Eligibility for the 24-Month STEM OPT Extension

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F-1 students who receive degrees with major areas of study in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), and who meet other specified requirements may apply for a 24-month extension of their post-completion OPT.

To qualify for the 24-month extension, you must:   

  • Have been granted OPT and currently be in a valid period of OPT after having earned a bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degree from Rutgers University Newark; 
  • Work for an employer who meets all the requirements listed on the STEM OPT Employer Responsibilities page;
  • Submit the Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization up to 90 days before your current OPT employment authorization expires, and within 60 days of the date that, upon your written request, OISS enters the recommendation for STEM OPT into your Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) record. 

Previously obtained STEM degrees: If you are participating in a 12-month post-completion OPT based on a non-STEM degree, you may be eligible to use a prior STEM degree earned from either Rutgers Newark or another U.S. institution of higher education to apply for a STEM OPT extension. If not obtained from Rutgers Newark, your prior degree must be from a currently accredited and SEVP-certified institution, and you cannot have already received a STEM OPT extension based on this prior degree. The practical training opportunity also must be directly related to the major area of study of the previously obtained STEM degree.

For example: If you are currently participating in OPT based on a master’s degree in business administration but you previously received a bachelor’s degree in mathematics, you may be able to apply for a STEM OPT extension based on your bachelor’s degree as long as it is from an accredited U.S. college or university and the OPT employment opportunity is directly related to your bachelor’s degree in mathematics.

STEM degree you obtain in the future: If you enroll in a new academic program in the future and earn another qualifying STEM degree at a higher educational level, you may be eligible for one additional 24-month STEM OPT extension. 

For example: If you receive a 24-month STEM OPT extension based on your bachelor’s degree in chemistry and you later earn a master’s degree in chemistry, you may apply for an additional 24-month STEM OPT extension based on your master’s degree.

Back to 24-Month STEM OPT Extenstion Main Page

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