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STEM Optional Practical Training (STEM OPT)

by Hamid R. Kashani, Attorney at Law
Nov 07, 2018 (last modified Feb 25, 2019)

If you are an F-1 student who has received a bachelor's, master's, or doctoral degree in science, technology, engineering or mathematics (STEM majors) from a SEVP-certified school, you may apply for a 24-month extension of your Post-Completion Optional Practical Training (OPT).

Image of a young engineer working under supervision

Immigration regulations prescribe that students may participate in a STEM practical training opportunity, only if the employer attests that

  1. The employer has sufficient resources and personnel available and is prepared to provide appropriate training in connection with the specified opportunity at the location(s) specified on Form I-983 or its successor forms;
  2. The student on the STEM OPT extension will not replace a full- or part-time, temporary or permanent U.S. worker; and
  3. The employment opportunity would assist the student in reaching his or her training goals.

8 CFR ยง 214.2(f)(10)(ii)(C)(10)(i) - (iii).

The employer must also be enrolled and in good standing with E-Verify (an electronic system for verification of employees' authorization to work) prior to start of the student's employment. Students in STEMP OPT may change employers so long as the employer meets the E-Verify requirement.

As with the regular OPT, the STEMP OPT work must be in the field of study in which you received your degree.

Pursuant to a final rule published on March 11, 2016, as of May 10, 2016, the Department of Homeland Security has increased the STEMP OPT extension period from 17 to 24 months.

While in STEM OPT extension period, the student may be unemployed up to 150 days before being considered out of status.

Related Topics:

Optional Practical Training (OPT)

Curricular Practical Training (CPT)

 

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