The STEM Optional Practical Training (OPT) extension is a 24-month period of temporary training that directly relates to an F-1 student’s program of study in an approved field.

Eligible F-1 students with STEM degrees who finish their program of study and participate in an initial period of regular post-completion OPT (often for 12-months) have the option to apply for a STEM OPT extension. Students may not apply for STEM OPT extensions during the 60-day grace period following an initial period of regular post-completion OPT.

Qualifications for a STEM OPT Extension

To qualify for a 24-month STEM OPT extension, an F-1 student participating in an initial period of regular post-completion OPT must:

  • Have a degree in an eligible STEM field from a Student and Exchange Visitor Program-certified school that is accredited when the student submits their STEM OPT extension application to USCIS.
  • Pursue their STEM OPT extension through an employer that is enrolled in USCIS’s E-Verify employment eligibility verification program.
  • Select a STEM OPT employer that provides the student with formal training and learning objectives.
  • Work a minimum of 20 hours per week per employer.

DHS STEM Eligible Degrees at Adelphi University

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