F-1 students who earn a bachelor's or master's in certain science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields are eligible for an extension of post-completion OPT—called STEM Extension OPT.
New STEM regulations took effect on May 10, 2016. Key changes include:
Because it takes approximately 60-90 days for the US Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to approve your application, you are strongly encouraged to apply early.
NOTE: You can apply up to 90 days before your OPT end date, but no later than the end date of your OPT.
STEP #1: Make an appointment or email an international student advisor in the Office of Global Education to discuss the application process.
STEP #2: Gather all documents for the STEM Extension OPT application package and complete form I-983 with employer.
STEP #3: Make an appointment with an international student advisor to complete the application process in person. Make sure to bring all documents listed, including the signed I-983 form. The appointment will last approximately 30 minutes.
STEP #4: Global Education will mail the STEM Extension OPT application package to USCIS. The application package must be received by USCIS before the current I-766 Employment Authorization Document (EAD) card expires.
STEP #5: Continue employment. If the STEM Extension OPT is timely filed, employment authorization is automatically extended for up to 180 days while the application is pending with USCIS. 8 CFR 214.2(f)(11)(i)(C) and 8 CFR 247a.12(c)(6)(iv)