OPT -- STEM Extension
F-1 students who completed a bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degree in a STEM field (STEM = Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) and are currently engaged in post-completion OPT may apply for the STEM extension if they have a job or job offer from an E-Verify employer.
A nonimmigrant is eligible for a STEM Extension if the student:
- Has a degree in science, technology, engineering or mathematics.
- Has an employer that is registered and in good standing with the E-verify employment verification system.
- Degrees included in the current list of eligible STEM degrees are:
- Actuarial Science (MSFE)
- Computer Science
- Engineering Technologies
- Biological and Biomedical Sciences
- Mathematics and Statistics
- Military Technologies
- Physical Sciences
- Science Technologies
- Medical Scientist
- Has a bachelor’s, master’s, or doctorate degree.
- Currently in an approved post-completion OPT period based on a designated STEM degree.
- Applies on time (i.e., before the current post-completion OPT expires).
Procedures to Apply:
Schedule an appointment with an International Student and Scholar Services Advisor and bring the following:
- Copy of diploma and/or transcripts to certify degree
- Provide current employment information – including address of employer, job title and name of supervisor
- Provide current email contact info for self
- Completed I-765, 2 passport size photos (must be taken in the past 30 days)
- Check or money order for $380.00 made out to U.S. Department of Homeland Security
- Current EAD Card
- Passport, Visa, I-94
- Submit to USCIS Service Center (must be submitted within 30 days of new I-20 being issued)
Maintaining Status on STEM Extension:
- While the request for an extension is pending, the new rule automatically extends EADs for 180 days.
- Denials of the STEM extension cannot be appealed.
- Must report information to DSO every 6 months
- Employment authorization period for the 17-month extension begins on the day after the expiration of the initial post-completion OPT employment authorization, and ends 17 months later, regardless of the date of the actual extension is approved.
- Students granted a 17-month OPT extension may not accrue an aggregate of more than 120 days of unemployment during the total 29-month OPT period.
- For more information please visit the USCIS website at http://www.uscis.gov/portal/site/uscis