Below is information about the basic eligibility requirements for STEM OPT.
To apply for a 24-month STEM OPT extension, you must:
- Have obtained a bachelor's, master's, or doctoral degree from an accredited U.S. educational institution.
- Have obtained a degree in a field on the Department of Homeland Security STEM Designated Degree Program List.
- Have a job or job offer that is directly related to your STEM degree.
- Be currently authorized for post-completion OPT.
- Have accumulated no more than 90 days of unemployment during the initial 12-month period of OPT. You are allowed an additional 60 days of unemployment while on STEM OPT (equalling up to a total of 150 days while on OPT or STEM OPT). If you fail to report employment to ISSS, this time may be counted as unemployment.
- Have no more than one previous STEM OPT authorization.
Your employment must meet the following requirements:
- Employment must be at least 20 hours per week.
- Employment must be paid.
- You may have multiple employers, but you must complete a new I-983 for each employer. Employment must be at least 20 hours per week with each employer.
You must keep written documentation of all employment for your records.
Some of the requirements for your employer are different for STEM OPT than OPT.
- Your employer must be enrolled in E-Verify.
- You cannot be employed through a contractual relationship, self-employment, an agency, or consulting firm (review the information below regarding arrangements with staff/temporary agencies).
Your employer will be required to attest:
- The company has sufficient resources and personnel available to provide appropriate training.
- The company is not replacing a U.S. worker (full-time or part-time, temporary or permanent).
- This employment opportunity will help you in reaching your training goals.
If you have multiple employers, each employer must fulfill the STEM OPT requirements for employment.