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Download instructions on How to apply for the 17 month STEM extension

What is the STEM extension?

Students who graduate in certain Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics majors might be eligible to extend the 12-month Optional Practical Training period for an additional 17 months.

What are the restrictions while on the STEM extension?

  • Any work must be related to your major field of study
  • Any employer must have an E-Verify number
  • You must do a minimum of 20 hours of paid work for an e-verify employer and the work must be directly related to your field of study to count as employment while on the STEM extension
  • During the 29 months of OPT and STEM extension, you cannot be unemployed for more than 120 days

When do I apply for the STEM extension?

You can apply for the STEM extension as early as 120 days before your current OPT expires.  As long as your application is received by the USCIS before your OPT expires, you can work up to 180 days after your OPT expiration date while your application is pending.

How do I apply for the 17 month OPT extension?

Send the following application materials to the International Student office at New Paltz via email  (see contact information below):

The International Student office will process your application and issue a new I-20 showing the STEM extension recommendation. You can then pick up the materials yourself, or request that we mail them to you. If you want the office to mail the application to you, please email us a pre-paid shipping label for UPS express mail service (see instructions to create a shipping label). We will only send STEM extension application materials using a mail service that provides a tracking number. 

*NOTE*:  Once your OPT I-20 has been created by our office, USCIS must receive the completed application package within 30 days or your application will be denied.

You mail the following STEM extension application materials to the USCIS:

  • Completed I-765 form
  • Fee of $380 (a check or money order made payable to the US Department of Homeland Security)
  • A copy of the new I-20 with the STEM extension recommendation (remember to sign the I-20 before you copy it) and copies of all previously issued I-20s
  • Copy of passport and visa information page and both sides of the I-94 card or I-94 print out
  • Copy of both sides of any previously issued EAD cards
  • Two recent US color passport photos of yourself (print your name on the back of the photos)
  • Copy of your degree from New Paltz
  • OPTIONAL-Completed form G-1145 if you want to receive email/ text verification from the USCIS that your application has been accepted.

While on the OPT STEM extension, do I have to report any information to the USCIS or International Student office?

Yes, while on the OPT STEM extension, you need to do the following:

  • Report your current US address and Employer name and Address to the International Student office within 10 days of any change to either. Email the STEM OPT Reporting Form  to and we will update your SEVIS record. You do not have to contact USCIS with this information.
  • In addition to OPT reporting requirements listed above, SEVP requires validation of your STEM OPT employment every 6 months. We will contact you via email when this is required. At that time, it is important to email us back this completed form. Failure to validate your employment within 30 days of the due date may result in auto-termination of your OPT authorization by the system.
  • If you intend to travel outside of the US, you must get a travel signature on your I-20 (valid for six months).

What must my employer do?

  • The employer must be registered in E-Verify.
  • The employer must agree to report the termination or departure of the student to the International Student Office of the student’s former school within 48 hours. Note: If the student has not reported to work for five consecutive business days without the employer’s consent, the employer is to consider the student to have left the job.

If you have any questions, contact us:

International Student Office
State University of New York New Paltz
VH 201, I Hawk Drive, New Paltz, NY 12561
Tel:  845-257-3595
Fax: 845-257-3608

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