The 12-month period of post-completion OPT can be extended by 24 months for certain science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) degree holders. Check out the STEM Designated Degree Program List to determine if your field and CIP Code are included in the list.
How to Apply If You Are Currently on 12-month of Post-Completion OPT:
To apply you must complete the following forms, and submit them to an ISP adviser.
Work directly with the ISP advisor to complete the form I-765 online. Needed documentation in digital format includes:
- Photocopy of I-20 page 1 with your signature and page two with the OPT recommendation.
- Form I-94 number
- Passport color photo
- Photocopies of the identity page of your passport, entry visa stamp with a photo
- Previously issued EAD (front and back)
- Official UMM transcript and diploma
OPT applications must be received by USCIS no later than 60 days after your expected date of program completion that is listed on your I-20.
International Student Program must process a recommendation for your OPT request. We will prepare a new I-20.
Requirements While on STEM OPT
Students who file a timely application can continue employment while the extension application is pending, until a final decision on the Form I-765 or for 180 days, whichever comes first.
Students are responsible for meeting all reporting requirements listed below. Failure to report any of these changes may result in the termination of your F-1 status.
Requirements while on 24-month STEM OPT Extension
Update your U.S. mailing address and phone number in MyU within 10 days of any change.
You must provide a copy of your EAD to ISP. Upon receipt of the EAD, submit a scanned copy to the ISP.
You must report to ISP the following information every six months starting from the date your 24-Month STEM OPT begins.
1. U of M Student ID #
2. SEVIS ID #
3. Your name
4. Your address
5. Employer’s name
6. Employer’s address
7. Status of your current employment
Send the report no earlier than 15 days before and no later than 30 days after the 6, 12, and 18-month dates from the start date of your 24-Month STEM OPT. NOTE: You are responsible for keeping track of these dates.
You must complete two self-evaluations on the Form I-983 Training Plan. The first evaluation must be completed 12 months after the 24-Month STEM OPT start date on your EAD. The final evaluation must be completed at the end of the 24 month STEM OPT. Submit evaluations via email an ISP advisor. NOTE: You are responsible for keeping track of these dates.
You must report to ISP within 10 days of the following changes:
- Adding, changing, or ending employment (you must also complete a new Form I-983 Training Planeach time you change employers.)
- Changes in employer’s name or address
- Material changes to an existing Form I-983
- Legal name changes
Notify ISP if you decide to permanently depart the U.S. or change your visa status during your 24-Month STEM OPT.
- You may accumulate up to 90 days of unemployment during the initial 12-month period of OPT. You are allowed an additional 60 days of unemployment (150 days total). If you fail to report employment to ISP, this time may be counted as unemployment.
- Employment must be more than 20 hours per week.
- Employment must be paid.
- Employer must be enrolled in E-Verify.
- Employment may include multiple employers. Employment through contractual relationship, self-employment, an agency, or consulting firm may not be allowed for the 24-Month STEM OPT.
- Keep written documentation of all employment for your records.
Travel During 24-Month STEM OPT:
- Under normal circumstances, a student who has both (1) an EAD for 24-Month STEM OPT and (2) a job or job offer should not experience difficulty reentering the US. If either of these two conditions is missing, then the student is assuming risk.
- Travel signatures are only valid for 6 months. Be sure you have a current and valid signature on your I-20.
- Per SEVP guidance, overseas travel is not recommended when your STEM OPT application is pending and your initial post-completion OPT EAD has expired.