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The STEM OPT extension is an additional 24 months (2 years) of post-completion employment authorization for F-1 students in the STEM fields.
You must have completed at least a bachelors degree or higher in a STEM field
STEM OPT extension is available (if you qualify) after completing your OPT. You have to request STEM OPT after you complete your 12 months of regular OPT.
Your STEM degree has to be on an approved DHS (Department of Homeland Security) designated program at the time of your application in order to qualify.
You can apply for STEM OPT up to 90 days prior to when your OPT work permit expires.
Additional STEM OPT requirements:
1. You must have a job offer
2. The company offering your the job must be enrolled in and using the E-Verify program (Employment Eligibility Federal Database System).
3. Your job offer must be for at least 20 hours per week
4. Your employer will have to fill out a plan on how you are to receive the formal training and meet your learning objectives (including specifics on who will oversee your work).
Things to REMEMBER about STEM OPT:
1. You CANNOT volunteer.
2. You CANNOT be self-employed
3. You CAN change employers but you must report the changes
4. You are only allowed to have STEM OPT Twice over the course of your academic career.
5. You are NOT allowed to apply for STEM OPT during the 60 day grace period following the completion of your 1st OPT.
Many Masters degree programs have added additional academic requirements in fields like Data analysis for MBA programs.