Overview

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.


Eligibility 

To be eligible for STEM OPT, applicants must:

  •  Currently be within 90 days of their OPT end date.
  • 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 the application for the STEM OPT extension. 


Application Process

  1. Read the HU Post-Completion OPT Application Instructions.
  2. Prepare Form I-983 Training Plan with your employer.
  3. Submit your Form I-983 and OPT I-20 request HERE
  4. Within 60 days of receiving your I-20, submit your Application to USCIS
  5. Follow the Reporting Requirements.

Once a student applies, they will be issued a new I-20 by a DSO.  At this time, they will also be given the rest of the application instructions.  Please do not request for the application instructions any earlier- they will be issued once you apply for and receive your new I-20.


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:

  • That you are 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.

What’s Next?

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


Working while STEM OPT is pending


Unlike Post-Completion OPT, students are permitted to continue working if their OPT has expired as long as they have applied for STEM extension on time.  


According to ICE.gov: https://www.ice.gov/sevis/practical-training


You may continue to work on your expired EAD for OPT up to 180 days while your 24-month extension petition is pending if you meet the following conditions:

  • You are currently in a period of post-completion OPT.
  • You properly and in a timely manner filed your application for the 24-month extension with USCIS.