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F-1 students who have completed a bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degree in a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) field, are currently engaged in a post-completion OPT, and have a job or job offer from an E-Verify employer, are eligible for a 17-month extension of their OPT. The 12-month limit on F-1 Optional Practical Training (OPT) will be extended by 17 months, for a total of 29 months, for certain STEM degree holders.
Students will also need to inquire whether or not their employer is enrolled in E-Verify. There is no public list of E-Verify employers. You must have the employer’s name as listed in E-Verify and the employer’s E-Verify company identification number or a valid E-Verify client company identification number.
If you have properly filed for a 17-month extension, your OPT extension will begin the day after the expiration of your original period of authorized post-completion OPT. In addition, so long as the application is properly filed, you can continue to work with an expired employment authorization document for up to 180 days while the 17-month extension is pending.
Students authorized for an OPT 17-month extension must work at least 20 hours per week for an E-Verify employer in a position directly related to their degree.
There is a limit of 120 days of unemployment time during the entire period of post-completion OPT (regular post-completion and 17-month extension OPT). As with your initial period of post-completion OPT, be sure to keep accurate records of your employment.
Students on a 17-month extension MUST send Immigration Services a validation report every six months starting from the date the extension starts (day after authorized OPT ends) and ending when the student’s F-1 status ends or the 17-month extension ends, whichever is first. See OPT Acknowledgement Form for more information.