F-1 students who are currently authorized for OPT employment based on completion of a Bachelor’s, Master’s or Ph.D. degree in a Science, Technology, Engineering or Math (STEM) field, as defined by DHS, may be eligible for a 24-month extension of OPT.
In order to be eligible for this extension, students applying for this benefit must:
There is a lifetime limit of two periods of 24-month STEM OPT; each occurring after a higher degree level has been obtained. A STEM degree obtained at a U.S. university prior to your current degree may be the basis for a STEM extension under certain circumstances.
See detailed information on the STEM Hub.
When to apply: Submit the STEM OPT application to USCIS within 90 days of your initial OPT expiration date. The new STEM extension EAD card begins the day after the expiration of the previous OPT EAD and ends 24 months later; no matter when approved.
While the STEM OPT I-765 is pending with USCIS, you may continue to work for up to 180 days IF the application is submitted before the EAD card expires.
1. Submit to Office of International Affairs:
2. Submit directly to USCIS: please check USCIS website for updated listing