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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

  • 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.

After you have completely prepared Form I-983, you can complete the F-1 OPT-STEM iPenn Request.