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International Student & Scholar Services

OPT STEM Extension

The STEM extension for OPT is available to students who have completed a major in one of the STEM fields. Visit our Social Security Numbers page for more information.

STEM Extension of OPT

  1. STEM OPT Application Checklist
  2. Form I-765
  3. Form I-983

Students interested in applying for the STEM extension must apply with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).  If approved, they will receive a new Employment Authorization Document (EAD) authorizing the extension.

STEM 6-Month Validation Form
STEM 12-Month Evaluation Form

Employer/Living Address Update:
You must update OISSS and USCIS on your physical home address and employment information within 10 days of change:
  • To update OISSS, complete this OPT Information & Updates form
  • To update USCIS, please complete the form on the SEVP Portal. You will receive an email with instructions on how to create an SEVP Portal account once your STEM OPT has been approved by USCIS. You can only make changes to your physical home address and edits to your employer's information that has already been inputted. You cannot add or delete your employer's information. If you do change employers, please be sure to update OISSS directly using the link above.
The Department of Homeland Security authorizes STEM OPT extensions to F-1 students once per degree level (i.e., bachelor's, master's or doctorate).  An eligible student may only request the STEM OPT extension twice during their academic career.

Students are only eligible for a second STEM OPT extension after earning a second qualifying degree, at a higher education level.  The STEM OPT extension may only be requested while participating in an initial period of OPT.

Qualified Degrees
An F-1 student must currently be authorized and employed in post-completion OPT.  The student must have earned a bachelor's or higher degree in an eligible STEM field from a school that is Student and Exchange Visitor Program-certified and accredited (from an accrediting agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education) at the time the student applies for the STEM OPT extension.
Details on STEM OPT Extension
To qualify for a 24-month STEM OPT extension, an F-1 student must:
  • Be authorized for an initial period of regular post-completion OPT
  • Have earned a degree in an eligible STEM field from a school certified by SEVP and accredited at the time student submits their STEM OPT extension application.
  • Request STEM OPT extension for employment with an employer that is enrolled in USCIS's E-Verify employment eligibility verification program and will provide the student with a formal training and learning objectives.
  • Work a minimum of 20 hours per week per employer.

For more information about STEM OPT extension eligibility requirements, please visit Study in the States STEM OPT website.  For more information about applying for STEM OPT, please visit the USCIS website.

Reporting Requirements for Students and Employers
Failure to comply with the reporting requirements will result in automatic termination of the student's SEVIS record.
  1. The student and employer must complete and submit the Form I-983 to the DSO.
  2. Employers must report to the school’s Designated School Official (DSO, as indicated on the Form I-983) when a STEM OPT extension-approved F-1 student terminates or leaves their employment before the end of the authorized period of OPT. The employer must report this change to the DSO no later than 5 business days after the student leaves employment.
  3. The student must also report to the school’s Designated School Official (DSO, as indicated on the Form I-983) when the student terminates or leaves employment before the end of the authorized period of OPT. The student must report this change to the DSO no later than 10 business days after leaving employment.
  4. STEM OPT-approved students must report to their DSOs every 6 months. They must confirm the validity of the following information as reported in the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System:
    • Legal name.
    • Address.
    • Employer name and address.
    • Status of current employment/practical training experience.
  1. STEM OPT-approved students must submit an annual self-evaluation to their DSO regarding the progress of the training experience.  The self-evaluation must be signed by the student and employer.
  2. The DSO must keep the student’s self-evaluation in the student’s record.
  3. The student and employer must report to the DSO any material changes in or deviations from the student's training plan.

Students interested in applying for the STEM OPT extension must work with an advisor in the Office of International Student and Scholar Services.