17-Month 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:
- Report the change in employment to IPS via the 17-Month STEM Extension Report Form (we will update SEVIS).
- 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
- 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.
FAILURE TO COMPLY WITH ANY OF THE ABOVE REQUIREMENTS CONSTITUTES A VIOLATION OF YOUR LEGAL F-1 STATUS.