OPT Extension for STEM

Eligible Visas:
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Students with degrees in Science, Technology, Engineering or Math (STEM) whose I-20 indicates, on page 3, one of the codes designated by SEVIS may be eligible for a 17 month extension. Check the Designated Degree Program List to see if you are eligible.

  • Must have a job offer from an employer enrolled in E-Verify in a job directly related to major area of study.
  • Must apply before current 12-month period of OPT expires.
  • Must not have previously received a 17-month OPT extension after earning a STEM degree.


Application must be submitted to OISS and received by USCIS prior to the end of your current OPT.  Students can submit application to USCIS as early as 120 days prior to the end of the current OPT period but no later than the current end date.

A student who timely files will be able to continue employment while the extension application is pending, until a final decision is made by USCIS or for 180 days, whichever comes first.

USCIS currently takes 90-120 days to process OPT applications.

17 Month OPT Extension - How to Apply

After verifying the student's eligibility, certifying that the student's degree is on the STEM Designated Degree Program List, and ensuring that the student is aware of his or her responsibilities for maintaining status while on OPT, OISS will recommend the 17-month OPT extension in SEVIS.  Student will receive an I-20 from OISS recommending the additional OPT period.  The start date of the extension begins on the day after the expiration of the initial post-completion OPT and ends 17 months thereafter, regardless of the date the actual extension is approved.



Complete the OPT STEM Extension Form

To request a OPT Stem extension you must first complete the OPT Stem Extension Request form, then email oiss@yale.eduwith the Subject line "STEM OPT Request".


If you are not in New Haven, you can submit the request form along with a complete I-765 form via email attachment or fax to the attention of Erin Gustafson at 203-432-7166.  If you are eligible for an STEM extension, OISS will issue you a new I-20 with the STEM extension recommendation on page 3.  OISS will email you to find out how you would like to receive your new I-20.  Sign line #11 of your new I-20, make a copy for your OPT application, and retain the original for future travel.



Submit Application Materials to to USCIS


Form I-765, to be downloaded from USCIS website
Check the box:
“Renewal of my permission to accept employment”

  • Question 16: Eligibility code (c) (3) (C)
  • Question 17: List degree, employer name and Employer’s E-Verify Number
  • Make sure the address used on the I-765 will be good for at least 90 days into the future


A copy of pages 1 and 3 of the SEVIS Form I-20 recommending the 17-month STEM OPT extension, signed by you in #11.


Copy of pages 1 and 3 of the previous I-20 recommending the current 12 month period.


A copy of your I-94 form (both sides) and a copy of the visa and identification pages from your passport (ID pages include your photo, passport expiration date, and passport #)


Copy of Yale degree accompanied by a degree verification letter from the Office of the Registrar.  To request the degree verification call 203-432-2330.   A transcript is also acceptable. 


Two recent photographs per the attached instructions from USCIS. You can write your name and SEVIS number in pencil on the back of the photos.  Do not cut to size or staple.


A copy of your current Employment Authorization Document (EAD)


A check for $380 payable to US Department of Homeland Security (filing fee)



Mailing Your Application to USCIS

Instructions for submission can be found on the OPT submission page.

Reporting Requirements


Student must report to OISS within 10 days any change of:

  • legal name
  • residential or mailing address
  • employer name
  • employer address, and/or
  • loss of employment

Student must report to OISS every 6 months starting from the beginning date of the 17-month STEM extension until F-1 OPT status ends.  This includes when the student changes educational levels at the same school, transfers to another school, or the 17-month OPT extension ends, whichever is first. The validation is a confirmation that the student's name and address, employer name and address, and/or loss of employment is current and accurate.   


The E-Verify employer must agree to report the termination or departure of the student within 48 hours to OISS or through "any other means or process identified by DHS." An employer must consider a worker to have departed when the employer knows the student has left employment, or if the student has not reported for work for a period of five consecutive business days without the employer's consent.

Limitation on Unemployment

Students approved for the 17-month OPT extension may not accrue more than 120 days of unemployment during the full 29-month period of OPT.  Periods of up to 10 days between the end of one job and the beginning of the next job will not be included in the calculation for time spent unemployed.