A new regulation, published April 8, 2008, allows F-1 students on OPT who have received a degree in the fields listed below, referred to as “STEM” fields (science, technology, engineering, or mathematics), to apply for a one time 17-month extension of their regular 12 month OPT period. You will NOT apply for 29 months up front. The 17 month extension will allow students to have continuous work authorization at least through October 1st of any given following year, in case they do not get an H1B visa in their first year after graduating. Students who timely file an application for the 17-month OPT extension will be able to continue employment while the extension application is pending, until a final decision on the I-765 or for 180 days, whichever comes first.

You are eligible to apply for a 17-month extension, beyond the initial 12 months of OPT, if you meet all of the following conditions:

  • You are currently approved for post-completion OPT.
  • You completed a bachelor's, master's, or doctoral degree in a science, technology, engineering, or math (STEM) field. Visit the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement website for the STEM Designated Degree Program List.
  • You have a job or job offer from an E-Verify employer.