If you received your degree in certain STEM fields (as designated by the government), you may be eligible for a 24-month extension of Post-Completion OPT beyond your current 12-month OPT period. The 24-month STEM Extension OPT is approved by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). 

OISS does not make the determination about which degrees are eligible for the STEM Extension. The Department of Homeland Security uses the Department of Education CIP code (printed on your I-20 after your major) to determine your eligibility. Eligible STEM fields fall within the two-digit series containing engineering (CIP code 14), biological sciences (CIP code 26), mathematics (CIP code 27), physical sciences (CIP code 40) or a related field.

 

 

STEM OPT Tutorial

Everything you need to know about the STEM OPT Extension is in our STEM OPT Tutorial. We recommend referring to the tutorial before and after applying for the STEM extension. If you have questions about anything mentioned in the tutorial, please contact a STEM extension OISS advisor

How To Apply

  1. Gather all of your USICS STEM OPT Application materials listed in the STEM OPT Tutorial.
  2. Once you are within 90 days of the expiration date of your current OPT, you may submit your STEM OPT Request to OISS in UCSBGlobal.
  3. OISS will issue a new I-20 recommending the STEM OPT extension starting on the day following the expiration of your current EAD and ending 24 months later.
  4. OISS will email your I-20 to you when it is ready.
  5. You are responsible for submitting the complete packet to USCIS.
  6. There is a charge a $300 processing fee for STEM OPT Extensions which you can pay online

Please note that the USCIS will not process an OPT application that is incomplete and will request that you submit the missing documents or information.  This will delay the issuance of your OPT authorization.

Student Responsibilities

  • Report any changes to name, residential/mailing address, employer name and address.
  • Meet reporting requirements at the intervals listed in the "Reporting Intervals" section below
  • Report any periods of unemployment
  • Student and employer must complete Form I-983 Training Plan and update as soon as any material changes to employment take place
  • Submit new Form I-983 within 10 days of starting new employment at a different STEM OPT-eligible employer
  • Report employer/training noncompliance to ICE/DHS

NOTE: Students on post-completion OPT may not accrue more than 90 days of unemployment under the initial 12-month period of OPT. Students granted a 24-month OPT extension may not accrue a total of more than 150 days of unemployment during the total 36-month OPT period.

You may refer to SEVP's STEM OPT Reporting Requirements chart. 

Employer Responsibilities

  • Must be registered in E-Verify
  • Must agree to report any termination or change in employment to DSO within 5 business days of the change
  • Must implement formal training program
    • Provide training that is commensurate with those of U.S workers in duties, hours, and compensation (as does not displace U.S. workers)
    • Student and employer must complete Form I-983 Training Plan and update as soon as any material changes to employment take place
    • Must review and sign student’s annual self-evaluation

You may refer to SEVP's STEM OPT Reporting Requirements chart. 

Reporting Intervals

6 months

  • Submit the STEM OPT 6-Month Validation Report e-form in UCSBGlobal (no I-983 upload needed)
  • Update living address using the Personal Information Update e-form in UCSBGlobal (if applicable)

12 months

  • Submit the STEM OPT Annual Validation Report e-form in UCSBGlobal, where you will upload page 5 of your I-983
  • Update living address using the Personal Information Update e-form in UCSBGlobal (if applicable)

18 months

  • Submit the STEM OPT 6-Month Validation Report e-form in UCSBGlobal (no I-983 upload needed)
  • Update living address using the Personal Information Update e-form in UCSBGlobal (if applicable)

24 months

  • Submit the STEM OPT Annual Validation Report e-form in UCSBGlobal, where you will upload page 5 of your I-983
  • Update living address using the Personal Information Update e-form in UCSBGlobal (if applicable)