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OPT STEM Employer Information

What is the I-983 and what are the employer's responsibilities?
DHS requires that the OPT STEM Extension student and employer work together to complete Form I-983. Properly completing this form will successfully document the relationship between the STEM OPT opportunity, the academic degree received, and the learning objectives of the F-1 student.

More information can be found on DHS's Study in the States website.

When does OPT STEM Extension occur?
The employment authorization period for a 24-month OPT extension begins on the day after the expiration of the initial post-completion OPT employment authorization and ends 24 months thereafter, regardless of the date the actual extension is approved. (See 8 CFR 274a.12(b)(6)(iv)
  • Students can provide their employer with the Code of Federal Regulations, citing the above passage to show the STEM OPT Extension begins automatically after the end of their OPT.

What is the STEM OPT Automatic Extension?
Students are authorized to continue employment for up to 180 days after the expiration of the post-completion OPT if they have “timely and properly” filed a STEM OPT Extension application with USCIS. (See 8 CFR 214.2(f)(11)(i)(C))
  • Students can show their employer the Code of Federal Regulations, citing the above passage in combination with their STEM OPT Receipt Notice (I-797) to prove that they have timely and properly filed the STEM OPT Extension application.

How do employers update an I-9 without a STEM OPT EAD?
Students should update their I-9 with their employer for the automatic STEM OPT Extension.
  • Students can show their expired EAD, signed STEM OPT I-20, and STEM OPT Application Receipt. The employer should enter the following information under List A in Section 2 of the I-9:
    • EAD document title
    • EAD document number
    • Date the EAD expired in the expiration date space; and
    • “180-day ext.” in the Additional Information field.
  • If the employer has additional questions about what kinds of documentation are acceptable for I-9 purposes during the 180-day period, they can visit the USCIS Form M-274 Handbook for Employers or USCIS I-9 Q&A.

Where can I find additional resources on STEM OPT?
Additionally, resources for students and employers regarding STEM OPT are found at the DHS STEM OPT HUB