Students whose primary degree is in a qualified STEM field are qualified to receive an extension of the Standard OPT period. The new STEM OPT rule has officially taken effect (effective May 10, 2016). It will take some time for DHS (including SEVIS and the Service Centers), employers and universities to define the application procedures and reporting requirements of STEM OPT. GPS will continue to update our STEM OPT materials here and keep students informed.
The F-1 student must:
The employer must:
The application must be submitted to USCIS no later than the end date of your current Post-Completion OPT.
You can submit an application to USCIS as early as 120 days prior to the end of the current OPT period.
If you timely file your STEM OPT extension application, you will be able to continue employment while your application is pending, until a final decision is made by USCIS or for 180 days beyond the expiration of your Post-Completion OPT, whichever comes first.
It normally takes up to 90 days for USCIS to process STEM OPT extension applications.