Eligibility and Application Information for Additional 17 Months of OPT (STEM)
To be eligible to apply for the 17-month extension under USCIS regulations announced in April 2008, a student must
- Be currently employed under OPT in a job directly related to the student’s major area of study;
- Have successfully completed a Bachelor's, Master's, or Doctoral degree in a field on the Department of Homeland Security’s STEM Designated Degree Program list (Click Here) from a SEVIS-certified college or university;
- Have a job or a job offer from an employer that is registered with the E-Verify employment verification system. For more information on E-Verify Click Here;
- Have NOT previously received a 17-month OPT extension after earning a STEM degree;
The employer must agree to report the termination or departure of the student to OISS or through "any other means or process identified by DHS."
To apply for the 17-month extension, the student must submit to OISS at least 45 days prior to the end of current OPT:
- A letter from the employer describing the nature of the on-going employment and verifying both the employer’s participation in the E-Verify system and understanding of the employer’s reporting requirements;
- A statement from the student that the student has not previously used a 17-month OPT extension and understands his/her reporting requirements; and
- A completed I-765 form showing the correct code in Item 16 and the required information in Item 17.
To apply for the 17-month extension, the student must submit to USCIS:
- Completed I-765 form with original signature; (see How to Apply for OPT)
- Copy of the degree conferred showing the major field of study;
- Appropriate filing fee;
- Copy of I-20 showing 17-month extension.