolved Question:

I have a valid OPT Till January 15 2014. I want to apply for OPT Extension on October 21 2013. Can I travel outside US on October 25 2013 and come back on December 8 2013 after applying for OPT Extension? Any chances of my OPT Extension getting abandoned ?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Immigration Law
Expert:  Expert James replied 1 year ago.
Hi there! Thank you for using this service. My name is XXXXX XXXXX I'll be helping you with your questions today.

QUESITON: Can I travel outside US on October 25 2013 and come back on December 8 2013 after applying for OPT Extension?

ANSWER: Yes.

 

QUESTION: Any chances of my OPT Extension getting abandoned?

ANSWER: As long as you are coming back to the US on the same status (F-1), you should be just fine.

I hope I have answered your questions. If you need more help, please use the reply button to continue our conversation. If you do not require further assistance, kindly rate my satisfactory customer service (not the outcome or the state of the law which I cannot control) with a top-three rating, as this is the only way I receive credit for assisting you.

A bonus is appreciated, if you feel I've earned it.

If you have immigration or TSA questions in the future, just click Ask Expert James a Question! and make sure you write "FOR JAMES" in the subject or at the beginning of your question. This is the only way to ensure that I will assist you.

Thank you!
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Hi James, Thank you for your response. it was a relief after talking to you. Just to clarify again.. I heard (not from credible source though) if we travel outside U.S. after applying for OPT Extension, there are chances that USCIS Considers my application of Extension as abandoned. Yes, I will be returning on F-1 Status. You are saying, it wont be abandoned as long as I return to U.S. on F-1 right ?


 


And Can you please provide me any documentation or a rule or a section in a law which describes about what you said or about the situation I asked for? so that you know, I can read it and be confident about it ?

Expert:  Expert James replied 1 year ago.
Hi Captain,

If you want to avoid this problem all together, you can just leave, and then after you return, apply for the extension. You still will be permitted to re-enter, as long as you have a valid F-1 visa stamp and valid I-20.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

James, Thank you again for your response.


 


Yes , I thought about Applying after coming back. But unfortunately, My school "Office of International Affairs " already generated my OPT Extension I-20. Because of that, I will have to send documents to USCIS within 30 days from the Extension I-20 generated.


 


I asked in School, if they can cancel it so that they can regenerate Extension I-20 when I come back to U.S.


 


Office of International Affairs replied saying "we are not sure if there will be any problem if you want to cancel it now". They said it might be a risk if they cancel the generated Extension I-20. They are not sure about it I believe.


 


And that's why I wanted to know if USCIS will abandon my application if I apply for OPT Extension and then travel outside U.S and come back. And wanted to look at any source which describes this situation.

Expert:  Expert James replied 1 year ago.
Hi Captain,

I just realized something. Is this in reference for a STEM OPT extension for 17-months?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

James,


 


Yes, I am referring for applying to STEM OPT Extension for 17-months.


 


My details (to be clear)


 


I applied for my initial OPT after my graduation. It got approved. so, my initial OPT is valid from Jan 15 2013 TILL Jan 14 2014.


 


I want to apply for STEM Extension for 17 months on around October 21 2013. and want to leave U.S on October 25 2013 and be back on December 08 2013. ( I am eligible for STEM Extension)

Expert:  Expert James replied 1 year ago.
Captain,

Thank for the information. I'm sorry for the inconvenience, but this is the first time you've mentioned that this is a STEM extension. My sincerest apologies for the inconvenience. There is a lesson to be learned here - always make sure that you provide the specifics of each question you ask.

The fact that this is for a STEM extension changes things tremendously. If you are applying for a STEM Extension, you should NOT travel abroad while the extension is pending. You need to have a valid EAD issued to you in hand prior to traveling.

Here is information provided by two large educational institutions that say the same:

http://internationaloffice.berkeley.edu/students/training/f-1/travel

http://iss.washington.edu/employment/f1-employment/opt/stem-extension

Again, I'm very sorry for the confusion earlier. Please know that while I always do my best to assist customers with coming up with a good solution to their situation, from time to time, the law does not provide a good solution to every situation. Please do not hold bad news against me by giving me a negative rating.

I hope I have answered your questions. If you need more help, please use the reply button to continue our conversation. If you do not require further assistance, kindly rate my satisfactory customer service (not the outcome or the state of the law which I cannot control) with a top-three rating, as this is the only way I receive credit for assisting you.

A bonus is appreciated, if you feel I've earned it.

If you have immigration or TSA questions in the future, just click Ask Expert James a Question! and make sure you write "FOR JAMES" in the subject or at the beginning of your question. This is the only way to ensure that I will assist you.

Thank you!
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

James,


 


Thank you for your response. I do appreciate your answer according to the Law, irrespective of it favors me or not. I wanted to know what law says. You are doing a great job. I truly appreciate your real answers.


 


I have looked at the sources you mentioned. However, the second source(washington.edu) answers for this question: "Can I travel outside of the U.S. if my original EAD expires and my 17-month extension is still pending?


 


in my case my original EAD does not expire.


 


If you can PLEASE look at the following source :


http://www.dartmouth.edu/~ovis/updates/f1/optfaqs.html


and under the title "Before you receive the OPT STEM extension work card".



It says that there should not be any problem. Few sources claims I cannot travel during my situation and few sources say there won't be any issue.



and so I was looking for a strong and credible answer for 2 questions:


1) if I leave after applying my STEM Extension. will I be able to re-enter U.S as my original OPT is valid



2) if I leave after applying my STEM Extension and come back. will my extension be considered as abandoned?


 

Expert:  Expert James replied 1 year ago.
Captain,

If you read it carefully, it says "If you have applied for a STEM OPT extension, but you have not yet received the new OPT card, you may be able to re-enter the U.S. if your current period of OPT is unexpired when you re-enter, and you have proof of the filing of the STEM OPT application (the receipt notice from the government, and a copy of the application packet)." (Emphasis added).

So it is possible that you will be granted entry based on the current valid OPT, but it also is possible that you can be denied and the OPT extension terminated. It is a risk. My gut and experience say that because you have a valid OPT when you return - which is something I failed to consider originally - you will be permitted to re-enter the US. But I have to be honest about risks, no matter how limited or small.

As for your second question, if it is possible to travel while the STEM extension is pending and you have a valid OPT, then logic tells us that the STEM extension will not be abandoned. That is, of course, if you are permitted re-entry on the current, valid OPT.

Note that extension of status is not the same of extension of OPT. OPT is not a status. F-1 is a status upon which OPT is granted. But OPT by itself is not a status. So you are not doing an extension of OPT status, but of OPT itself. And since F-1 status is valid for the duration of the time that you are fulfilling the status and have a valid I-20, you technically are not doing a "extension of status" in the traditional sense of the word.

I hope this clarifies things a bit more.

I hope I have answered your questions. If you need more help, please use the reply button to continue our conversation. If you do not require further assistance, kindly rate my satisfactory customer service (not the outcome or the state of the law which I cannot control) with a top-three rating, as this is the only way I receive credit for assisting you.

A bonus is appreciated, if you feel I've earned it.

If you have immigration or TSA questions in the future, just click Ask Expert James a Question! and make sure you write "FOR JAMES" in the subject or at the beginning of your question. This is the only way to ensure that I will assist you.

Thank you!
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

James,


 


So, you are saying I might be granted entry as my OPT will be valid and at the same time I might having risk of denying my entry. so I understand that there is no standard and a gun shot answer for my situation. am I right ?


I am worried about this as I cannot make a decision based on uncertainty. but I do appreciate your answer on this.


 


If I want to apply for STEM Extension after coming back on December 08 2013. I will have my OPT Till January 14 2013. but my situation is something like I explained you earlier. My University Office of International Affairs already generated my OPT/STEM Extension I-20 and I was told I should submit my documents to USCIS within 30 days the Extension I-20 is generated.


I tried asking them to cancel the generated I-20, and regenerate it on December 08 2013 so that I can apply to USCIS after that. However, International office is not sure about what happens if they cancel the generated I-20.


Do you know if I can really Cancel the generated I-20 and ask international office of my school to regenerate I-20 on December 2013 ? (after I come back to U.S)

will that be a problem if I apply for STEM Extension in USICS after re-generating my Extension I-20?
Expert:  Expert James replied 1 year ago.
Captain,

QUESITON: So, you are saying I might be granted entry as my OPT will be valid and at the same time I might having risk of denying my entry. so I understand that there is no standard and a gun shot answer for my situation. am I right ?

 

ANSWER: Correct. You are eligible to enter and you are eligible to continue the STEM extension, but it is not a guarantee. Again, however,r keep in mind that the risks are very small. I just have to tell you that it is possible. Doesn't mean it is a probably outcome. Unfortunately, I can't give you a percentage.


QUESTION: I am worried about this as I cannot make a decision based on uncertainty. but I do appreciate your answer on this.

 

ANSWER: I reiterate that the risks are very small. Again, it is possible, but not probable.


QUESTION: Do you know if I can really Cancel the generated I-20 and ask international office of my school to regenerate I-20 on December 2013 ? (after I come back to U.S)

 

ANSWER: Only if you have a previous I-20 that remains valid. You can't enter the US without a valid I-20.

 

QUESITON: will that be a problem if I apply for STEM Extension in USICS after re-generating my Extension I-20?

ANSWER: No problem here, as long as it can be re-issued. But remember that you have to have a valid I-20 when you return to the US.

If I were you, unless there is an emergency situation that required me to travel during this time, and I knew I could avoid complicated issues by not traveling until all of my applications are approved, I would do that.

I highly recommend that you visit with an immigration attorney in your area. They can look over all of your documents and guide you as to what to do next. I am not allowed to tell you what to do. I only am allowed to give you general information about the situation you describe.

I hope I have answered your questions. If you need more help, please use the reply button to continue our conversation. If you do not require further assistance, kindly rate my satisfactory customer service (not the outcome or the state of the law which I cannot control) with a top-three rating, as this is the only way I receive credit for assisting you.

A bonus is appreciated, if you feel I've earned it.

If you have immigration or TSA questions in the future, just click Ask Expert James a Question! and make sure you write "FOR JAMES" in the subject or at the beginning of your question. This is the only way to ensure that I will assist you.

Thank you!
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

James,


 


Thank you for your answers. can I get back to you here, if I have any concerns regarding the same question ??

Expert:  Expert James replied 1 year ago.
Sure. The same way you have been doing so far.
Expert James, Immigration Attorney
Category: Immigration Law
Satisfied Customers: 7648
Experience: Experienced in all aspects of immigration and nationality law.
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