IMPORTANT: You must request an updated I-20 with STEM OPT recommendation on page 2 from the Office of International Education before submitting your application to USCIS. 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.