The rules and student reporting responsibilities during the 24-month STEM extension are different from those throughout post-completion OPT.

In order to maintain legal F-1 status, a STEM OPT student must regularly check in with their DSO throughout the duration of the extension to validate Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) information and report changes made to the student’s Form I-983 Training Plan by submitting the appropriate request using the International Services Portal.

STEM OPT Reporting Requirements

  • The student must work with their DSO to confirm that their SEVIS record accurately reflects their legal name, residential or mailing address, employer name and address, and status of current employment.
  • The student must submit the STEM OPT Validation (6 or 18 month update) using the International Services Portal.
  • A New Form I-983 is only required if there is a material change to the employer. If not, you do not need to submit this form as part of the 6 or 18 month validation process.
  • The student must complete and submit to their DSO an annual self-evaluation describing the progress of the training experience within 10 days following the conclusion of the training period.
  • The student must submit the STEM OPT Validation (Initial 12 Month Evaluation or Final 24 Month Evaluation) using the International Services Portal and upload the signed Form I-983 Training Plan.
  • The student must report to their DSO any material changes or deviations from the student’s formal training plan which may include, but are not limited to:
    • Any change of the employer’s EIN, Any reduction in student compensation that is not tied to a reduction in hours worked
    • Any significant decrease in hours per week that a student engages in a STEM training opportunity
    • Changes to the employer’s commitments or student’s learning objectives as documented on Form I-983.
  • The student must submit the STEM OPT Validation – Material Changes request using the International Services Portal and upload the signed Form I-983 Training Plan.
  • The student must also submit a new Form I-983 to their DSO within 10 days of starting the new practical training opportunity.
  • The student must submit the STEM OPT Validation – Changing Employers request using the International Services Portal and upload the signed Form I-983 Training Plan.
  • STEM OPT students must report the termination of their practical training experience within 10 days of the event.
  • Students who are granted a 24-month STEM OPT extension are allowed an additional 60 days of unemployment beyond the initial post-completion OPT limit. This means that students who obtain a 24-month STEM OPT extension will receive, for a total of 150 days of allowable unemployment, 90 days during the initial period of post-completion OPT plus an additional 60 days during the extension period.
  • The student must email International Services at is@adelphi.edu to inform them they are no longer employed.
If a STEM OPT student believes that their STEM OPT employer is not complying with the terms and conditions of the 24-month STEM OPT extension regulations, the Form I-983 instructions, and the completed Form I-983 on file with their DSO, the student may:
  • An international student maintaining valid status may be able to travel provided you have the appropriate documents before you travel to ensure a smooth re-entry into the United States. Travel and Re-entry Process
  • To request a travel endorsement, submit the travel endorsement request using the  International Services Portal

Status Maintenance and Employment

F-1 status is dependent upon employment during STEM OPT. This means, as an international student with STEM OPT work authorization, beginning from the start date shown on your Employment Authorization Document (EAD), you cannot accrue more than 150 calendar days of unemployment throughout the entire 24-month period of authorized OPT.

  • A student whose record lacks employer information is considered unemployed.
  • A student unemployed for more than 150 days while on standard post-completion OPT is considered no longer invalid status.

STEM OPT Employment Categories

The following are considered allowable employment activities while on active OPT, provided that the employment is directly related to the student’s academic major, the employer is E-verified, and work is at least 20 hours per week. All employment during the STEM extension must be paid employment.

Paid employment of at least 20 hours per week for an E-Verify employer in a position directly related to the DHS-approved STEM CIP.

Paid employment for more than one employer. All employers must be E-Verify registrants and all positions combined must total more than 20 hours per week, and be related to your academic major.

You may be employed by multiple short-term employers. You must be able to provide evidence of all employers showing that you are working an average of at least 20 hours per week.

You may be engaged in work for hire, commonly referred to as 1099 independent contractor employment, by an employer enrolled in E-Verify performing a service based on a contractual relationship rather than an employment relationship. You must be prepared to provide evidence showing the duration of the contract periods and the name and address of the contracting company.

You may start a business and be self-employed. You must be able to prove that you have the proper business licenses, are registered with E-Verify, and are actively engaged in a business related to your degree program.

The employment agency or consulting firm must be registered with E-Verify, but the third parties contracting with the agency or firm, for which the student is providing services, need not be. You must be able to provide evidence showing that you are working an average of at least 20 hours per week while employed by the agency.

Student and Exchange Visitor Program Resources

The STEM OPT Extension is adjudicated and authorized by the US Citizenship and Immigration Services. Please refer to these government resources for eligibility and application procedures.
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