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OPT STEM Extension

A 24-month extension of post-completion Optional Practical Training in a student’s field of study may be available for students who meet eligibility criteria listed below:

 Please Note: All of the above criteria must be met in order for a student to be eligible for the 24-month OPT extension.

How to Apply

While you are on the 24-month OPT STEM Extension

During the 24-month OPT STEM Extension, you are still in F-1 student status. Following the 24-month OPT STEM Extension, you are eligible for a 60-day grace period from the end-date of your OPT STEM Extension EAD card. You must obtain a travel signature from International Student Affairs and have a valid F-1 entry visa in your passport should you desire to travel outside the US and re-enter to resume work. In order to maintain your F-1 status, you have routine reporting requirements, similar to those during the initial 12-months of OPT. Please see below for additional information. 

Reporting Requirements

Students must report OPT STEM participation to International Student Affairs within 10 days if there is any change in the following information:

Students must report OPT participation to International Student Affairs every six months even if none of the above information has changed. As a courtesy, International Student Affairs will send reminders to the email address on file to request this information; however, you are responsible for reporting this information whether or not you have received a reminder. Failure to provide this information as directed will result in the termination of your F-1 status.

Limitations on Unemployment

Students approved for the 24-month OPT STEM Extension may not accrue more than 120 days of unemployment during the total 12-month initial + 24-month OPT STEM extension period of OPT. Employment must be paid and must be related to the field of study in order to qualify. Self-employment and volunteer positions will not qualify as valid employment during the OPT STEM extension.

24-Month OPT STEM Extension Available Once

The 24-month OPT STEM Extension is only available to each student twice per lifetime. A student who is approved for a 24-month OPT extension may apply for it only once again. Please note that this rule is different from the application rules for the “standard” 12-month OPT, under which students could be approved for multiple OPT periods for each higher degree earned in the U.S. (i.e. bachelor’s, then master’s, then doctoral).