I have been working on optional practical training (OPT) for about one year after completing my degree. I timely applied for a 17-month extension of my OPT, based on my degree in a STEM field. …

… My initial OPT authorization has ended and my STEM OPT application is still pending. I would like to take a trip abroad in the near future. I still have a valid F-1 visa in my passport. Am I allowed to travel?


Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) has indicated that a student whose OPT application is pending should undertake travel with caution. You are not likely to be able to reenter the U.S. until the USCIS issues a new EAD based on an approved STEM extension approval. If you leave the U.S., you should make sure that someone will be checking your mail at your address and notify you if there is a request for evidence (RFE) issued by USCIS. This designated individual should also send you an EAD card to your address abroad so that you are able to reenter the U.S., because USCIS will not deliver your EAD to an address outside of the U.S. It also is advisable for you to obtain a letter from your STEM OPT employer verifying your terms of employment, including your position title, job duties, and salary information. (08.May.2015)

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