Maintaining Status During 24-Month STEM Extension
Submit the OPT Reporting Form – 24 Month STEM Extension to the ISSO
- Updates must be reported within 10 days of the start of your STEM OPT work authorization and within 10 days of any subsequent change.
- While on STEM Extension, you must validate your employment every 6 months by submitting STEM OPT reporting form. Select “Validation Report” in Section C and include your current employment information and current residential address. Student should report validation within 10 days of due date.
- Students are required to update Form I-983, Training Plan for STEM OPT Students, 12 months from their STEM EAD start date and include a progress report on accomplishments and skills or knowledge obtained. Employers must sign the 12 month evaluation as well.
- If the student adds or changes employers they must submit a new Form I-983, Training Plan for STEM OPT Students, to the ISSO.
- The student and employer must report changes to or deviations from the student’s formal training plan on Form I-983, Training Plan for STEM OPT outlined above.
- Students and employers must additionally complete and submit to the ISSO, a 12 month evaluation and a 24 month final evaluation on Form I-983, Training Plan for STEM OPT Students. If the student leaves a job during the STEM OPT period, they must submit the final evaluation on Form I-983, Training Plan for STEM OPT Students.
- If a student neglects to submit Form I-983, Training Plan for STEM OPT Students to the ISSO within 10 days of the conclusion of the reporting period they will be in violation of their F-1 status.
- For examples of documents to submit when reporting, review the STEM OPT Reporting chart.
Stay within unemployment limits
Students on STEM OPT may have up to 150 days of unemployment.
- Students on post-completion OPT are allowed a maximum period of 90 days of unemployment.
- Students on the 24-month STEM OPT extension are allowed an additional 60 days of unemployment for a maximum period of 150 days of unemployment.
- Each day (including weekends) during the period when STEM OPT authorization begins and ends that you do not have qualifying employment counts as a day of unemployment.
- STEM OPT authorization begins on the employment start date shown on your EAD.
Engage in appropriate employment
The Department of Homeland Security instructions regarding acceptable STEM OPT employment may be found at http://www.utdallas.edu/isso/opt-extension/
- F-1 students may not volunteer for an employer during the STEM OPT extension.
- Employment must be for at least 20 hours a week.
- The employment must be compensated.
- The employer must be E-Verified.
- The employment must include a legitimate employer, employee relationship.
- The employment must be directly related to the STEM degree that the work authorization was based upon.
- A student is allowed to work for multiple employers while on a period of STEM OPT, however each employment must meet all of the student and employer requirements outlined above.
Learn options available at the end of STEM OPT
After the STEM OPT end date, there is a 60 day grace period in which you can:
- Start another academic program at UT Dallas
- Transfer to another school
- Change to another visa category
- Leave the U.S.
*Notify the ISSO of your departure by submitting an OPT Reporting form so that a note can be placed in your immigration record.