Shafiq Reshid


3 months ago

What are OPT and STEM-OPT? and why should you worry about them?

If you are planning to study in the USA as an international student, the amount of time that you can stay back in the country for work is completely decided by the OPT or STEM-OPT offered by your program.

Optional Practical Training (OPT) is a period during which undergraduate and graduate students on F-1 visas who have completed or are pursuing their study programs for a period of one year are permitted/authorized by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to work for one year on their student visa for getting practical training to complement their education.

Some F-1 students who have received education in STEM courses i.e. if they have secured a degree from a science, technology, engineering, and mathematics course, can apply for a 24-month extension of their post-completion optional practical training (OPT).

The STEM OPT extension is a 24-month period of temporary training that is related to an F-1 student's program of study in an approved STEM field/area. F-1 students (eligible) with STEM degrees who have finished their programs and are on regular OPT which is of 12 months can apply for STEM OPT extension.

A regular work permit given for OPT is for 12 months. If they are eligible for a STEM OPT extension of 24 months then the total OPT duration is 36 months. Students must stop their employment when they reach the end date mentioned on their EAD card, however, they can remain in the US for a grace period of 60 days.


- To qualify for the 24-month extension the candidate must:
Have been granted OPT and currently be in a valid period of OPT.

- candidate must have earned either a bachelor’s, master's or doctoral degree from a school that is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency and is also certified by the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) when the candidate is submitting his STEM OPT extension application.

- The employer from whom the student is pursuing his STEM OPT extension must be enrolled with USCIS's E-Verify employment eligibility verification program.

- Should work for an employer who meets all the requirements set by the STEM OPT Employer Responsibilities section.


A student can be unemployed for a limited number of days during his OPT period. However, DHS allows STEM OPT students an additional 60 days of unemployment during the 24-month STEM OPT extension period. Students with regular OPT can stay unemployed for a period of 90 days, however, after getting a 24-month extension they get an additional 60 days of unemployment which makes their total unemployment days 150.

Hope this article gave you a brief idea about OPT and STEM-OPT. All the very best for your studies abroad!

#masters #studyabroad #STEM #PostGraduate #visaquery #F1Visa #studyguide #visa_consultant #workvisa #CM #CommunityEngagement #community_mentor #CommunityMentor

1 comment

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Ashmita Sharma

3 months ago

Thanks for this!