International Student Services

17-Month OPT Extension


  • No previous 17-month extension on any educational level
  • Currently on initial OPT
  • Within 120 days prior to the OPT expiration date
  • Graduated with a degree from one of the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) programs designated by Homeland Security
  • Employed by employer registered with federal E-Verify system
  • Employed in a position related to the STEM degree

Eligible Degrees

Not all STEM graduates are eligible for the 17-month extension. The U.S Department of Homeland Security (DHS) limits this benefit to selected programs. To be eligible the major on your most recent Form I-20 must match one of the designated programs.

Application Process

Applying for an OPT extension is similar to applying for OPT.

  1. Carefully review the information about the 17 Month Extension
  2. Pay the $100 Practical Training Fee *
  3. Submit to the International Student Services Office (ISSO):
  4. Within three business days you will be sent an email that the OPT I-20 is ready for pickup. You will be given mailing instructions when you pick up the I-20.
  5. Compile the application, make a copy for your personal file and mail the application to USCIS. USCIS must receive your application before your period of initial OPT ends.
  6. USCIS will provide a receipt a few weeks after your submission. Check it for errors!
  7. Your OPT authorization will extend up to 180 days past the OPT expiration date while the extension application is pending. However, during that time you must meet the job requirements of the extension, such as working for an E-Verify employer.
  8. If approved, an OPT extension Employment Authorization Document (EAD) will be mailed to the address listed on the submitted I-765 showing an additional 17 months of OPT.

*Due to the additional Practical Training requirements instituted by Homeland Security on April 8, 2008, UT Dallas students are required to pay a $100 Practical Training fee. This fee is separate from the USCIS application fee.