F-1 students with STEM degrees can apply for a 24-month extension of their optional postgraduate study (OPT).
Some F-1 students who have completed STEM courses, ie with a degree in science, technology, engineering or mathematics, may apply for a 24-month extension of their optional internship (OPT). We will tell you what STEM OPT extension means and how to get it in this article. A student must complete their internship through an employer participating in the USCIS E-Verify Eligibility Verification Program to receive the extension. STEM OPT is a 24-month temporary training course linked to an F-1 student’s curriculum in a suitable STEM field or location.
Optional Internship (OPT) is a period during which undergraduate and postgraduate students with an F-1 visa who have completed or are continuing their one-year study programs are authorized by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to work for one year in their student visa in order to obtain practical training to complete their education.
The STEM OPT extension is available to F-1 students (eligible) with STEM degrees who have completed their programs and are in regular OPT for a period of 12 months. For OPT, a regular work visa is issued for a period of 12 months. If they qualify for a 24-month extension, their total OPT time will be 36 months. Students must retire after their EAD card expires, but they have a 60-day grace period to remain in the United States.
Eligibility for STEM OPT extension
To be eligible for a 24-month extension, the candidate must meet the following criteria:
- They have received an OPT and are now enrolled in an OPT program.
- When applying for STEM OPT extension, the candidate must have received a bachelor’s, master’s or doctoral degree from a school accredited by a recognized accreditation body by the US Department of Education and certified by the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP). .
- The student’s employer must participate in the USCIS E-Verify Eligibility Verification Program where it seeks to extend the STEM OPT.
- Must work for an employer that meets all the standards in the STEM OPT Employer Responsibilities module.
Apply for OPT extension
- Up to 90 days before the expiration of the existing OPT employment permit, the student must submit Form I-765.
- The cost of the application
- The employer’s name as it appears on E-Verify
- Employer E-Verify Company Identity Number or valid E-Verify Company Identification Number
- Copy of STEM student degree
- Form I-20, Certificate of Eligibility for Non-Immigrant Student Status, approved by your DSO within the last 60 days E-Verify Client Company Identification Number
After receiving the STEM OPT extension
Students who have been granted a STEM OPT extension must complete the following tasks:
Within ten days of the change, report it to your DSD:
- The legal name of the student
- The student’s home address
- Student’s email address
- The name of the student’s employer
- The student’s employment address
Even if no information has changed, STEM OPT students should report to their DSOs every six months.
Unemployment during the OPT period
During his OPT time, a student may remain unemployed for a specified number of days. However, during the 24-month STEM OPT extension period, DHS allows students to work for an additional 60 days. Students with normal OPT can stay unemployed for up to 90 days. However, if they receive a 24-month extension, they will be unemployed for an additional 60 days, bringing their total number of unemployed days to 150.
CAP GAP extension
Students who have applied for and received an H-1B Maximum Gap Extension of their F-1 status and, if applicable, an OPT work authorization upon completion, can apply for an H1-B Maximum Vacancy Extension of their F- 1 status. 1 and, where applicable, the OPT employment permit upon completion.
Under the H1-B Cap-Gap Extension, students with pending or accepted H1-B applications may remain in the United States on F-1 status until the start of the approved H1-B term. Even if the OPT warranty or F-1 grace period expires before October 1, they are allowed to remain in this status.
Employer responsibility STEM OPT
F-1 students may be eligible for the extension only if their employer signs Form I-983, which the employer must certify for F-1 students. The employer who signs the F-1 Student Training Program must be the same company that employs him / her and provides him / her with practical training experience. If they meet all the legal requirements, STEM OPT candidates can also work in a small company.
The company must be in good standing with E-Verify and have the necessary resources to carry out the planned training plan.
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