What Does the Additional Work Authorization for STEM Graduates Include?
Students who hold F-1 immigration status and have graduated with a degree in one of the STEM fields can extend their original period of OPT, or optional practical training, which was 12 months. With the new rule, STEM graduates can remain for a total of 36 months.
Eligibility for STEM Extension
In order for F-1 students to be eligible for the STEM extension, they must be employed by employers that participate in E-Verify. Under this new rule, employers are also required to implement formal training plans, as well as add wage protections and take other steps for both STEM grads and U.S. workers.
The companies that participate in E-Verify must only employ individuals who are legally allowed to work in the U.S., which can include U.S. citizens and foreign citizens who have the appropriate authorization.
What are STEM Fields?
According to U.S. immigration and Customs Enforcement, STEM fields include:
- Mathematics and applied mathematics
- Geographic information systems
- Educational and instructional technology
People who have a nonimmigrant F-1 visa, which is designed for those who wish to study in the U.S. (at any grade level), are eligible for the OPT extension. Typically, F-1 visas are available to people who want to attend:
- Private elementary school
- Other academic institutions, such as language training programs
Do You Need Help With an F-1 Visa or OPT?
If you’re interested in securing an F-1 visa or you need guidance on extending your OPT, we can help.