I have been working on OPT and recently applied for a 24-month extension based on my STEM degree, which is now pending. …

… My first employment authorization document (EAD) has already expired. Yesterday, I received very sad news from home about my grandmother’s passing, which requires that I urgently leave the U.S. to attend the funeral. Would I be able to come back after a short trip abroad, even if my STEM OPT application is still pending?


Once a student on OPT timely files a STEM extension application, it automatically extends the F-1 status with employment authorization for 180 days from the expiration of the first-year EAD. If you travel during this 180-day period, you should be able to come back to the U.S. with an expired EAD and an I-20 endorsed for travel by your DSO in the last 6 months. It is also recommended that you get an employment verification letter from your OPT employer. (03.Mar.2017)

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