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If you are currently working on post-completion OPT and you have completed a US degree in a STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) field, you may be eligible for a 24-month extension of your OPT. This extension applies only if certain requirements are met.

Eligibility Requirements for the STEM Extension of OPT

To be able to apply for the STEM Extension of OPT, you must meet the following requirements:

  • You are currently in F-1 status and working using post-completion OPT
    • You must be in an approved period of post-completion OPT before you can qualify for the STEM extension - you cannot apply directly for the STEM extension without having approval for post-completion OPT first
    • You cannot apply for the STEM Extension once your post-completion OPT period expires
  • You have completed a US degree in an eligible STEM field
    • The degree can be your most recent degree from Tufts, or an earlier degree you received from Tufts or another US institution
    • The degree must have been issued by an accredited US college or university within the past ten years
    • The US college or university must currently be approved to sponsor F-1 students
    • You cannot have used the degree previously to get a STEM Extension (only one extension per STEM degree)
  • You have a full-time job offer of at least 20 hours per week or more from a US E-verify employer in your STEM field (see below)
    • Volunteer and self-employment positions cannot be used to request the STEM extension
    • Job offers from employers who are not enrolled in E-verify cannot serve as STEM employers

You can be authorized for the STEM Extension of OPT only twice across your lifetime. If you have already been approved for the STEM Extension twice, you are not eligible for additional extensions.

STEM Extension Eligibility

Preparing and Submitting Your STEM Application

STEM Extension Reporting, Employment, and Update Requirements

Stopping or Ending Your STEM OPT Employment

Your STEM Extension employment comes to an end whenever any of these takes place:

  • You reach the end of your 24 month extension, after which you have a 60 day grace period to prepare for departure from the US or to take other steps to maintain your status
  • You voluntarily end your STEM employment and depart the US
  • Your status changes from F-1 to H-1B or another status, thus ending your STEM Extension authorization on the date the change becomes effective
  • You start a new academic program at a different educational level and/or transfer to another school (see section below on study during OPT)

Step 1: Prepare and Submit a Final Self-Evaluation

In all of the above situations, you should prepare a final self-evaluation report (based on page 5 of your most recent Form I-983). You may need to prepare more than one self-evaluation if you were authorized to work for more than one STEM employer. The final self-evaluation is your evaluation of your STEM job experience. It must be signed by you and by your employer before submitting it to the International Center.

Students and employers may physically sign the Form I-983 or input their own electronic signature. Effective September 18, 2023,  SEVP accepts electronic signatures in the following formats :

  • Electronic signatures using software programs or applications. Students and employers may sign all signature fields on the Form I-983 using electronic signatures produced with software programs or applications.
  • Electronically reproduced copies of a signature. Students and employers may sign all signature fields on the Form I-983 using digitally reproduced copies of a signature. A digitally reproduced copy may be a scanned image of a physical signature.

Step 2: Notify the International Center

  • If you are completing your 24-month STEM Extension OPT, upload a Final Evaluation Form by submitting a STEM OPT Validation Report on the International Center Portal Request Center.
  • If you are leaving the US before the end of your STEM extension is over, or if your status is changing from F-1 to another status, send an email to the International Center at regarding your plans. Indicate your name and intended date of departure (or the date your status will change from F-1 to your new status) so we can be sure your SEVIS record is completed or updated correctly. Provide a copy of your final self-evaluation with your email.
Study During STEM OPT

During your STEM Extension period, engaging in study is subject to limitations. In general, during your STEM Extension, you are expected to be pursuing the STEM related training opportunity (as outlined in your Form I-983) for at least 20 hours per week.

Study during your STEM Extension OPT is permitted only if the study is recreational or avocational in nature (i.e., relating to personal interests or hobbies). Short job-related trainings, workshops, and other courses are permitted. However, starting a new academic program (whether at Tufts or another school) may lead to termination of your STEM Extension. Please consult with an International Center advisor if you are considering a new program during your STEM period.

Other Information

Travel on STEM OPT

  • While your STEM Extension application is in process with USCIS, the International Center recommends that you not travel outside the US
    • In addition, if your employer is sponsoring for an H-1B work visa while you are working on STEM, consult with your H-1B employer about travel outside the US
  • Otherwise, travel once your STEM Extension has been approved is similar to international travel while on post-completion OPT - review our Travel Resources and information page