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On March 11, 2016, the Department of Homeland Security published a final rule allowing certain F-1 students who receive science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) degrees, and who meet other specified requirements, to apply for a 24-month extension of their post-completion OPT. The 24-month extension will replace the 17-month STEM OPT extension previously available to STEM students. Eligible students may begin applying for a 24-month STEM OPT extension on May 10, 2016.
Before applying for the OPT STEM Extension, please view this Power Point for further details
OPT Students Who Currently Have (or Have an Application Pending on May 10, 2016 for) a 17-month Extension
The new rule authorizing the 24-month STEM OPT extension will go into effect on May 10, 2016. If you currently have a 17-month STEM OPT extension, you may apply to add 7 months to your STEM OPT period on or after May 10, 2016, as long as you have at least 150 days of valid employment authorization remaining on the date you properly file your new Form I-765. Please note that you must properly file your Form I-765, with fee, on or before August 8, 2016. Applications with less than 150 days of validity remaining and/or applications filed after August 8, 2016, will be denied.
Until May 9, 2016, USCIS will continue to adjudicate STEM OPT applications under 17-month STEM OPT rules. Any STEM OPT extension applications filed and approved before May 10, 2016, will be granted a 17-month extension. This includes applications in which the student has mistakenly requested a 24-month extension before being eligible to do so.
If you currently have an application for a 17-month STEM OPT extension that remains pending on May 10, 2016, USCIS will send you a request for evidence (RFE) to allow you to demonstrate that you are eligible for a 24-month STEM OPT extension.
To apply for the additional 7 months to your STEM OPT, you will need to complete the AU International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) STEM OPT Extension Request Form. For additional details on the new STEM OPT rules, please go to the USCIS website. If you still have questions after reviewing all of the information, please contact your AU ISSS Advisor.
Last Updated: May 24, 2016