Skip Navigation

24-Month STEM OPT Extension

  • Overview

    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-Verified employer and meet all the required criteria.

    If you earned a previous STEM degree from an accredited U.S. 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.


    To be eligible for STEM OPT, you must be an F-1 student and meet the following criteria:

    • You 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 your I-20.
    • You are currently authorized for post-completion OPT.
    • You have a job offer from an employer registered with the E-Verify Employment Verification System.
    • You have paid employment that is directly related to the STEM degree and is at least 21 hours per week.
    • You have not exceeded 90 days of unemployment on current post-completion OPT.
    • You 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 Criteria

    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 for the STEM extension is 90 days prior to the end date of your current post-completion OPT authorization.

    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.

    How to Apply
    Step 1: Get your Limited Access PIN from accessVIS
    Step 2: Submit the 'I-20 Recommending STEM' request
    Step 3: Review and sign your STEM I-20
    Step 4: Complete Form I-765


    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
    Annual self-evaluations
    Changes or interruptions in employment
    Material changes to an existing Form I-983


  • Important Considerations

    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 website for 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

    Filing the Form I-765 for STEM OPT by Mail

  • Premium Processing

    USCIS Premium Processing

    F-1 students can request “premium processing” for their Form I-765 when they apply for:

    • Pre-completion OPT
    • Post-completion OPT
    • STEM OPT extension
    What is Premium Processing?

    Premium processing provides expedited processing on Form I-765 for an additional governmental fee. In exchange for the additional fee, USCIS guarantees that it will take some adjudicative action (approval, denial, request for evidence, notice of intent to deny) within 30 calendar days.

    If the application requires the submission of additional evidence or a response to a notice of intent to deny, the 30 day premium processing time period will stop and reset. A new premium processing time period will begin when USCIS receives a response to the request for evidence or notice of intent to deny.

    How Expensive is Premium Processing?

    The current fee for premium processing is $1,685.

    How Do I Request Premium Processing?

    You may submit the form (Form I-907) online through your USCIS online account or by paper, along with the Form I-765. The fee for the Form I-907 is an entirely different fee from the I-765 fee. If submitting the petition by mail, you need to send in two separate payments – one for the I-765 and one for the I-907. If submitting the petition online, follow the payment instructions there.

    Remember – you must receive your endorsed STEM OPT I-20 from VIS before you submit Form I-765 and Form I-907 to USCIS. Refer to the "Applying for the STEM OPT Extension" tab for detailed instructions on how to receive an STEM I-20 from VIS.

    Read full I-907 Premium Processing Instructions

    Should I Request Premium Processing?

    Filing for premium processing with the I-765, Application for Employment Authorization is optional. Prior to paying the premium processing fee, VIS recommends that you consider the following: 

    • USCIS I-765 processing times 
    • The amount of time before your intended OPT employment start date 
    • Whether you need your EAD for travel purposes after your I-20 end date 

    To check processing times for any type of OPT application, go to USCIS I-765 processing times and select: 

    • “I-765 Application for Employment Authorization” under “Form”, 
    • “Based on a request by a qualified F-1 academic student [(c)(3)]” under “Form Category”, and  
    • “Potomac Service Center” under “Field Office or Service Center” 
    Related Links
  • SEVP Portal

    SEVP Portal

    The U.S. government created an online portal for students on STEM OPT to report the following 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?
    Which email will SEVP use to communicate with me?
    Can I still report my employment in accessVIS?
    I am on STEM OPT, should I still use the SEVP Portal?
    What if I have trouble accessing the SEVP Portal or have questions once I login?
  • Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

    Frequently Asked Questions

    Where can I find additional government resources about the STEM OPT extension?
    Where can I find my CIP code?
    What is Stony Brook University’s SEVIS School Code?
    If I have a dual major, can I qualify for the 24-month extension based on one of the degree programs?
    Can I request a STEM extension based on a previously earned STEM eligible degree?
    When does my 24-month extension start?
    Can I work with an expired EAD while my 24-month extension is pending?
    Can I expedite my I-765 application for STEM OPT?
    I have a 24-month STEM OPT application pending with USCIS and have a new job. What do I need to do?
    I completed an eligible STEM degree and am working as an unpaid intern. Am I eligible for the STEM OPT extension?
    I completed an eligible STEM degree and am self-employed. Am I eligible for the STEM OPT extension?
    I completed an eligible STEM degree and work for a consulting firm or staffing agency. Am I eligible for the STEM OPT extension?