- The final 24-month STEM OPT rule was published in the Federal Register on March 11, 2016.
- The new 24-month STEM OPT rule is effective Tuesday, May 10, 2016
- 17-month STEM OPT Extension rule ended on May 9, 2016. Students can no longer apply for this.
- USCIS updated STEM OPT employer requirements and responsibilities on their webpage. To be eligible for STEM OPT extension, USCIS does not allow for work to be off site. Read the USCIS webpage for more information.
Apply 90 days before the end of your 12-month post-completion OPT. USCIS must RECEIVE your 24-month STEM OPT application on or before your current 12-month OPT expiration date. This office needs sufficient time to process your application. The response time is 10 business days or more for each submission. We urge you and your employer to follow the Form I-983 Instructions and Sample line by line to complete the form. Incomplete Form I-983 will be returned and re-submission takes another 10 business days to process.
Do not wait until the last moment to apply, otherwise you will lose the chance to apply for STEM OPT.
Administrative Fee Alert
Resources and Helpful Links
Check this link to see all STEM fields qualifying an F-1 student for a STEM OPT extension:
All fields of study in the core STEM areas of engineering, biological sciences, mathematics, and physical sciences are included. The list is similar to the previous list under the 17-month STEM OPT extension.
Eligible F-1 students with STEM degrees who finish their program of study and participate in an initial period of regular, post-completion OPT (often for 12 months) have the option to apply for a STEM OPT extension.
STEM OPT Eligibility
To qualify for the 24-month STEM OPT extension, an F-1 student must:
- Hold a bachelor’s degree or higher degree in an eligible STEM field from University of Bridgeport
- Have an E-verify employer. Find out if your employer is E-verified
- Currently be working in a period of post-completion OPT
- Have not exceeded 90-day unemployment limit for your current post-completion OPT
- Be able to fill out the Form I-983 Training Plan with your employer
- Employment during the 24-month STEM OPT extension must be directly related to your STEM degree which qualify you for the extension
- Must be a paid position
- Cannot be self-employed
- Must work a minimum of 20 hours per week
- Have not previously received the 24-month STEM OPT extension under the STEM degree
- For STEM OPT extension based on a prior degree, please visit the Department of Homeland Security's Study in the States, link provided to the left
You must also ensure the following:
- Zero balance with the University of Bridgeport Bursar
- No holds on your student account
- OPT employment and address must be updated via portal before you apply for OPT extension if you have started employment with this employer
To be eligible for STEM OPT extension:
USCIS does not allow for work to be off site. Read the USCIS website for more information under STEM OPT employer requirements and responsibilities.
- You can apply 90 days prior to the end of your post completion OPT
- USCIS must receive your OPT extension application NO LATER THAN the expiration of your current post-completion OPT
- If you applied for STEM OPT with USCIS 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, whichever comes first
- Passport must be valid and has a validity period of at least 6 months into the future prior to filing for OPT extension
- If your passport is valid for less than 6 months, please apply for renewal at your consulate before filing for OPT
How to Apply for STEM OPT
Step 1. Review the conditions of eligibility.
Read through the eligibility list to ensure that you meet the criteria for STEM OPT. Also ensure you will meet the application deadline and passport requirements.
Step 2. Pay the $200 STEM OPT extension administrative fee to the UB Bursar by calling (203) 576-4568.
Please specify it is for the STEM OPT extension fee when you call.
Step 4. Email documents to International Center for Students and Scholars
Email email@example.com the (1) completed and signed form I-983, (2) Form I-765, (3) Student Statement, and (4) EAD card using your UB email account.
*Please note the Form I-765 is for record keeping only. We do not review the form. It is your responsibility to make sure it is filled out correctly. If you need assistance, you can review the I-765 instructions as shown below in the Application Checklist.*
If the Form I-983 satisfies the requirements, an I-20 to recommend STEM OPT extension will be issued to you.
*Please note the Form I-983 is reviewed for completeness only. It is your responsibility as well as your employer’s to make sure the form is filled out correctly.*
Step 5. Gather documents and mail them to USCIS.
Once you get the I-20, follow the instructions attached to your I-20 and compile all documents to mail to USCIS.
- I-765 completed fully and signed in BLUE ink (original). 24-Month I-765 Instructions
- Copy all previous EADs
- Two passport style color photos with name, date of birth and SEVIS ID printed in pencil on the back. See example
- $410 filing fee, make a check or money order payable to “U.S. Department of Homeland Security”. Date on check must be current!!. (Sample check)
- Form I-983 Training Plan (Please download and save the form as a Word document to allow sufficient space when filling it out.) |Form I-983 instructions | Form I-983 Sample
SEVIS School Code: BOS214F10145000
STEM OPT Requested Period:
From: the date immediately following your current OPT end date
To: the end date of the 24-months extension
- Copy of U.B. diploma
- Copy of U.B. transcript (optional)
- Copy of ALL I-20 forms (no need to copy instruction page; all I-20s must be signed);
- Copy of electronic I-94. Copy of I-94 card (front and back) if you have a paper I-94 card. Stamp must be clearly legible.
- Copy of passport: information page with expiration date and stamp of first entry into the U.S. in F1 status
- Copy of F-1 visa
- Signed Student Statement