STEM OPT Extension Eligibility

For STEM OPT applications received after May 10, 2016, for a 24-month work authorization extension to your Post-Completion OPT:

Eligibility

The F-1 student must:

The employer must:

        

Eligibility for the Second Period of STEM OPT After Higher degree

If you enroll in a new academic program in the U.S. in the future and earn another qualifying STEM degree at a higher educational level, you may be eligible for the second period of 24-month STEM OPT (i.e. two 24 month STEM OPT extensions may be permitted).
Example: If you receive a 24-month STEM OPT extension based on your bachelor’s degree in computer science, and you later earn a master’s degree in computer science or another STEM eligible field, you may apply for Post-Completion OPT and then the additional 24-month STEM OPT extension based on your master’s degree.

 

Eligibility Based on a Previously Obtained STEM Degree

If you are currently in a degree field (or on Post-Completion OPT from that degree) that is not identified as STEM eligible, but have previously earned a STEM eligible degree from an accredited U.S. higher education institution, you may be eligible to apply for a STEM OPT extension under certain conditions:
  • You must have received both degrees from currently accredited and SEVP-certified institutions
  • Your previous degree cannot have been conferred more than 10 years ago at the time of application
  • Your previous degree is assigned a STEM eligible code found on the STEM Designated Degree Program List  at the time of application
  • You haven't already received a STEM OPT extension based on this previous degree
  • Your practical training opportunity is directly related to the previously obtained STEM degree
  • Your employer meets the criteria listed above
Example: If you are currently participating in Post-Completion OPT based on a master’s degree in business and management, but you previously received a bachelor’s degree in mathematics, you may be able to apply for a STEM OPT extension based on your bachelor’s degree in mathematics as long as meets the other criteria above.