STEM Extension

STEM Extension is an additional 17 months of post-completion Optional Practical Training (OPT) granted to certain government-designated STEM degree-holders in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics.


Who is eligible for a STEM Extension? 

A student can apply for a STEM Extension if:

  • The student is currently participating in post-completion OPT.
  • The student is currently working for a U.S. employer in a job directly related to the student’s major area of study.
  • The student must have successfully completed a bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degree in a field on the STEM Designated Degree Program List. (The STEM Program List can be found at:
  • The student must be able to submit a copy of an official transcript or diploma showing they have successfully completed all degree requirements and that their graduation has been conferred.
  • The student must have a job or job offer from a U.S. employer registered with the E-Verify employment verification system.  (E-Verify information can be found at:


Who is NOT eligible for a STEM Extension?

A student CANNOT apply for a STEM Extension if:

  • The student's post-completion OPT period has expired.
  • The student has not completed all degree requirements necessary for graduation.
  • The student has already received a STEM Extension.
  • The student has exceeded 90 days of unemployment during their post-completion OPT period.


Important Points to Remember

  • Students must allow 5 full business days after submission of a complete application for the Center for International Studies to process their request.
  • A student may file their STEM Extension packet up to 120 days before their post-completion OPT end date.   However, the application packet must be sent to USCIS within 30 days from when the Center for International Studies issues the new I-20.
  • A student’s graduation from St. Cloud State University must be conferred in order to submit an application packet to USCIS.
  • A student’s application packet must be received by USCIS before the their post-completion OPT end date.
  • While the student’s STEM Extension application is pending, the student’s post-completion OPT is automatically extended until the STEM Extension is approved or for 180 days, whichever is earlier.
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