Skip to Content

Federal Court Upholds F-1 Student OPT and Stem OPT Work Authorization Rules

2 Dec

On Monday, November 30, 2020, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia issued an order that upholds U.S. Department of Homeland Security rules providing F-1 Optional Practical Training (OPT) work authorization eligibility for F-1 students and 24-month STEM OPT extensions of work authorization for F-1 students who graduated from qualifying STEM degree programs. 

The court order was issued in advance of the opinion explaining the reasons for the decision.  The opinion is expected within the next 60 days.  The plaintiffs who sought to set aside the OPT and STEM OPT rules may appeal the court’s decision, but unless a higher court overturns the District Court decision, the OPT and STEM OPT opportunities remain available for qualifying F-1 students.   

The availability of opportunities for students to gain valuable practical training in their degree field is important for both U.S. universities and employers who seek to fill critical roles with qualifying graduates, particularly foreign national graduates of qualifying STEM degree programs.  These opportunities help the United States compete for the best and brightest students and workforce talent. 

For more information on how the court’s decision impacts a particular case, contact your Foster immigration attorney.  Foster will continue to monitor regulatory and litigation updates and will make additional information available via the Foster website at