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24 Month Optional Practice Training (Opt) Extension

Did you know that on March 11, 2016, the Department of Homeland Security published a final rule allowing certain F-1 students who receive science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) degrees, and who meet other specified requirements, to apply for a 24-month extension of their post-completion Optional Practical Training (OPT)?

The 24-month extension will replace the 17-month STEM OPT extension previously available to STEM students Eligible students may now apply for a 24-month STEM OPT extension.

To qualify for the 24 month OPT extension, in addition to being within the valid period of OPT, you must have earned a bachelor’s, master’s or doctoral degree from an accredited school and certified by the Student Visitor and Exchange program.

If your current OPT is based on a non-STEM degree, you may be able to use a prior STEM degree earned from a US institution of higher education to apply for a STEM OPT extension, provided your practical training opportunity is also directly related to the previously obtained STEM degree.