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International Student and Scholar Services


OPT STEM Extension

On May 10, 2016, new STEM OPT Extension regulations went into effect which changed the requirements and benefits of this program. For the latest and most complete information on the 24-month STEM OPT extension, refer to the Department of Homeland Security STEM OPT HUB and the USCIS STEM OPT Overview.

You may download our instructions and application to apply for the 24-month OPT Extension for STEM majors [STEM OPT Application].

Students can submit their I-765 application to USCIS up to 90 days before the end date on their EAD and it must be received by USCIS before the current EAD expires.

NOTE : As of September 17, 2018, USCIS will only accept Forms I-765 that have the date 05/31/2018 printed in the lower left corner of each page. If you are unsure if you have the latest form, download it directly from USCIS.


Eligibility for the 24-month extension of OPT is more restrictive. Students must confirm that they and their employer qualify.

  • Student must currently be on Post-Completion OPT and must meet one of the following criteria:
    1. Have completed bachelor, master, or doctoral degree in a science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM) field; 
    2. Have completed all course requirements for the degree, excluding any thesis requirement or equivalent; OR
    3. Have completed a STEM degree in the U.S. within the last 10 years. (See Eligible CIP Codes section below)
  • Employer must be enrolled in USCIS' E-Verify employment eligibility verification program.
  • Employment must be paid work for at least 20 hours per week.
  • Employer must complete and sign Form I-983.

Visit the Study in the States STEM OPT Hub for more detailed information regarding STEM OPT eligibility requirements.

Eligible CIP Codes

Students can determine if their major qualifies for the 24-month extension of OPT by comparing the major printed on their I-20 with the DHS list of eligible CIP Codes. On the I-20, the CIP Code is located on page 1 under Program of Study.


Students on Post-Completion OPT who have timely filed Form I-765 for STEM OPT with USCIS can continue working for up to 180 days after the expiration date of their current OPT EAD while the request is being processed. 8 CFR 274a.12(b)(6)(iv)

An employer who needs to re-verify an F-1 student's employment eligibility during this period should review the instructions in the USCIS Handbook for Employers.

Reporting Requirements

While on STEM OPT, you must continue to meet certain reporting requirements in order to maintain your F-1 status. Failure to report STEM OPT employer details within 10 days of starting a job or changing jobs could result in the termination of your F-1 status by DHS.

Before reporting a new employer, please ensure that the company meets the DHS criteria listed in the Basic Eligibility Requirements section above.

Per immigration regulations, ISSS cannot update SEVIS without ALL of the following details.

  • Form I-983 Training Plan for new employer
  • E-Verify number for new employer (different from EIN)
  • Last date of employment with previous employer (if applicable)*

Please email [email protected] with the requested details and your DU ID so that we can properly update SEVIS.

*The I-983 Final Evaluation (page 5) for the previous company should be submitted to ISSS.


Students on STEM OPT are also required to provide updates on their employment every six months based on the start date of the STEM OPT EAD. We will need the following information:

  • Your full legal name, as it appears on your passport
  • Your SEVIS ID number (found in the upper right hand corner of your I-20)
  • Your E-Verify employer's company name
  • The complete work site address where you are currently employed
  • Provide your current residential address.
  • Self-evaluation on Page 5 of Form I-983 [12-month and 24-month reports only]


You must also report the following information within 10 days to ISSS:

  • Change of residential or mailing address including phone number or email address
  • Change of legal name
  • Change of immigration status
  • Permanent departure from the United States

For an overview of what details need to be reported, please refer to the DHS STEM OPT Reporting Requirements handout.