F-1 STEM OPT Extension

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. 

F-1 STEM OPT Extension Process
Form I-983

Prepare Form I-983 Training Plan with your employer.

OPT I-20 Request from ISSS
Submit application to USCIS

Within 60 days of receiving your I-20, submit your Application to USCIS.

Reporting Requirements

Follow the Reporting 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

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.

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.  

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.

STEM OPT Form I-983 Tutorial for Penn Students
This video will provide tips on how to complete Form I-983 for the OPT STEM Extension