STEM OPT Extension

A 24-month extension of post-completion Optional Practical Training (OPT) is available for F-1 students with a degree in a STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) field.


  • Must be currently on approved post-completion OPT.
  • Must have received 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.
  • Must be employed by an E-Verify employer.
  • The employer that signs the Form I-983 must be the same entity that provides the practical training experience. Your employer cannot be a staffing/temporary agency or consulting firm unless they will be the entity that provides your practical training experience.
  • Must be a paid position.


USCIS must receive the STEM OPT extension application before the expiration of the student's current post-completion OPT, but no sooner than 90 days before that date.

To apply for the 24-month STEM OPT extension, please email ISSS at to discuss your eligibility and timeline for applying.

You will need the following materials in order to apply:

  • Form I-983 (PDF)
  • Form I-765 (PDF)
  • Proof of STEM Degree (transcript or diploma)
  • Copy of I-20 with STEM OPT recommendation from ISSS
  • Copy of your valid passport
  • Copy of your F-1 visa
  • Copy of most recent I-94
  • Copy of all I-20s
  • Copy of previous Employment Authorization Document (EAD) card(s)
  • Two passport-size photographs
  • Check or money order for $410 made payable to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security

Frequently Asked Questions

Students with a STEM OPT extension must validate their employment with ISSS every 6 months. To do so, please fill out the "STEM OPT Reporting" e-form on iEagle

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 (PDF) to ISSS. Please note that for the annual evaluation, students need only to submit page 6 of the form.

Students with a STEM OPT extension cannot report their employment on the SEVP Portal. However, the SEVP Portal will send a reminder email to STEM extension students 30 days before their 6 month validation reports and annual self-evaluations are due to ISSS.

STEM OPT students can find their reporting and self-evaluation deadlines on the Profile page of the SEVP Portal.

Yes, your job on STEM OPT must be paid.

Yes, if you have not already received a STEM OPT extension based on that degree. 

The STEM degree must be from a U.S. institution, received within the last 10 years, and be at the bachelor's level or higher. 

Yes, if you have timely filed the STEM extension application you can continue working while the application is pending. You are automatically authorized for up to 180 days beyond the expiration of your post-completion OPT authorization.