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24-Month STEM OPT Extension
F-1 students who completed a Bachelor's, Master's, or Doctoral degree in select government-designated science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM) fields and are currently working with post-completion OPT may apply for the STEM extension of 24 months of additional employment if they have a job or job offer from an E-Verifiod employer and meet all the required criteria.
If you earned a previous STEM degree from an accredited US institution, you may also be eligible for the STEM OPT extension. See the Department of Homeland Security’s STEM Designated Degree Program List. You can find the CIP code for your previous degree on page 1 of the current format I-20 or at the top of page 3 of the old format I-20.
If you have questions about your eligibility, contact your International Student Advisor.Eligibility
To be eligible for STEM OPT, you must be an F-1 student and meet the following criteria:
- Have successfully completed a Bachelor's, Master's, or Doctoral degree in a STEM field based on the government classification. You can find the CIP code for your degree on page 1 of the current format I-20 or at the top of page 3 of the old format I-20.
- Are currently authorized for Post-Completion OPT
- Have a job offer from an employer registered with the E-Verify Employment Verification System.
- Have paid employment that is directly related to the STEM degree and is at least 21 hours per week.
- Have not exceeded 90 days of unemployment on current Post-Completion OPT.
- Have not previously been authorized for a STEM OPT extension for the same degree.*
* You may be eligible for a second period of 24-Month STEM OPT if you've earned a second qualifying STEM degree at a higher educational level.Employment requirements
Your employment on STEM OPT must meet the following criteria:
- Full-time (at least 21 hrs/week)
- Paid (unpaid or volunteer positions are not permitted for STEM OPT)
- Related to your STEM degree
- Employer is E-Verified (self-employment is not permitted for STEM OPT)
- A completed and signed Form I-983 (Training Plan for STEM OPT Students) submitted to Visa and Immigration Services
It is strongly recommend that you keep a written record of any and all STEM OPT activity, including the position held, dates of the position, supervisor name, organization name and location, number of hours you work per week, and description of activity for your own records.
It is the student's responsibility to describe how the practical training opportunity (job) relates to their major area of study. It is important to clarify the direct relationship of the position to the program of study. DSOs may not be able to approve employer updates if adequate information is not provided.
- Applying for the STEM OPT Extension
Applying for the STEM OPT Extension
The application process for STEM OPT involves both the Visa and Immigration Office at SBU and United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Once a student is approved for the STEM OPT Extension, they will receive a new Employment Authorization Document (EAD) from USCIS.When to apply
The earliest you can apply is 90 days prior to the end date of your current Post-Completion OPT authorization.
US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) must receive your STEM OPT application before your current OPT expires.
If you applied for STEM OPT before your current OPT expires, you can continue to work while your STEM OPT application is pending until a final decision is made on your application, or it has been pending 180 days with USCIS, whichever comes first.
This STEM Calculator is a useful tool to keep track of all important STEM dates.Step 1: Get your Limited Access PIN from accessVIS
If it has been more than 6 months since you graduated from SBU it is likely that your NetID has expired. Therefore, you will need to sign into your accessVIS account through the Limited Services Portal.
Click here to be emailed your Limited Access PIN. You will be asked for your University Identification Number, which is your SBU Student ID number.Step 2: Submit the I-20 Recommending STEM request
Submit the Request for I-20 Recommending 24-Month STEM Extension in accessVIS. Be sure to have the following documents available for upload in PDF format before beginning this request:
- Current Form I-94 (both sides of the card or an electronic copy)
- Passport (including identity pages and expiration date)
- F-1 Visa stamp (if applicable)
- A scanned copy of your official Letter of Offer from your employer (if applicable)
- Provide a completed and signed Form I-983 indicating your formal training plan. Click here for instructions on completing the I-983.
Documents uploaded in accessVIS must be in PDF format. Files exceeding 100MB must be compressed before uploading to avoid an error message.Step 3: Review and sign your STEM I-20
If your request for STEM is approved, you will be issued a new I-20 recommending a 24-Month STEM Extension and emailed a link to download your updated I-20.
You must print and sign this new "STEM I-20" with blue ink. If you notice any mistakes on your I-20 please contact your VIS Advisor immediately.Step 4: Complete Form I-765
Once you have received your new STEM I-20, you must apply for the STEM Extension from USCIS using Form I-765. There are two ways to file your I-765 application with USCIS - either online or through a paper application.
Please only choose one option.
Students applying for the 24-Month STEM Extension will be assessed a $200 International Student Fee payable through SOLAR. This is a SUNY approved fee effective since Fall 2012 that is assessed based on the issuance of your I-20 recommending STEM, regardless of whether you use the OPT authorization or not. Failure to submit timely payment of this fee could result in the Bursar reporting your information to a collection agency.
- Employment Reporting Requirements
Employment Reporting Requirements
Students on STEM OPT are required to report any and all changes to employment, address, name, status, etc. within 10 days, and are required to complete scheduled participation reports and evaluations at specific points throughout the extension period.
Download the STEM Calculator to determine and track your reporting deadlines.6-month SEVIS validations
You are required by USCIS to report your STEM OPT participation to Visa and Immigration Services every six months, even if the employment is the same.
The 6-Month SEVIS Validation due date is every 6 months from the STEM OPT start date on your EAD card. The reporting window opens 4 weeks before and ends 4 weeks after the due date. Please note if you submit your report outside of the reporting window, VIS will not be able to record your report in SEVIS.
Within 10 days of your scheduled reporting date, you must login to accessVIS through Limited Services and complete the 6-month STEM Reporting form. The form will ask you to verify your current address, employer’s contact information, and any loss of or interruptions in your employment.Annual self-evaluations
DHS also requires students to submit a self-evaluation of training progress (page 5 of the Form I-983) at the 12-month point and 24-month point after the STEM OPT begins.
- 12 months after your STEM OPT start date you must submit the I-983 (12-month) Annual Evaluation form in accessVIS to confirm your employer’s name and address where the work is performed. You will be required to upload the Evaluation on Student Progress (top portion of page 5 on the Form I-983) signed by you and your employer. Even if you recently started with a new employer before this point, you are still required to submit the annual evaluation.
- 24 months after your STEM OPT start date you must submit the I-983 Final Evaluation form in accessVIS to confirm your company's name and address where the work is performed, along with the Final Evaluation on Student Progress (bottom portion of page 5 on the Form I-983) completed and signed by you and your employer. Even if you recently started with a new employer before this point, you are still required to submit the annual evaluation.
The evaluations are due within 10 days of the reporting period. The evaluations must be completed, dated, and signed in ink (no digital signatures) by both you and your employer before submitting it to VIS.Changes or interruptions in employment
While authorized for the 24-month OPT STEM Extension, you are required to report any changes or interruption of your employment to Visa and Immigration Services within 10 business days.
For changes or losses in employment, submit the Add or Update OPT Employment. When reporting your employment, please remember that any false information could impact your eligibility for future immigration benefits in the US. You must be honest and accurate to avoid any problems in the future.Material changes to an existing Form I-983
You are required to report any material changes or deviations from your initial Form I-983 to Visa and Immigration Services.
Material changes or deviations from the original Form I-983 may include, but are not limited to:
- Employer Identification Number (EIN) Change
- Employer Worksite Address Change
- Any reduction in student compensation that is not tied to a reduction in hours worked
- Any significant decrease in hours per week
- Changes to the employer’s commitments or student’s learning objectives as documented on the Form I-983
As long as you and your employer meet the regulatory requirements and a modified Form I-983 is submitted to Visa and Immigration Services, your employment authorization will not be jeopardized.
Modified Forms I-983 must be uploaded to the Add or Update OPT Employment form in accessVIS within 10 days of the change.
- Important Considerations
F-1 students may file the Form I-765 online or by using the paper based application.
USCIS ultimately provides the decision on your STEM application. It is your responsibility, as the applicant, to ensure that your application is accurate and complete before you submit it to the U.S. government.
- Do not submit an online application if you have already filed by mail. Duplicate applications may be denied by USCIS.
- You may only file Form I-765 online from within the U.S. You are not eligible to apply for STEM Extension from outside the country.
- While filing Form I-765 online may be quicker and easier than filing by mail, it does not speed up the time required for USCIS to adjudicate your application. See the USCIS websitefor current processing times.
- Do not file the Form I-765 online until you have received your updated Form I-20 recommending STEM OPT.
- Once you submit your application, you cannot go back to edit or change information. Please contact your VIS advisor immediately if you believe you have provided incorrect or incomplete information when filing Form I-765. Failing to do so can result in Requests for Evidence (RFEs), processing delays, or the denial of your application by USCIS.
- USCIS has the discretion to require biometrics appointments on a case-by-case basis.
You MUST submit your I-765 and supporting documentation to USCIS before the expiration of your Post-Completion OPT and within 60 days of the issue date of your OPT Form I-20 (listed on page 1, next to your advisor's signature).
Filing the Form I-765 for STEM OPT Online
- SEVP Portal
The U.S. government created an online portal for students on STEM OPT to report the following personal and employer information directly to SEVP:
- Add or edit your phone number
- Add or edit your mailing and physical address
- Edit or delete your employer's information
The use of this portal is optional and does not impact your employment authorization. At this time, VIS encourages you to submit any updates directly to us in accessVIS. Once you submit your information to VIS, we will update your SEVIS record, and thus the U.S. government on your changes.
If you choose to use the government's SEVP Portal and have any issues using it, including if you get locked out of it, if you forget or need to reset your password, or if you never received the email providing you with instructions on how to create and log into the portal, please contact your International Student Advisor for assistance.Who can report employment through the SEVP Portal?
All F-1 students who are on an approved period of OPT or STEM OPT can set up an account to report their information. Even if you have already reported your employment to VIS using the OPT/STEM Reporting form, you will receive an email about the SEVP Portal.Which email will SEVP use to communicate with me?
SEVP will use the email address you've most recently reported in accessVIS. This is the email address that we have listed for you in SEVIS and will be the only one that they will communicate with.Can I still report my employment in accessVIS?
Yes, we will maintain the accessVIS OPT/STEM Reporting forms.I am on STEM OPT, should I still use the SEVP Portal?
Those on STEM OPT may edit employer information or delete an employer on the SEVP Portal if they have never worked for that company. All 6 month reporting, as well as submission of the 12 month evaluation, 24 month evaluation, end of employment evaluation, and a new employer I-983 (if you change employers) must continue to be done through accessVIS by submitting the STEM OPT Reporting form.What if I have trouble accessing the SEVP Portal or have questions once I login?
SEVP has a website with step-by-step videos and instructions.
- STEM OPT Extension FAQs
Frequently Asked QuestionsWhere can I find additional government resources about the STEM OPT extension?
Where can I find my CIP code?
- STEM OPT Hub –from the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) Study in the States
- OPT Extension for STEM Students (STEM OPT) –from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)
I-20s from June 2015 or earlier: the CIP code is printed at the top of page three of your I-20. The code is 6 digits long (xx.xxxx).
I-20s from July 2015 to present: the CIP code is printed next to your major on page one of your I-20.
Once you find your code, you can consult the DHS STEM Designated Degree Program List to determine if your degree program is STEM eligible.What is Stony Brook University’s SEVIS School Code?
NYC214F00653000If I have a dual major, can I qualify for the 24-month extension based on one of the degree programs?
Yes, if one of the degrees is on the DHS STEM Designated Degree Program List and your employment while authorized for the STEM Extension is directly related to your STEM degree.Can I request a STEM extension based on a previously earned STEM eligible degree?
Under the 24-month rule, you may use a prior STEM degree from a currently accredited SEVP-certified school to fulfill the eligibility requirements for a STEM extension if:
When does my 24-month extension of OPT start?
- The prior qualifying STEM degree (at the bachelor's level or higher) was conferred within 10 years of applying for the STEM OPT extension.
- The prior degree is in a degree program category included on the current DHS STEM Designated Degree Program List at the time your apply for the STEM OPT extension, rather than at the time you received the degree.
- The practical training opportunity that is the basis for the 24-month STEM OPT extension is directly related to your prior degree.
- You are currently participating in a 12-month period of Post Completion OPT
- You are working a minimum of 21 hours in a paid position directly related to your major area of study.
- You have a job offer from an employer registered with the E-Verify Employment Verification System.
If you have properly filed for a 24-month STEM extension, the period of extension starts the day after the expiration of your original OPT period.Can I work with an expired EAD while my 24-month extension is pending?
Yes. Your work authorization is automatically extended for up to 180 days while the 24-month STEM extension application is pending with USCIS. There is no interim documentation of the extended authorization. If your employer needs information about what documents to collect as proof of extended work authorization, please refer to them to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services I-9 Central.Can I expedite my I-765 application for STEM OPT?
Please remember you are allowed to work while your I-765 for STEM Extension is pending (refer to question above for more information).
USCIS announced in March 2023 that they have expanded premium processing (Form I-907) for certain F-1 students filing an I-765 under these three categories:
- (c)(3)(A) – Pre-Completion OPT;
- (c)(3)(B) – Post-Completion OPT; and
- (c)(3)(C) – 24-Month Extension of OPT for STEM students
Starting April 3, 2023, USCIS will accept Form I-907 requests for F-1 students in the above categories when filed together with a Form I-765.
To file Form I-907 online, you must first create a USCIS online account. If you have previously filed a USCIS form online, you may use your existing USCIS online account.
The fee for premium processing is $1,500 if you are filing a Form I-907 with a Form I-765 with eligibility category (c)(3)(A), (c)(3)(B) or (c)(3)(C). This fee is in addition to the standard filing fee of $410 for the I-765 application.
Premium Processing Service guarantees that USCIS will take one of several possible actions (issue an approval notice, a denial notice, a notice of intent to deny, or a request for evidence) on the petition or application within a certain processing timeframe. The processing timeframe for I-765 applications is 30 calendar days with premium processing. For more information about premium processing,click here for USCIS’ website.
We strongly advise to check current processing times on USCIS’ website to determine if premium processing is the right fit for you. See below for instructions:
I have a 24-month STEM OPT application pending with USCIS and have a new job. What do I need to do?
- To check processing times, go to:egov.uscis.gov/processing-times/
- Under Form select ‘I-765 Application for Employment Authorization’
- Under Form Category select ‘Based on a request by a qualified F-1 academic student [(c)(3)]’
- Under Field Office or Service Center select ‘Potomac Service Center’
- Click ‘Get processing time’
While authorized to work under the STEM Extension, you are required to report any changes or interruption of your employment to Visa and Immigration Services within 10 business days by submitting the Add or Update OPT Employment form in accessVIS. Additionally, because a change in employer is considered a "material change," you are required to upload a modified Form I-983.
Your International Student Advisor will then email a copy of the updated I-20 to USCIS and mail you the original or provide it for pickup in the VIS office. A physical copy of the I-20 does NOT need to be mailed to USCIS.I completed an eligible STEM degree and am working as an unpaid intern. Am I eligible for the STEM OPT extension?No, the regulations for the 24-month extension require that students have an employer/employee relationship and be earning the same wage as a similar U.S. worker. The U.S. government has specifically stated that unpaid internships and volunteer work do not qualify for the 24-month STEM OPT extension.I completed an eligible STEM degree and am self-employed. Am I eligible for the STEM OPT extension?No, the regulations for the 24-month extension require that students have an employer/employee relationship. Students cannot sign the Form I-983 as both the employer and the employee. If you are working for a start-up company, you may be eligible if the company is enrolled in e-verify and there is someone else in the company who is your employer and can complete all of the necessary confirmations on the Form I-983.I completed an eligible STEM degree and work for a consulting firm or staffing agency. Am I eligible for the STEM OPT extension?No. The regulations indicate that this is not sufficient for the STEM extension, as this training and supervision typically occurs with a company that is not the student’s employer. Students who work for a consulting firm or staffing agency should discuss their situation and eligibility with their employer to determine if a true employer/employee relationship exists in which the employer signing the training plan is also the employer that provides the practical training experience. Students should keep documentation of the justification for how the employer/employee relationship meets the requirements of the STEM OPT extension regulations. USCIS might ask for additional evidence of this relationship and justification during this application process or any future USCIS applications.