24-Month STEM OPT Extension

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) published a rule to allow students who have completed a degree in certain Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) majors to apply to USDHS to extend F-1 Optional Practical Training (OPT). You must meet all of the requirements below to be eligible to apply for a 24-month STEM OPT extension:

  • You must have completed a degree in a STEM major field on the DHS list of STEM majors based on Classification of Instructional Program (CIP) code:
  • You must be working on an approved period of post-completion OPT in valid F-1 status with an active SEVIS record
  • You may not have accrued more than 90 days of unemployment during your initial OPT
  • You must be working for a U.S. employer in a job directly related to your STEM major area of study
  • Your current or prospective employer must be registered with the DHS E-Verify employment verification system
  • Your employment must be paid with terms commensurate with your degree level and be for a minimum of 20 hours per week
  • You and your employer must complete a Form I-983 Training Plan for STEM OPT Students. Your employer must agree to the employment-related attestations, possible USCIS site visits and all other requirements in DHS STEM OPT regulations as specified on the Form I-983

How can I initiate my STEM OPT application?

  1. Watch the instructional video below.
  2. Gather required documentation on the STEM OPT Application Package.
  3. Navigate to the ISSOPortal and complete the request called “STEM OPT- Add New”.
  4. Follow the instructions in the request to complete the questionnaire, upload required documents, pay the required $200 STEM OPT Processing Fee with a credit card, confirm your understanding of conditions to maintain status and officially submit the request to ISSO. Take care to complete all required fields and upload all required documents. If any required field or document is missing, incomplete or not completed accurately, you will be asked for clarification which will delay the processing of your request. Please note an appointment in advance with ISSO is no longer required.
  5. Your ISSO Advisor will review this request within 10 business days and either email you to seek clarification or additional documentation or, to notify you of approval.
  6. Once approved, you will be able to download and print the new I-20 with the STEM OPT extension recommendation from the Document Center in the ISSOPortal.
  7. Follow instructions to apply to USCIS for the STEM OPT extension.

How do I apply for STEM OPT? See the following STEM OPT Application Video:

For further information, visit the following US Department of Homeland Security sites: