OPT 24-Month Extension for STEM Majors

Effective May 10, 2016, the 12-month limit of F-1 OPT may be extended by 24 months, for a total of 36 months.  This applies to students holding certain STEM degrees. STEM degree fields are: Science Technology Engineering Mathematics.  A list of acceptable degrees can be found at: https://www.ice.gov/sites/default/files/documents/Document/2016/stem-list.pdf


Applying for the OPT 24-Month STEM Extension


To apply for an OPT STEM extension, complete the following documents and submit copies to International Services:

1)      OPT 24-Month Extension for STEM Majors

2)      Form I-765 (Application for Employment Authorization)

  1. The code for item 16 is ( c)(3)( C).
  2. In item 17, please state the name of your degree as it appears on your I-20, the name of your employer as listed on the E-Verify system, and your employers E-Verify company identification number or a valid E-Verify client company identification number.
  3. Please make sure the address you provide is valid for at least 120 days from the date you submit the I-765 form.  USCIS will mail your EAD card to this address, and will not forward your EAD card to another address if you  move.

3)      Form I-983 (Training Plan and Evaluation)

  1. The I-983 requires a written, formal training plan.  This should be completed by both you and your employer.  We cannot recommend you for the extension until the training plan is reviewed and approved.
  2. The training plan should describe work-based learning opportunities, as well as: 1) specific goals of the training, 2) how your employer shall meet these goals, 3) how the training directly relates to your STEM degree, 4) how your training will be evaluated by your employer, 5) how your supervisor will oversee your training, 6) your compensation, which should be commensurate to other U.S. employees, and 7) that you and your employer will comply with STEM OPT rules and regulations.
  3. You will need the SEVIS school code.  Please reference your I-20 for this number.  For the DSO name and contact, please write:

Aditi Patel, Assistant Director, International Services

(973) 655 – 6862.


Submit the three forms from Step One to International Services by email at intserv@mail.montclair with subject line: OPT STEM Application (your Last name, First name), for review and preparation of the STEM OPT I-20 To receive your new I-20, please create a shipment request with eShip Global, enter your address, and pay the fees.  We will use this secure account to ship your new, OPT 24-Month STEM Extension I-20 to you. 

Once you receive your new I-20, please review it and make sure all information is accurate.  If everything looks correct, you must sign your new I-20.  If there is an error, we highly recommend notifying the office and returning the I-20 as quickly as possible, so as to not delay your STEP OPT application process.

When applying for your STEM OPT extension, please remember:

1)      The original I-765 Application for Employment Authorization.

2)      A photocopy of your new, signed STEM I-20.

3)      Application fee of $380.  This should be in the form of a money order or check, payable to the Department of Homeland Security. The fee is in US dollars, and should be drawn from a bank located in the U.S.

4)      Proof of STEM degree in the form of a copy of your Montclair State transcript.

5)      Two U.S. passport-style photos taken within 30 days of submitting your application, and make sure the photos have not been used for a previous application. For information on photo standards, please refer Guidelines for passport style pictures or visit the Department of State website.  On the back of each photo, lightly (and legibly) print your name and I-94 admission number in pencil. 

6)      Photocopies of the following from your passport:

  1. Biographical page(s), including the expiration date.  Your passport must be valid for at least 6 months into the future at the time of submitting this application.
  2. Your most recent F-1 visa stamp in your passport (Citizens of Canada are exempt).
  3. Your most recent admission stamp in your passport.
  4. A print out of your electronic I-94.  You can retrieve this from the CBP website.
  5. Copies of ALL previously issued and signed I-20s from ALL institutions attended.  If you do not have copes of all your I-20s, please write a letter stating this.
  6. Any previous employment authorization documents (EAD).


When submitting your application, please make sure all copies are single-sided and are not stapled together.  Please check the USCIS website for the most up-to-date and complete mailing instructions.  It is extremely important you send your application to the correct address, so as to make sure there are no delays.  It is highly recommended that you use either FedEx, UPS, or USPS Certified Mail with a return receipt requested, in order to track your application and make sure it successfully arrives to USCIS.

If you have any questions, please reach out to us at intserv@mail.montclair.edu.