F-1 students approved for standard, post-completion Optional Practical Training who have earned a bachelor's, master's, or doctoral degree in a STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) field that appears on the DHS STEM-Designated Degree Program List can apply to USCIS for an extension of post-completion OPT.
As of May 10, 2016 the new, 24-month STEM OPT rule replaced the previous, 17-month rule. Eligible students may now apply for a 24-month STEM OPT extension.
I am currently on a 17-month STEM OPT extension
You may file for an additional 7 months of STEM OPT work authorization if you have 150 days remaining on your current 17-month STEM OPT extension.
You must have 150 days remaining at the time your application is filed
You must file before August 8, 2016
You must include a completed form I-983 (Training Plan) to be considered for the additional 7 months. Click here for instructions on how to fill out the form I-983.
Other application materials include the form I-765, a copy of your new I-20 issued by ISSS, copies of your passport and visa, photographs, proof of STEM degree (copy of diploma or transcript) and a check or money order for the processing fee
If your application was adjudicated before May 10, you may file for an additional 7 months of authorization between May 10 and August 8, 2016.
My application for STEM OPT is pending
If your application was pending on May 10, you will be sent a Request for Evidence (RFE) from USCIS. You will need to submit the following documents:
Copy of your new I-20 (issued by ISSS) indicating the 24-month extension
Check or money order for $380 made payable to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security
To apply for the STEM OPT Extension, you must be employed by an E-Verify employer, be currently on OPT that is based on an approved STEM degree (or have received a qualifying STEM degree at the bachelor's level or higher within the last 10 years from a U.S. institution), and your position while on the STEM OPT must be paid.
STEM OPT Reporting Requirements
Students with a STEM OPT extension must validate their employment with ISSS every 6 months. To do so, please fill out the reporting form.
An annual evaluation is due at the end of each year of the STEM OPT extension. Students must complete and submit the Evaluation of Student Program portion of the I-983 to the ISSS office. The form I-983 can be downloaded here. Please note that for the annual evaluation, students need only to submit page 6 of the form.