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STEM Optional Practical Training (OPT)

The STEM Extension is a 24-month extension of post-completion Optional Practical Training (OPT) for certain STEM graduates. STEM extension allows students who have received their bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degrees in certain STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) fields eligible for a 24-month extension of post-completion OPT. To be eligible for the extension, the student’s employer must be registered in E-Verify and agree to report to the DSO (Designated School Official) when the student has been terminated or leaves their employment. The student must agree to make reports (every 6 months) to the DSO.
The extension will be for an additional 24 months, if ALL of the following requirements are met:
  • The degree that was the basis for the student’s current period of OPT is a bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degree in one of the degree programs on the current STEM Designated Degree Program List, published on the SEVP website.
  • The student’s employer is registered in the E-Verify program, as evidenced by either a valid E-verify company identification number, or if the employer is using a designated agent to perform the E-Verify queries, a valid E-Verify client company identification number, and the employer is a participant in good standing in the E-Verify program, as determined by USCIS
  • Employment must be paid in order to qualify for the STEM extension
  • We estimate that USCIS will take approximately 2-4 months to process your application. Unfortunately, there is no way to expedite this process. We will contact you as soon as we hear from USCIS
  • Once you submit the completed STEM application to our office, we will issue you a new form I-20 recommending the 24-month extension. We will call/e-mail you to come in and sign the new I-20 and will advise you on how to send your application
  • USCIS will communicate with us about the processing of your application. If they request additional information, we will contact you. If your application is approved, then the EAD (Employment Authorization Document) will be sent to our office and we will contact you to pick it up