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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. 


  • General Requirements
  • 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

Application Process

  1. Review the F-1 OPT Overview.
  2. Prepare Form I-983 Training Plan with your employer.
  3. Submit your OPT I-20 request form in iPenn.
  4. Within 60 days of receiving your I-20, submit your Application to USCIS.
  5. 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.

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  • 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:

    • 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 OPT.  Please omplete  Form I-983 Training Plan before requesting a new I-20 in iPenn 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.