OPT 17-Month STEM Extension

The 12 month OPT limit may be extended by 17 months, for a total of 29 months, for certain STEM degree holders (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics). Students must file a request for the 17-month OPT extension prior to the end date on current EAD. A timely filed application means that the extension application must be “receipted in” at the USCIS prior to the end date indicated on the current EAD. Students will be able to continue employment while the extension application is pending, until USCIS renders a final decision on the I-765 or for 180 days, whichever comes first.

Eligibility Requirements

  • You must have successfully completed a bachelor's, master's, or doctoral degree in a field on the DHS STEM Designated Degree Program List.
  • You must be currently participating in a 12-month period of Post Completion OPT, working for a U.S. employer in a job directly related to your major area of study.
  • You have a job offer from an employer registered with the E-Verify Employment Verification System.
  • You have not previously received a 17-month OPT extension after earning a STEM degree.

Application Procedures for STEM OPT:

Students applying for the STEM extension will be assessed a $200 international student fee for the duration of the 17 month extension.

Part 1 – Applying for new I-20 Form for 17-Month STEM Extension Please scan and submit the following documents in AccessVIS:

  1. Completed STEM application form located in AccessVIS. Your application must be submitted no later than 3 weeks before the expiration of your EAD card.
  2. Copy of current I-94 Form (both sides).
  3. Copy of the identity pages in passport, including expiration date and most recent U.S. Visa.
  4. Copy of your employment offer letter from an employer registered with E-Verify.
  5. Copy of EAD card (both sides).

Part 2 - Applying for the EAD card
Step 1: Pick-up your new I-20 or arrange with your advisor to have it mailed to your current address. Carefully follow the requirements for submitting the I-765.

Step 2: Mail the following documents to USCIS within 30 days of the issue date on the Form I-20 for OPT, but no later the expiration of the current EAD (processing takes 2-6 months).

  1. A money order, certified check or personal check for the amount of $380, payable to Department of Homeland Security.
  2. Cover letter addressed to the USCIS lockbox and street address, please consult the I-765 instructions for the correct address.
  3. Completed Form I-765.
  4. Completed Form G-1145 (this form is optional).
  5. One original Form I-20 issued for STEM OPT (the other copy is for your records).
  6. Photocopies of all Form I-20 ever received (pages 1 and 3).
  7. Photocopy of current Form I-94 (both sides).
  8. Photocopy of identity pages in passport, including expiration date and most recent U.S. Visa.
  9. Two identical passport photographs, with white background; see the Department of State’s guidelines
  10. Photocopy of the front and back of your current Employment Authorization Document (EAD).
  11. Photocopy of your Stony Brook University diploma or official transcript with your STEM degree posted

STEM Reporting Requirement:

  • Students on STEM are required by USCIS to report their name and address, employer’s name and address, and any loss of employment to Visa and Immigration Services every six months to insure their SEVIS record is current and accurate. Reporting is due within 10 business days of each schedule reporting date.
  • While in the OPT STEM Extension, your employer must report the interruption of your employment to Visa and Immigration Services within 48 hours of the termination.