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for International Students at SDSU

OPT STEM 24-Month Extension

If you are currently an F-1 student on Post-Completion OPT and you have earned a Bachelor's, Master's, or Doctoral degree in a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, or Mathematics) field, you may apply for a 24-month extension of your OPT. 

More information for you and your employer can be found on the U.S. government's website Study in the States and also on the USCIS website.


Are you eligible?

You must meet specific eligibility requirements to be eligible to apply for this 24-month OPT extension.
Click here for a list of the eligibility requirements

How to apply

If you are eligible to extend your OPT, you must submit an application to USCIS similar to your application for Post-Completion OPT. You will require a new I-20 from the ISC before you can submit this. ISC processing time is 5-7 business days.
Click here for a checklist of documents you need for your OPT STEM Extension.

How To Complete the I-765 Application Form


Where to Send the Application


What Happens After You Apply?


Dates of extension

The employment authorization period for the 24-month OPT extension begins on the day after the expiration of the Post-completion OPT as found on your EAD card and ends 24 months later, regardless of the date the actual extension is approved.

Periods of unemployment

Students on the 24-month STEM OPT Extension are limited to a cumulative total of 150 days of unemployment for the 3 years of OPT (from the start of Post-Completion OPT through the end of the STEM OPT Extension). You must report any period of unemployment using the ISC's OPT Update Form.

Reporting requirements

You are required to inform the ISC within 10 days of any change to your employment information as well as any change in your personal address. You must update this information or report any period of unemployment using the ISC OPT Update Form. Failure to keep the ISC updated with this information could result in a violation of your F-1 status. You must also verify this information with the ISC every 6 months from the start date of your OPT STEM extension (4 times).

In addition, you are required to submit a new I-983 Training Plan if there are any material changes to, or material deviations from, your formal trainng plan. 

You are also required to do an Annual Self-Evaluation every 12 months from the start of your OPT STEM Extension by submitting one of the evaluations on the last page of the I-983 Training Plan, completed and signed by you and your employer, to the ISC.  You are also required to submit a self-evaluation every time you end your employment during the STEM Extension. You are required to do a self-evaluation of the time you worked for that employer.

These items can be uploaded using the OPT Update Form.

Health insurance

Students on the OPT STEM Extension are not eligible to purchase the JCB Insurance Solutions policy that is offered through the ISC. The company has stated clearly that they are unable to offer the policy while students are on the OPT STEM Extension and no exceptions can be made.

See also:

 Tel: (619) 594-1982  |  Fax: 619-594-1973  |  Email: