F-1 STEM OPT EXTENSION
This information is for qualified students in a valid period of post-completion OPT who wish to request an additional 24 months of OPT authorization. Students with STEM Designated Degrees should review the eligibility requirements, application process, regulatory considerations, and reporting responsibilities.
To be eligible for STEM all applicants must:
- Have successfully completed a bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degree in a field on the DHS STEM Designated Degree Programs list.
- Currently be participating in post-completion OPT, working for a US employer in a job directly related to your STEM major area of study.
- Have a job offer from an employer registered with the E-Verify employment verification system at the time of application for the STEM OPT extension.
- STEM eligibility based on previously earned degrees – If you earned a STEM degree in the United States in the past 10 years, you may be eligible for a STEM OPT even if your most recent degree is not on the STEM list.
- Apply for the extension up to 90 days before the end of the approved post-completion OPT.
*Only two STEM extensions per lifetime
- Read the HU Post-Completion OPT Application Instructions.
- Prepare Form I-983 Training Plan with your employer.
- Submit your Form I-983 and OPT I-20 request HERE
- Select the “Request” button
- Read all instructions, attach the completed I-983 Form, and complete the learning content and questionnaire(s)
- Within 30 days of receiving your I-20, submit your Application to USCIS
- Follow the Reporting Requirements.
If you are applying for a STEM extension based on a previously earned degree
You may apply for a STEM OPT Extension based on a previously-earned degree if you can show:
- Currently participating in post-completion OPT, working for a US employer in a job directly related to your STEM major area of study.
- The degree was granted by an accredited US educational institution
- Your major is currently on the list of STEM Majors
- The degree was obtained within the past 10 years
- You have not previously used the degree as the basis of a STEM Extension
- You may apply up to 90 days before the end of your regular Post-Completion OPT. Please complete Form I-983 Training Plan before requesting a new I-20 in the Student Support Network and applying for an EAD card from USCIS using form I-765.
Once you have read through the overview you should prepare Form I-983 Training Plan with your employer. All fields are required to apply, except for the evaluation pages which will be completed after 12- and 24-months. For additional information on how to complete Form I-983, please see the DHS Study in the States STEM OPT Hub.
After you have completely prepared Form I-983, you can complete the request for STEM OPT HERE
STEM degree holders on the 24-month OPT extension are required to report to ISO within 10 days of any change of:
- Legal name
- Residential or mailing address
- Employer name
- Employer address
- Change or loss of employment
Changes that require submitting a new I-983 training plan:
- material changes to existing I-983, such as reduction in hours or compensation, change in duties, supervisor, or employer EIN
- change of employer or loss of employment requires submission of the “Final Evaluation on Student Progress” section of the I-983
- subsequent employment will require submission of a new I-983 training plan.
Validation Reports and 12-Month Evaluations
In addition to reporting any changes to your employment and contact information, you are also required to complete scheduled validation reports and evaluations.
- Validation reports are used to confirm that the name, address, employer, and employment status listed in your SEVIS record are correct. These reports are due to ISO every 6 months from the approved STEM extension start date.
- Evaluations of student progress are included in Form I-983 and must be completed by the student and employer and submitted to ISSS every 12 months. The “Evaluation on Student Progress” should be submitted within 12 months of the listed STEM OPT start date. The “Final Evaluation on Student Progress” should be submitted at the termination of employment and/or 24 months after the STEM OPT start date.
Please report all changes reports HERE