OPT Extensions in the USA- Extending Your Employment Duration

OPT Extensions

F1 visa holders are international students entitled to Optional Practical Training OPT. It is a temporary employment permit in which a student is allowed to work in the major of their educational field. OPT jobs in USA are available for 12 months, students can either work at pre-completion or post-completion OPT. During pre-completion OPT an international student is allowed to work 12 months. They can work for 20 hours per week, and can also work for multiple employers. During post-completion OPT a student can work full-time, and they are also at liberty to work for more than one employer.

This will help the OPT candidate to get global exposure and relevant experience to work in the US job market. If a candidate has worked at pre-completion OPT then he will get 6 months of full-time work, after completion of his degree or course.

STEM OPT Candidates

If an international student has earned their degree in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Then that STEM student can apply for OPT extension in USA, followed by some conditions. If the recruiter is registered as e-verify, then the OPT candidates can continue to work with them. If the job that an OPT candidate is doing is based on their STEM degree.

OPT Extension in USA

International students who move to the USA, and get enrolled in the college or university based in the USA. They must enroll in any full-time academic degree, and the degree or course must be in the English language. One must understand what is OPT, and how it works. For working at an OPT the candidate must have an Employment Authorization Document EAD. The OPT students must approach the Designated School Officer for getting their request for work approved.

  • The OPT students must have F1 visa status, for applying for post-completion OPT training.
  • After checking the visa status they must submit their request to work as a full-time OPT employee.
  • After the candidate has received the I-20 with their recommendation from the DSO.

For getting an OPT extension the candidate must follow these steps;

  • For getting a STEM OPT extension the candidates must check the USCIS list of e-verify recruiters with whom the practical training has been completed.
  • The students must have their F1 visa status active.
  • The degree or specialization must be a STEM degree, i.e., science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.
  • The STEM OPT extension is for 24 months, and this way the candidate gets 36 months to live and work in the USA.
  • The job search in the STEM field depends upon technical skills. The employability of the candidate is calculated through their degree and experience working with recruiters.
  • After completing their degree the students get 60 days to search for a new job.
  • Meanwhile, they can travel out of the USA but must have their EAD if they want to re-enter the States.
  • The students must fill up the details of their employer and the form I-765.
  • A copy of their degree earned must be attached.
  • The application fee must be paid on time.

Scope of OPT candidates after getting OPT extension in the USA

After the candidate is qualified for a full-time job in the US job market. They can find recruiters who are e verified and have genuine profiles. The top-notch companies hire potential candidates who have STEM degrees, and relevant experience. Big companies like Amazon, Meta, Google, and Microsoft, hire candidates for their companies for various job roles. Many of the OPT STEM background students look for IT jobs.

Recruiters hire those candidates who have a relevant degree and good experience. Usually candidates lucrative job offers because of their experience earned. Candidates who worked at pre-completion or post-completion OPT have global exposure. The students must file their application of working a full-time job before the completion of their degree. OPT students must get prior approval from the concerned DSO, for applying for full-time employment.

Those who want to live and work more in the USA can apply in a different category such as H1B. This visa category entitles the candidate to Visa sponsorship by the recruiter. The candidates can get the visa sponsorship for their job, only if they have a specialized skill.

Students who are looking for an OPT extension in the USA can get it after fulfilling the above-mentioned requirements.


1. Can I extend my OPT in USA
Yes, you can definitely extend OPT, if you are a STEM OPT student. STEM background students can apply to extend their OPT for 24 months after working for 12 months.
2. Where can I apply for OPT extension?
F1 visa holders can file OPT extensions by filing online or offline applications with USCIS. The employer with whom the candidate is planning to work must be an e-verified recruiter in the USCIS list.
3. What is the approval rate for STEM OPT?
A majority of applications for OPT are approved, and there is a positive rate of approval. The official website of USCIS shows that 97 percent of OPT applications were approved.
4. How long is the grace period after OPT extension?
F1 visa holders are given a period of 60 days, during which they can look for a job. Or get themselves into a new school for pursuing education. Majorly these 60 days are provided for searching for a new OPT job after getting the extension.
5. What if OPT extension is denied?
You can enroll in a new degree or course, once your OPT expires and you are unable to find a job within 60 days. If your opt extension is denied you have to leave the USA. as you cannot be re-enrolled on the same permit and same I-20 form.
6. When to apply for F-1 STEM OPT?
Before completing the STEM degree, the candidates can apply for a STEM OPT job 90 days before completing the degree. After completing the degree they get 60 days to find a new job.