New USCIS Development:
Beginning May 10, 2016, new STEM OPT rules will be in effect. Under these rules, the following changes will take place:
- STEM OPT extension period - Increased from 17-months to 24-months.
- STEM eligibility based on previously earned degrees - If you earned a STEM degree 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.
- Up to 2 lifetime STEM extensions.
- Up to 150 days of unemployment, in the aggregate.
- New employer responsibilities - Employers will be required to submit training details, compensation information, and displacement attestations as part of your STEM application. Evaluations will be required at 12- and 24-months, and an additional plan will be required within 10 days for each new job you accept.
- Site Visits- DHS may conduct employment site visits. If you are thinking about applying for a STEM extension, please begin to discuss the training plan requirement with your employer right away.
- Review the F-1 OPT Overview.
- Prepare Form I-983 Training Plan with your employer.
- Submit your OPT I-20 request form in iPenn.
- Within 60 days of receiving your I-20, submit your Application to USCIS.
- Follow the Reporting Requirements.
If you timely file a non-frivolous application for a STEM OPT extension, you will be able to continue employment while the extension application is pending, until a final decision on the I-765 or for 180 days, whichever comes first.
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 Sttes STEM OPT Hub.
After you have completely prepared Form I-983, you can complete the F-1 OPT-STEM iPenn Request.