Overview

This information is for certain science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) degree holders who are about to finish their regular 12 months of OPT and wish to request additional 17 months of OPT, for a total of 29 months. If you are not a STEM degree holder but are interested in Optional Practical Training please see the F-1 OPT section of the site.

New USCIS Development:

The OPT application must also be received by the USCIS within 30 days of the date on which ISSS issues an OPT I-20.  If filed with USCIS after 30 days of the OPT I-20 issuance date, your application will be denied.

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  1. Review the F-1 OPT Overview.
  2. Submit your OPT I-20 request form in iPenn.
  3. Within 30 days of receiving your I-20, submit your Application to USCIS
  4. Follow the Reporting Requirements

Eligibility

  • You must have successfully completed a bachelor's, master’s, or doctoral degree in a field on the DHS (Department of Homeland Security) STEM Designated Degree Programs list, as specified on your current I-20. The most recent additions are in bold.
  • You must be currently participating in a 12-month period of OPT, working for a US employer in a job directly related to your STEM major area of study
  • You must have a job offer from an employer registered with the E-Verify employment verification system at the time of application for the 17-month OPT extension.
    • It is your responsibility to ensure your employer is registered with E-Verify.
  • You must have not previously received a 17-month OPT extension after earning a STEM degree.
  • The Designated School Official (DSO) at ISSS must recommend the 17-month OPT extension in SEVIS, after:
    • verifying your eligibility
    • certifying that your degree is on the STEM Designated Degree Program List
    • and ensuring that you are aware of your responsibilities for maintaining status while on OPT
  • If you timely file a non-frivolous application for the 17-month 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.

​SEVP Policy Guidance

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What's Next?

Once you have read through the overview you can complete the F-1 OPT-STEM iPenn Request.