STEM OPT Extension Eligibility
The F-1 student must:
Be on a period of standard Post-Completion OPT.
Have a job offer from an employer enrolled in E-Verify
Demonstrate the job is directly related to a STEM field
- Prepare and sign the Training Plan (Form I-983)
- Apply before your current Post-Completion period of OPT expires.
The employer must:
Eligibility for a Second Period of STEM OPT After Higher degree
If you enroll in a new academic program in the U.S. in the future and earn another qualifying STEM degree at a higher educational level, you may be eligible for a second period of 24-month STEM OPT (i.e. two 24 month STEM OPT extensions may be permitted).
Example: If you receive a 24-month STEM OPT extension based on your bachelor’s degree in computer science, and you later earn a master’s degree in computer science or another STEM eligible field, you may apply for Post-Completion OPT and then the additional 24-month STEM OPT extension based on your master’s degree.
Eligibility Based on a Previously Obtained STEM Degree
If you are currently in a degree field (or on Post-Completion OPT from that degree) that is not identified as STEM eligible, but have previously earned a STEM eligible degree from an accredited U.S. higher education institution, you may be eligible to apply for a STEM OPT extension under certain conditions:
- You must have received both degrees from currently accredited and SEVP-certified institutions
- Your previous degree cannot have been conferred more than 10 years ago at the time of application
- Your previous degree is assigned a STEM eligible code found on the STEM Designated Degree Program List at the time of application
- You haven't already received a STEM OPT extension based on this previous degree
- Your practical training opportunity is directly related to the previously obtained STEM degree
- Your employer meets the criteria listed above
Example: If you are currently participating in Post-Completion OPT based on a master’s degree in business and management, but you previously received a bachelor’s degree in mathematics, you may be able to apply for a STEM OPT extension based on your bachelor’s degree in mathematics as long as meets the other criteria above.