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OIS NEWS – 7/11/2019

Court Allows WashTech Challenge to Proceed for All OPT

On July 1, 2019, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia issued an order that permits the Washington Alliance of Technology Workers (WashTech) to move forward with litigation that not only challenges the 24-month STEM OPT rule but also the 12-month OPT rule. This means that a ruling on the legality of the entire F-1 Optional Practical Training (OPT) program will eventually be made in this case, and in the higher courts. The Government must file an answer to the plaintiffs’ complaint on or before July 15, 2019 after which a final decision will be made. 

In 2016, the Optional Practical Training program was expanded by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to allow eligible F-1 students in specific STEM fields to apply for a 24-month extension of their work authorization. This “STEM Extension,” as it is commonly referred to, is in addition to the standard 12-month OPT work authorization established in 1992. Washington Alliance of Technology Workers v. U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Civil Action No. 16-1170 challenges DHS’s underlying statutory authority to establish the 24-month STEM OPT rule. The case will now include a challenge to the entire OPT program.

OIS will continue to monitor this case and provide updates to the UIC community accordingly. As always, if there are any questions or concerns about this announcement, please feel free to contact us at or (312) 996-3121.