IMPORTANT: USCIS must receive your application before the end date of your 12 month OPT period. USCIS must also receive your application within 60 days of the date your OPT I-20 was issued. Please remember to account for OIE processing time of up to 10 business days when beginning application process. To qualify for the 24-month STEM extension, you must:
- Have been granted OPT and currently be in a valid period of OPT.
- Have earned a bachelor's, master's, or doctoral degree from a school that is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education-recognized accrediting agency and is certified by the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) when you submit your STEM OPT extension application. A list of STEM degrees is available here.
Current STEM degree:If you are currently on post-completion OPT for a STEM degree earned at UT Arlington and you have never had a STEM extension at your current degree level, you are eligible to apply for a 24-month STEM extension.
Previously obtained STEM degrees:If you are an F-1 student participating in a 12-month period of post-completion OPT based on a non-STEM degree, you may be eligible to use a prior STEM degree earned from a U.S. institution of higher education to apply for a STEM OPT extension. You must have received both degrees from currently accredited and SEVP-certified institutions, and cannot have already received a STEM OPT extension based on this prior degree. The practical training opportunity also must be directly related to the previously obtained STEM degree.
- For example: If you are currently participating in OPT based on a master's degree in business administration but you previously received a bachelor's degree in mathematics, you may be able to apply for a STEM OPT extension based on your bachelor's degree as long as it is from an SEVP-certified U.S. college or university and the OPT employment opportunity is directly related to your bachelor's degree in mathematics.
STEM degrees you obtain in the future:If you enroll in a new academic program in the future and earn another qualifying STEM degree at a higher educational level, you may be eligible for one additional 24-month STEM OPT extension, for a maximum of two total stem extensions per student.
- For example: If you receive a 24-month STEM OPT extension based on your bachelor's degree in engineering and you later earn a master's degree in engineering, you may apply for an additional 24-month STEM OPT extension based on your master's degree.
- Work for an employer who meets all the requirements listed on uscis.gov
- Submit your application to USCIS up to 90 days before your current OPT employment authorization expires , and within 60 days of the date your designated school official (DSO) enters the recommendation for OPT into your Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) record.