F-1 Optional Practical Training (17-Month Extension)

If you have completed a bachelor's, master's, or doctoral degree in a STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) field that appears on the DHS STEM-designated degree program list, and have been approved for standard post-completion OPT, you can apply for a one-time 17-month extension to this training. The period of authorization will begin immediately following the completion of the standard OPT as noted on the current EAD and will end exactly 17 months later. 

To be eligible for the extension, your employer must be registered in E-Verify and agree to report to ISSS if your position is terminated or you leave employment. You must apply for the STEM OPT extension before your standard period of post-completion OPT expires, and you must also agree to make periodic reports to the ISSS.


Conditions of employment and unemployment

During both the standard post-completion OPT and the 17-month extension, you are required to participate in practical training for at least 20 hours per week. During the initial 12 months of OPT, you are limited to a maximum of 90 days of unemployment. When the 17-month extension is approved, an additional 30 days of unemployment time is added to the original 90-day allowance for a total of 120 days for the entire 29-month period. If you choose to work for multiple employers during the 17-month extension, you must ensure that all employers are enrolled in E-Verify and agree to provide periodic reports to ISSS.


Continued employment authorization

As long as you file the 17-month extension in a timely manner (i.e. prior to the end of the original OPT authorization period), you may continue to work while the extension is pending for up to 180 days following expiration of the original Employment Authorization Document (EAD).


Applying for the 17-month extension

You may apply for the extension up to 120 days before the current period of authorization ends but must apply no later than 15 days before the EAD expires. You should apply as early as possible within this time frame.

The following items are required for the extension:

1. A completed STEM extension request e-form in ISSS Link.

2. A completed Form I-765 with the following endorsements:

•Item #3: leave blank. (We will use our mailing address.)
• Item #16: enter (c)(3)(C)
• Item #17: include degree and major (primary or secondary) as it is on the I-20, the name of the employer (as registered in E-Verify) and the employer’s E-Verify number.

3.  A check (no starter checks) or money order made out to U.S. Department of Homeland Security for $380. In the memo section, write your I-94 number.

4. One-sided copies of: 

• All previously issued Forms I-20 from Emory and all other institutions attended (pages 1 and 3)  
• Passport photo page (and extension page, if applicable) 
• F-1 visa stamp (most recent)
• I-94
• Current and any previous EADs 
• Emory diploma issued following completion of degree in STEM field 

5.  An official transcript reflecting evidence of your program of study in STEM field

6.  Two recent (with 30 days) passport style photos meeting these specifications (write name and I-94 number lightly in pencil on the back of each photo.)

7.  Form G-1145

Mail these items to ISSS or, if in Atlanta, schedule an appointment with an advisor for processing. Once the advisor has reviewed the application, s/he will prepare a new I-20 showing the extension request. If applying by mail, we will mail the I-20 to the address on record for the required signature. We will send the document by regular U.S. Postal Service. If express mail is preferred, eShip Global service is available. Once the I-20 has been signed, return a  copy of pages 1 and 3, and ISSS will include it with the 17-month extension petition.


Reporting requirements

Students who are approved for the 17-month extension must notify ISSS within 10 days of the following events:

• Change to your legal name and/or nonimmigrant status within 10 days: report via email to your international student advisor

• Change in your U.S. address within ten days: report via ISSS Link

• Change of employer and/or employment address within five days: report via ISSS Link

Students on a 17-month extension must also verify this information every six months even if there is no change to report.

Failure to comply with these requirements throughout the 17-month extension may result in termination of OPT and the SEVIS record.