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17 month extension of OPT for F-1 students with a STEM degree

  1. Who is eligible for STEM extension?

    F-1 students who completed a bachelor's, master's, or doctoral degree in a STEM field and are currently engaged in post-completion OPT may apply for the STEM extension if they have a job or job offer from an employer participating in the E-Verify program.

  2. Is the extension available to students who completed their post-completion OPT prior to April 8, 2008?


  3. When should I file for the extension?

    USCIS recommends that students file within 90 and 120 days of the expiration date of the current OPT.

  4. How and where should I file for the extemsion?

    You should apply for the extension through the International Services Office.  To apply for STEM OPT extension click here.

  5. What is the fee for the application for the STEM extension?

    The fee is $340.

  6. What should I know about the employer in order to complete the form I-765 when applying for STEM extension?

    In order to complete the form I-765 while applying for STEM extension, you must have the employer's name as listed in E-Verify and the employer's E-Verify company identification number or a valid E-Verify client company identification number. This information must be listed in question 17 of the Form I-765.

  7. What is the E-Verify program?

    E-Verify is an Internet based system operated by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Social Security Administration (SSA) that allows participating employers to electronically verify the employment eligibility of their newly hired employees. 

    E-Verify is the best means available for determining employment eligibility of new hires and the validity of their Social Security Numbers.  For further information visit

  8. When does the period of STEM extension OPT start?

    If the application for STEM extension has been properly filed, then the period of STEM extension OPT starts the day after the expiration of the student's original period of optional practical training.

  9. Can the I work with an expired employment authorization document while a STEM extension is pending?

    Yes.  Your work authorization is automatically extended for up to 180 days while the your STEM extension application is pending.

  10. What are my responsibilities as a student while on STEM extension OPT?

    Students pursing a period of STEM extension OPT must:

    a. Work in a paid position for an E-Verify employer at least 20 hours per week
    b. Work in a position related to the STEM degree
    c. Report to their DSO within 10 days of legal name changes, change in residential or mailing address, d. changes in employer, giving the employer name and employer address and loss of employment.
    d. Send a validation report to every six months starting from the date the STEM extension starts and ending when the student's F-1 status ends or the STEM extension ends, whichever is first. For complete reporting requirements click here.

    Note: Students pursuing a period of STEM extension OPT must not:

    i) Work in a paid position for any employer that is not an E-Verify employer
    ii) Have more than 120 days of unemployment time during the entire period of post-completion OPT (regular post-completion OPT and STEM extension OPT).