17-Month STEM Extension

Read about the recent legal decision regarding the STEM Extension


The 17-Month STEM Extension OPT allows some students who have degrees in certain Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) fields to apply for an additional 17 months of OPT, giving them a total of 29 months of work authorization.  

To be eligible for the 17-Month STEM Extension, you must:

  • be working for an employer who uses the E-Verify tracking system, and
  • have completed your STEM degree (check the CIP Code on the STEM Designated Degree Programs List and compare with your "primary major" on page 3 of your I-20)

USCIS recommends applying 3 to 4 months prior to the expiration date on the Post-completion OPT EAD. Download the 17-Month STEM Extension Application.  You may email your documents to IPS or mail them via USPS/FedEx.  Please make sure to include a pre-paid self-addressed return envelope. 


Student reporting requirements while on the STEM Extension OPT


If you are changing employers while your STEM Extension Application is pending at USCIS:

  1. Report the change in employment to IPS via the 17-Month STEM Extension Report Form (we will update SEVIS).
  2. Submit a) an amended Form I-765 to the appropriate USCIS Service Center, providing the new employers’ E-verify number, and b) a copy of the USCIS Receipt Notice for the first Form I-765
  3. Submit a brief letter explaining the submission of the new documents

Mandatory 6-Month Reporting:

Every 6 months you must submit a validation report to IPS. These reports begin on the date the STEM Extension starts and end when your F-1 status ends, or when the STEM extension ends, whichever is first. The validation report must include:

  • Full legal name
  • SEVIS ID number
  • Current mailing and residential address
  • Name and address of the current employer
  • Date you began working for the current employer

Students pursuing a period of 17-Month Extension OPT MUST:

  • Work/volunteer in a position for an E-Verify employer (paid or unpaid is acceptable)
  • Work only in a position related to your STEM degree
  • Have no more than 120 days of unemployment time during the entire period of Post-completion OPT (regular Post–completion OPT and the 17 Month STEM Extension OPT). This will constitute a violation of your F-1 status.  Go to our Guide to Unemployment (pdf) for additional information.