17-month OPT Extension for Science Technology Engineering or Math (STEM)
Former students who received a degree in Science Technololgy Engineering or Math may be eligible for an additional 17-month extension of OPT, which they must apply for before the expiration of the initial period of OPT.
To qualify for a STEM extension a student must meet the following criteria:
- Currently employed during the intitial period of post-completion OPT by an employer who is registerred with the U.S. government's E-Verify program; (E-Verify List of Employers and Federal Contractors) and
- Has received a degree in a designated STEM field and employed in a position that directly relates to that degree; and
- Otherwise maintains all of the terms and conditions of F-1 visa status.
- Once the STEM extension commences, the student's aggregate period of unemployment is increased to 120 days throughout the entire duration of the approved period of OPT.
- The student must continue to report any changes in employment, including periods of unemployment, as well as changes of address directly to the ISO.
- Changes in employer may only be from one E-Verfied employer to another participant in E-Verify.
- The student must instruct his/her employer that the employer must also report periods of unemployment directly to the ISO.
- The student must confirm continued employment every 6 months to the ISO while on the STEM extension.
To confirm that a STEM field of study appears on your Form I-20, please contact the ISO. Visit http://www.dhs.gov/ximgtn/programs/gc_1185221678150.shtm for more information on the E-Verify program.