STEM OPT (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Optional Practical Training) is an extension of the regular Optional Practical Training (OPT) program that allows international students with degrees in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields to work in the United States for up to 24 months after completing their studies.
To be eligible for STEM OPT, you must:
-Be in F-1 student status and have completed a degree in a STEM field from a U.S. school that is accredited by a recognized accrediting body.
-Have a job or job offer from an employer that is enrolled in the STEM OPT program.
-Obtain approval from your school’s Designated School Official (DSO) and the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
If you are approved for STEM OPT, you will receive an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) that allows you to work in the United States for up to 24 months. You can work full-time or part-time, and you can work for any employer in the United States as long as the work is related to your field of study.
While on STEM OPT, you must participate in a formal training program with your employer and meet certain requirements, such as reporting any changes in your employment or personal information to your DSO and completing evaluations of your training program.
STEM OPT is a valuable opportunity for international students in STEM fields to gain practical experience in their field of study and to make connections in the U.S. job market. It can also be a stepping stone to more permanent employment in the United States, such as through an H-1B visa.