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24-Month STEM OPT Extension

The general rule of thumb for applying for OPT is “the sooner, the better.” The sooner you apply for OPT, the more likely you are to receive the dates you request for your work authorization.

As soon as 90 days prior to the End Date listed on your Standard Post-Completion OPT EAD and no later than the End Date listed on Standard Post-Completion OPT EAD.
As an F-1 Student, you are eligible to apply for a 24-Month STEM OPT Extension if, and only if, all of the following requirements are met:

- You are currently maintaining valid F-1 Status and are working with an EAD approved for of Standard Post-Completion OPT.
- You have earned a Bachelor’s, Master’s or Doctorate in a major field whose Classification of Instructional Program code (“CIP code”) appears on the DHS’ STEM Designated Degree Program List (Effective May 10, 2016). You can refer to the “Program Information” section of your I-20 for your Major and corresponding CIP Code.
- You must be working for a U.S. employer in a job directly related to a qualifying major.
- Your current or prospective employer must be registered with the DHS E-Verify employment verification system.
- You may not have accrued more than 90 days of unemployment during your Standard Post-Completion OPT.
- You and your employer must complete a Form I-983 Training Plan for STEM OPT Students.
- Your employment must be paid and must require at least 20 hours of work per week.
For further information, you can review the following section of the SEVP Study in the States website:

- New STEM Rule Overview
- Eligibility for 24-Month STEM OPT
- STEM OPT Reporting Requirements for Students
- Overview of Form I-983 Training Plan for STEM OPT Students
- Frequently Asked Questions about STEM OPT
1. Fully review the entire Optional Practical Training section of this website and attend an Optional Practical Training Workshop offered by Immigration Services.

2. Read and sign the appropriate STEM OPT Acknowledgment.

3. For students applying for a STEM Extension of OPT, print and fill out a U.S. Form I-983 with your employer. If you have questions regarding how to fill out the document, you can reference the Form I-983 Overview section of DHS’ website for guidance.

4. Request an OPT Recommendation from Immigration Services. This will include uploading the above documents and other immigration documents. Once the OPT Recommendation I-20 is issued to you, you will be contacted to schedule an OPT Application Assembly appointment.

5. Prepare all required documentation for your Application Assembly Appointment. If you are missing any documentation at your appointment, Immigration Services may not be able to assist you with your application. As such, be sure to contact the Immigration Services regarding any missing documentation before your appointment.

- Copy of your official MCPHS transcript or diploma reflecting completion of the degree on which your STEM OPT will be based
- Completed, original Form G-1145
- Completed, original Form I-765
- Copy of the STEM OPT Recommendation I-20 (which you will receive from the Immigration Services Office at your OPT Appointment)
- Copies of all previously issued EAD’s
- Copy of your I-94 Admission Record
- Copy of your most recent entry stamp
- Copy of the biographical information page(s) in your Passport
- Copies of every I-20 ever issued to you (instruction pages omitted)
- I-765 Application Fee (Completed Form G-1450 for a credit card payment; or Personal check or money order in the amount of $410.00 USD and made payable to “U.S. Department of Homeland Security.”)
- Two 2x2 inch photographs taken in the last 30 days that meet USCIS/DOS photograph specifications. You should write your name and SEVIS ID on the back of each photo

6. Attend your OPT Application Assembly Appointment and send your complete OPT Application to the appropriate Lock Box Facility.
You can check your Case Status Online on USCIS’s official website by referencing the Case Number reflected on your I-797 Receipt Notice.

It can take up to 90 days for USCIS to adjudicate your OPT Application. If your Case Status has not updated 90 days from the Receipt Date reflected on your I-797 Receipt Notice, you may contact the Immigration Services Office for assistance.

Cancelling an OPT Application

If you have not yet sent your OPT Application to a Lock Box Facility, you may request a cancellation or date change on your OPT Recommendation I-20 from the Immigration Services Office.If your OPT Application is not yet approved and you learn that you will not graduate as expected, contact the Immigration Services Office immediately to determine if cancellation of your OPT request is still possible.

Approval of Your OPT Application

Once your OPT Application is approved, USCIS will create and send an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) to the address you indicated on the Form I-765. Once you receive your EAD, you must provide a copy (either by email or in-person) to the Immigration Services Office so we can update your I-20 if necessary.

Remember: Starting to work or attending employment orientations before receiving the EAD or before the Authorization Start Date listed on the EAD is a serious violation of F-1 Status and will result in a negative termination of your SEVIS Record which will likely preclude you from obtaining work-based Immigration Statuses in the future!