International Student Services
STEM EXTENTION FOR OPT
F-1 students whose OPT is based on a Bachelor’s, Master’s, or Ph.D. degree in a Science, Technology, Engineering, or Math (STEM) field, as defined by DHS, may be eligible for a one-time 17-month extension of OPT.
In order to be eligible for this extension, students applying for this benefit must be already on OPT, and also be employed by, or have a job offer from, an employer who is registered with the E-Verify employment verification system. E-Verify is an internet-based system operated by the Department of Homeland Security in partnership with the Social Security Administration. For more information on E-Verify, visit this page.
Applying for OPT STEM Extension Requests
F-1 students who are currently authorized for OPT based on completion of a Bachelor’s, Master’s or Ph.D. degree in a Science, Technology, Engineering or Math (STEM) field, as defined by DHS, may be eligible for a one-time only 17 month extension of OPT.
In order to be eligible for this extension, students applying for this benefit must:
- already be on OPT based on a STEM-eligible degree
- have fewer than 90 days of unemployment after April 8, 2008 (if EAD start date is before April 8, 2008)
- be employed by, or have a job offer from, an employer who is registered in the E-Verify employment verification system
- hold an appropriate degree in one of the DHS-approved STEM fields
- not have previously been approved for a 17-month extension of OPT
- submit the OPT application to USCIS prior to the expiration date of the current post-completion OPT (USCIS must receive the application before the expiration date on the current EAD)
Due to processing and mailing times, International Student Services require students to submit this extension request at least forty-five (45) days prior to the current OPT end date.
Students who file a timely application for an extension will be able to continue employment while the extension application is pending with USCIS, until it is approved or denied, or for 180 days, whichever comes first.
E-Verify and Bowling Green State University:
Bowling Green State University is not currently a participating employer in E-Verify. While DHS has announced plans to eventually require all employers in the U.S. to use the system, very few employers currently do. Employers have not embraced this new system for two key reasons: (1) cost of implementing and administering this new system for all new employees; and (2) inaccuracies within the E-Verify database that can result in extreme hardship for prospective employees, and in particular, for foreign national employees. For example, a recent audit of E-Verify revealed that foreign-born, work-authorized employees are thirty times more likely to have inaccurate data on file in the system, resulting in delays and at times the inability to secure employment.
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