24-Month STEM OPT Extension Eligibility Requirements
You must meet the following criteria to apply for the 24-Month STEM OPT extension:
- You are currently on active, regular F-1 post-completion OPT.
- You have completed a degree, or have a prior degree at the bachelor’s level or higher, in a field that is currently included on DHS’s STEM Designated Degree Program List.
- The STEM degree is from a school that is accredited by a recognized U.S. Department of Education accrediting agency and is certified by the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) at the time of submitting your STEM OPT extension application. Click here for the full list of recognized accrediting agencies.
- You have not received a STEM OPT extension before for the same degree level. The degree that serves as the basis for a second lifetime STEM OPT extension, however, must be at a higher educational level than the degree that served as the basis for the first STEM OPT extension.
- Your employer must be in good standing with the E-Verify program as determined by USCIS.
- You and your employer agree to submit a Form I-983.
Previous STEM degrees: If you are currently active in the 12-month post-completion OPT based on a non-STEM degree, you may be eligible to use a prior STEM degree from a U.S. institution of higher education to apply for a STEM OPT extension IF:
- Both degrees are from currently accredited and SEVP-certified institutions;
- You have not already received a STEM OPT extension based on this prior degree;
- The employment is directly related to the previous STEM degree.
- Third-party or staffing agencies do not qualify as eligible employers for the 24-month STEM OPT extension. Click here for more information about Staffing agencies and Consulting Firms.
- Students on approved 17-month STEM OPT are not required to apply for the seven-month extension. They can choose to complete the rest of their approved STEM OPT under the STEM OPT rules in effect prior to May 10, 2016.