Successful I-290B Motion Overturns STEM OPT Denial Based on CIP Code Designation
May 28, 2024

Table of ContenTS

The Law Offices of Sabrina Li have successfully assisted another client, and we are delighted to share their case with you.

STEM OPT Application Denied Despite Fulfilling Evidence Requirements

Our client, an international student, timely filed her I-765 to request a STEM OPT extension. Initially, she received a Request for Evidence (RFE), to which she diligently gathered all requested documents and submitted them to her online portal, anxiously awaiting the decision. Unfortunately, her case was denied less than two weeks after submitting the RFE response. USCIS alleged that her degree, a Master of Science in Marketing, was not listed on the STEM Designated Degree Program list. The denial was a significant setback for the client, threatening not only her continuous work authorization but also her long-term career and immigration aspirations.

Challenging the I-765 Denial with the Law Offices of Sabrina Li

For individuals like this client, who face an unfavorable decision that cannot be directly appealed, there are processes in place to challenge the decision. These include submitting a motion to reopen or a motion to reconsider. The client immediately reached out for our assistance after receiving the denial. Upon a thorough review of her case, we believed USCIS’s decision was problematic and were determined to fight for her rights.

Gathering Evidence and Crafting the Winning Argument for Client’s I-290B

Our legal team promptly devised and executed a targeted I-290B Motion to Reopen. Working on a tight schedule, we guided the client in securing critical evidence, including persuasive letters of support and comprehensive school records. Our attorneys' expertise was pivotal in drafting an in-depth brief that convincingly argued her petitioner's degree met the criteria for a STEM program and aligned with what DHS considers a STEM program.

Our strategic approach and the robustness of our argument led to the successful reversal of the initial denial after six months of anxious waiting. As a result, the client finally received the long-awaited EAD card following USCIS approval of her I-765 application for the STEM OPT extension.

Recent STEM OPT Denial Trend Based on CIP Code

Law offices of Sabrina Li have recently assisted many clients with STEM OPT denials based on similar reasons. This trend highlights USCIS's growing skepticism toward degrees traditionally classified as non-STEM, which have been reaccredited with a STEM CIP Code following significant curriculum restructuring to integrate STEM elements.

Utilizing I-290B to Challenge STEM OPT Denials

Form I-290B, Notice of Appeal or Motion, is primarily used to file:

  1. An appeal with the Administrative Appeals Office (AAO); or
  2. A motion with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) office that issued the latest decision in your case (including a field office, service center, or the AAO).

It is important to note that there is no direct appeal for STEM OPT denials issued by USCIS. You should also be aware that this form must be filed within 30 days of receiving the decision notice from USCIS (or 33 days if the decision was mailed).

Seeking Legal Professional Help

If you or someone you know is encountering a similar situation and needs the guidance of seasoned professionals, there's no better choice than turning to the Law Offices of Sabrina Li. Reach out to us today at (213) 375-8096 or send an email to We have successfully reversed many OPT and STEM OPT denials, and we are dedicated to offering the support and expertise you require. Don't hesitate to get in touch; we're here for you.

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