STEM stands for "science, technology, engineering, mathematics." The STEM OPT extension is a 24-month extension for F-1 students who have completed an eligible STEM degree and meet the other eligibility requirements.
If you are interested in the STEM OPT extension, review the list of STEM-eligible programs at The New School. For more information
on the STEM OPT extension, see the Employment Section.
STEM OPT Extension Eligibility
During your post-completion OPT, all of the following eligibility requirements must be met:
- Your program must be a degree program (bachelor's, master's, doctoral). Associate's and certificate programs are not eligible.
- The major CIP code on your I-20 must be on the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) STEM Designated Degree List.
- You must currently be on an approved post-completion OPT.
- You must be employed while on OPT (you cannot exceed 90 days of unemployment).
- Your employer must be enrolled in E-Verify (a system used by employers to determine employment eligibility and to verify the validity of a SSN).
- You must have a paid employment offer for at least 20 or more hours per week from the E-Verify employer. You cannot be self-employed.
- You and your employer must complete Form I-983, Training Plan, which must be presented to ISSS at the time of application.
- You must not have previously used STEM OPT more than once. Please note that you cannot have more than one STEM OPT extension based on the same degree.
- USCIS must receive the application before your post-completion OPT expires (the end date on your EAD card) and no later than 60 days from the date the DSO recommended the STEM OPT in SEVIS.
- You must not apply more than 90 days before your post-completion OPT expires.
All of the eligibility requirements listed above must be met in order for you to be eligible for the STEM OPT Extension.
If you previously earned a STEM degree from an accredited U.S. institution, you may also be eligible for the STEM OPT extension. If you have questions, please email [email protected].
Applying for the Extension
You must be on approved post-completion OPT in order to apply for the STEM OPT extension. Once you are on post-completion OPT, you must:
- Attend a STEM OPT webinar during your post-completion OPT
- Meet the eligibility requirements for the STEM OPT extension
- Prepare the required documents and submit them to ISSS to have your application reviewed toward the end of your 12 months of post-completion OPT. ISSS will issue the STEM OPT Extension I-20.
- Pick up your application and new I-20 from ISSS and submit the I-20 to USCIS within 60 days of the date the I-20 was issued and before your post-completion OPT expires.