STEM Extension

Science, Technology, Engineering and Math.

Optional Practical Training (OPT) can be extended for STEM majors for an additional 17 months after the initial 12 month OPT for a total of 29 months.  The applicant must be in a currently approved 12-month OPT period.  For complete details, please review our policy page.


  • STEM extension is based on the student’s major, not the student’s degree concentration.
  • Be in a current period of initial, approved, post-completion OPT (1st 12 month approval)
  • Have current employment or an offer of employment from an employer participating in the E-Verify program.
  • Have one of the following majors with the accompanying CIP codes.
  • To determine your CIP code, look on page 3 of your I-20 for the 6-digit numerical code listed directly before your major at the top:
    • Actuarial Science (52.1304)
    • Analytics (52.1399)
    • Astronomy (40.0201)
    • Biology/Biological Sciences (26.0101)
    • Business Analysis (14.3701)
    • Chemistry (40.0501)
    • Computer Science (11.0701)
    • Computer Information Systems (11.0101)
    • Decision Sciences (14.3701)
    • Educational Research (13.0603)
    • Geology/Earth Science (40.0601)
    • Information Systems Audit & Control (11.1003)
    • Mathematics (27.0101)
    • Mathematics & Statistics (27.9999)
    • Neuroscience (26.1501)
    • Operations Research (14.3701)
    • Physics (40.0801)


Application Timeline

Students must apply for the STEM extension before the expiration date listed on their current EAD card (Employment Authorization Document) issued by USCIS. USCIS recommends that students apply 90-120 days prior to their EAD expiration date. ISSS recommends eligible students apply no later than one month prior to the EAD expiration date, to allow time for formal receipt processing at USCIS.


  • Log-into iStart
  • If you are unfamiliar with iStart, review the Welcome to iStart and intro video here.
  • Under F-1 Practical Training, complete the Optional Practical Training (OPT) e-form.
  • Advisor will review and send you a new I-20 reflecting your STEM request (updated page 3).
  • Review I-20 for accuracy and mail the following documents to USCIS in order:
    • Check in U.S. funds from a U.S. bank, or U.S. money order for $380, payable to Department of Homeland Security
    • Two (2) passport-style photos with I-94# lightly penciled on the back of photos. See for specific details. Photos need to be within the last 30 days.
    • Completed Form I-765 (signed in blue ink). Make sure to include the proper STEM Code (c) (3) (C) in section #16 of I-765 and to include in section #17 the name of your degree, employer’s name as listed in E-Verify, as well as your employer’s E-Verify number. (Failure to include a valid company E-Verify number will result in delay or denial of application).
    • Original, signed copy of I-20 (print, sign, and date your I-20 on page 1 with blue ink).
    • Copy of passport biographical page
    • Copy of Visa Stamp or Change of Status Approval Notice if you changed status in the U.S.
    • Copy of I-94 card (front & back)
    • Copy of EAD Card
    • Georgia State University transcript, showing conferral of degree in one of the STEM categories listed above
    • Copy of diploma conferring degree in one of the STEM categories listed above
    • Job offer letter (optional)

ISSS strongly recommends you make copies of all documents you send USCIS for your records. For mailing addresses for the STEM application, please see below.

USCIS Mailing Address

  • For Regular U.S. Postal Delivery: 

U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services (USCIS), P.O. Box 660867, Dallas, Texas 75266

  • For Express Mail Delivery (e.g. Federal Express, UPS, Express Mail):

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), ATTN: AOS, 2501 S. State Highway 121 Business, Suite 400, Lewisville, Texas 75067

Dates of Approval

Upon approval by USCIS, the STEM extension period will begin the day after the expiration of the first OPT period (as listed on the EAD card), and will end 17 months after that. For example, if the current EAD expires on October 1, the STEM period will begin on October 2 of the same year.

Working BEFORE STEM Approval

If your current EAD has expired and a STEM extension is pending with USCIS, you may continue to work for up to 180 days while the extension is pending. Upon approval, USCIS will issue and mail you a new EAD card showing the extended dates.

Working DURING STEM Approval

Students on STEM OPT employment must:

  • Work in a paid position for an E-Verify employer at least 20 hours per week
  • Work in a position related to the STEM degree
  • Report within 10 days of the following:
    • Legal name change
    • Change in residential or mailing address
    • Change in employer (provide the employer name, address, and start date)
    • Loss of employment
  • Report every 6 months from the start date of the STEM period with the following:
    • Full legal name
    • Current mailing and residential address
    • Name and address of current employer
    • Date the student began working for current employer

      To Report, log-into iStart

    • If you are unfamiliar with iStart, review the Welcome to iStart and intro video here.
    • Under F-1 Practical Training, complete the OPT and OPT STEM Employment Reporting.

Students on STEM OPT must NOT:

  • Work for any employer who is not enrolled in E-Verify
  • Accrue more than 120 days of unemployment during the entire 29-month OPT period


H1-B a temporary work visa.

CAP the annual limit on the number of H1-B visas that are granted.

GAP remaining in-status with work authorization during the change of status period (the gap).

All F-1 students who are currently on OPT, have timely filed for an H-1B, and have a USCIS issued I-797C receipt from immigration will automatically have their status and OPT work permission extended until the effective H1-B start date. No application is required. Contact an ISSS advisor for more information.

Frequently Asked Questions Regarding OPT Extension Rules

No, you can only apply for the 17-month extension within the last 90 days of your current OPT.
An F-1 student may change their major and request a new I-20 from ISSS. However, please be aware this may cause delays in completing your degree. An F-1 student currently on OPT cannot change their major in order to be eligible for the extension.
E-Verify is a free internet-based system operated by United States Immigration and Citizenship Services in partnership with the Social Security Administration, which determines new employees' eligibility to work. Understand very few companies are currently participating in the E-Verify program.
Speak with your employer about enrolling in E-verify and direct them to the USCIS website for more information.
Students will have a 60 day grace period from the notification date of the denial to depart the United States, obtain admission to a new F-1 SEVIS-approved school, or file an application for a change of status.
Students will have 60 days after their OPT end date to either depart the United States, obtain admission to a new F-1 SEVIS-approved school, or file an application for a change of status.