USCIS Confirms Third-Party Worksite Permissible on STEM OPT.


USCIS has clarified that STEM OPT extensions are available to international students who will work at a site other than the employer’s principal place of business.  USCIS updated its website on Friday, August 17, with this clarification. 

Earlier this year in April, USCIS modified the information on its website about STEM OPT extensions, indicating that working off-site (say at a client’s worksite) or for a staffing company was not permissible and contrary to the “training” purpose of the STEM OPT. This revision caused a lot of confusion because nothing in the STEM OPT regulations prohibited such employment arrangements and the legal authority of information on the USCIS website is unclear.  USCIS has removed this language and confirmed that working off-site is permissible on the STEM OPT provided the employer can show that it maintains a bona fide employer-employee relationship with the international student and is able to satisfy its training obligations under the STEM OPT program.  

This update is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice.  Please contact us if you would like to discuss this further.