Students who are applying for the STEM OPT can be granted a seven-month extension of their status if they have previously applied for a 17-month extension. The application is Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization and all must STEM is an acronym for students in the fields of engineering, technology, science, and math and the extension will allow the students protection to pursue OPT, or “optional practical training.
Students may qualify for the extension under the following conditions:
- The applicant is currently in a 17-month extension of a qualified STEM program.
- The applicant has earned a bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degree in a qualified STEM program and is currently pursuing OPT post-graduation.
- The applicant’s employer is using the E-Verify program.
- The applicant has not previously applied for a 17-month extension.
- The applicant has applied for the 7-month period between the May 10, 2016, and August 8, 2016.
- The applicant applied within 60 days of the school’s recommended 24-month extension of OPT.
- There are at least 150 days left of employment authorization left on the applicant’s extension.
- The applicant, school, and employer meet the requirements for the 24-month STEM OPT extension.
If the application for OPT has expired, then the student can have up to 180 days to continue working while the extension is still being processed. However, this can only be completed under the following conditions:
- The applicant is currently in post-completion OPT.
- The applicant has filed for a 17-month extension by the appropriate deadline.
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