Skip to content

STEM OPT Extension

The following information is adapted from the Study in the States STEM OPT Hub where you can also find additional information and resources.
What is a STEM Extension? 
F-1 students granted the STEM OPT extension by USCIS receive an additional 24 months of employment authorization for on-the-job training in their STEM field. The STEM OPT extension is only available to certain F-1 students who receive a qualifying degree in a STEM field at the bachelor’s level or higher from an accredited, SEVP-certified school. Students must be in their initial period of regular post-completion OPT to apply for the extension. The STEM OPT extension also involves additional forms and reporting requirements.

STEM Extension Eligibility Requirements
  1. You must be a recipient of a U.S.  Bachelor’s, Master’s or Doctoral degree in a STEM (science, technology, engineering, or math) designated degree program. In order to verify that your degree is considered OPT STEM extension eligible, look at the code listed under "Major 1" or "Major 2" on page 1 of your I-20 form, and then look for that code in the U.S. Department of Homeland Security STEM Designated Degree Programs list. You can also check in with your DSO to confirm whether your major is STEM eligible. 
    • You can apply based on any previous STEM degree from an SEVP, accredited U.S. institution received within the last 10 years. If this is your case, please confirm with your DSO via email to ensure you are eligible to proceed.
  2. You are currently authorized for 12-month OPT and have not exceeded 90 days of unemployment.
  3. You are currently employed or have a job offer directly related to your field of study and the employer is registered in the USCIS EVerify system. The employer must also guarantee that you will complete a minimum of 20 hours of work per week and provide you with formal training and learning objectives. *You may not have multiple employers at the same time or be self-employed. 
  4. Your employer is willing to work with you to fully complete the Form I-983 and abide by all obligations.
  5. You are applying no earlier than 90 days before your 12-month OPT expires and no later than the expiration date of your 12-month OPT.
If you are eligible for the STEM OPT extension, use the button below to start the process. Doing so will begin your STEM OPT application training which will prepare you for, and guide you through, the application steps. Please note you will need to meet with your DSO and receive a new I-20 before you can submit your STEM OPT online application to the USCIS website. Before that meeting, you will need to complete this online training. 
Ready to start your STEM OPT application?