As you begin to think about applying to participate in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) optional practical training (OPT) with U.S. Citizenship Immigration Services (USCIS), be sure to meet with your designated school official (DSO) to ensure your eligibility.
Best Practices for Students
Get started with these resources. Visit the STEM OPT Hub for resources on STEM OPT, including links to resources on USCIS.gov and ICE.gov. For specific instructions to help you start the application process, visit the Applying for Optional Practical Training page.
Determine your eligibility. You can determine whether or not you are eligible for a 24-month STEM OPT extension by checking to see if your Classification of Instructional Programs (CIP) code appears on the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) STEM Designated Degree Program List on ICE.gov.
Recognize a fraudulent employer. As you begin searching for employment opportunities, make sure to watch out for signs of fraudulent employers, which might include employer websites that are vague with no examples of client work, contact information or social media accounts, or job activities that do not match the description the employer provided to your school. Read Recognize the Signs of a Potentially Fraudulent Employer for additional tips.
Understand your reporting requirements. In order to maintain their legal F-1 status, a STEM OPT student must regularly check in with their DSO throughout the duration of the extension to validate Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) information and report changes made to the student's Form I-983, “Training Plan for STEM OPT.” Save the Students: STEM OPT Reporting Requirements page to understand your requirements.
See these resources for additional information about OPT: