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Reminder: STEM OPT Students Must Train with Bona Fide Employers

September 7, 2016

Students participating in a 24-month science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) optional practical training (OPT) extension must train with a bona fide employer who can sign the Form I-983, “Training Plan for STEM OPT Students.”  

To be bona fide, the STEM OPT employer must be enrolled in U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service’s (USCIS) E-Verify employment eligibility program. The STEM OPT employer must also provide the student with formal training and learning objectives.

Students may complete their training with a startup business, as long as all regulatory requirements are met. However, the startup business must be enrolled in USCIS’s E-Verify program. 

Please note, STEM OPT participants cannot provide employer attestation (i.e., signatures) on the Form I-983 on their own behalf. The STEM OPT employer must provide all signatures on the Form I-983.

For more information about the regulatory requirements for participating in the STEM OPT extension, visit the STEM OPT Help Hub and watch the SEVP Special Report: STEM OPT Webinar. We recommend downloading the corresponding Frequently Asked Questions document for easy reference.

Have a question that’s not answered on Study in the States? Contact the SEVP Response Center. 

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