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STEM OPT Now 24 Months

By Thomas M Lee

STEM EXTENSIONS INCREASED FROM 17 MONTHS to 24 MONTHS!

Effective May 10, 2016, the STEM Extension OPT program has been expanded to extend the length of the STEM Extension from 17 months to 24 months.

STEM OPT Extensions are available to students who completed a degree in the science, technology, engineering, or mathematics fields at US colleges or universities in F-1 status. A list of degrees eligible for STEM Extensions is available on the Immigration Customs and Enforcement website here.

The new STEM Extension rules also include the following:

(1) Employers participating in the STEM Extension program must incorporate a formal training program that includes concrete learning objectives with proper oversight.

(2) All STEM employers taking part in the program must also participate in e-verify.

(3) Students must work at least 20 hours per week per employer to qualify for STEM Extensions.


(4) Students are now permitted a total of 150 days aggregate unemployment while on OPT. Students continue to be permitted 90 days aggregate of unemployment during the initial period of OPT. Students are now permitted an additional 60 days of unemployment during the STEM OPT Extension period.

The USCIS has also created a STEM OPT Hub website which includes resources for schools, students, and employers to assist in the transition from the old STEM OPT program to the new STEM OPT program.

Please note that the information we are providing here in our website is not meant to create an attorney-client relationship nor is it to be relied on as legal advice. For a free legal consultation by phone with attorney Thomas M. Lee, please call us or send us an email.

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