STEM Extension

Students who hold degrees in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) may be eligible to apply for an additional 24 months of Optional Practical Training (OPT), for a total of 36 months of OPT.  Please check the STEM Designated Degree Program List to determine if you are eligible to apply for an extension.  You must also be working for an E-Verify employer.

An OPT STEM extension application MUST be received by USCIS before your current OPT ends.  You can mail your application to USCIS no earlier than 90 days prior to your OPT end date.

It might be possible to apply for a STEM extension based on a prior U.S. degree.  The prior degree must have been within the past 10 years from an accredited and SEVP-certified school.  Please contact your OISS advisor to find out if you are eligible.

Follow the detailed steps below under “How to Apply” to correctly complete, prepare, and submit your STEM Extension Application.


Step 1

Complete and submit OISS's online OPT STEM Extension Request eForm

Step 2

  • An OISS Advisor will review your eForm and contact you with any questions. This may take 3-5 business days.
  • If appropriate, the OISS Advisor will issue a new Form I-20 with a recommendation for a STEM OPT Extension on page 2. 

Step 3

Get a scanned copy of your new STEM OPT Requested I-20 from OISS and sign it.

Step 4

Prepare your documents for your application: Gather scanned copies of the following documents and have the files organized on your computer: 

  • 2x2 color passport-style photograph (no less than 30 days old) 
    • OISS recommends that you use the USCIS photo tool to prepare your photo scan for the USCIS website.
  • I-94 record
  • A scanned copy of your new STEM OPT-recommended I-20 signed and dated by you and your OISS advisor 
    • *If you do not have a new I-20 with a STEM OPT Request listed on page 2, please STOP and complete the eForm request below. You must have this document for your application. 
    • Login to  eOISS 
      • Under F-1 Practical Training, choose "OPT STEM Extension Request"  
  • Photocopy of your passport bio-page 
  • Photocopy of your F1 visa 
  • Photocopy of previous EAD (front & back) 

*Notice that you do not include your Form I-983 in your application to USCIS.  

Step 5

Create your myUSICS online account and apply online 

*You cannot submit your application any earlier than 90 days before your post-completion OPT end date. 

Once you have created your myUSICS account:

  • Go to, and Sign In. 
  • Click on myUSCIS 
  • Click on File a Form Online 
  • Select “Application for Employment Authorization (I-765)” and then click Start Form 
  • Click Next on the following page 
  • Click Start to begin your application 
  • Follow the OISS STEM OPT Online Filing Instructions for a step-by-step guide to completing the application. ***Your OISS advisor will send you these instructions along with your STEM OPT Requested I-20. 
  • *Important: Your eligibility category: 
    • Select (c)(3)(C) STEM Extension 

NOTE:  If you wish to file your STEM OPT application by mail, please let your OISS advisor know, and they will review those instructions with you. 

NOTE: Once authorization to engage in OPT has been granted and an EAD has been issued, authorization may not be rescinded or canceled. Consult with OISS before taking any action that may jeopardize your OPT. 

A student must:

  • Work in a paid position for an E-Verify employer at least 20 hours per week
  • Work in a position related to his/her STEM major
  • Not have more than 150 days of unemployment time during the entire period of OPT (90 days for Post-Completion OPT; 60 days for STEM extension)
  • Not be self-employed

  • Report any changes to the Form I-983 on file within 10 days
  • Report if his/her employer is not abiding by the terms of the Form I-983
  • Every six months you must confirm your employer and local  living address information
    • Login to eOISS and complete OISS's online OPT STEM 6 Month Reporting eForm
  • Within 10 days of accepting a new job offer:
    • Login to eOISS and complete OISS's online OPT STEM Employment Update Form
  • Submit a fully completed self-evaluation (on Form I-983) at the end of the first and second twelve month periods of the STEM extension
    • Login to eOISS and complete OISS's online OPT STEM Evaluation eForm