F-1 OPT STEM Extensions

If a scholar is in F-1 status, the primary source of information about Practical Training should be the International Office at the school that sponsored their F-1 visa.

If a scholar is currently in their first, 12-month period of OPT and is eligible for a STEM extension, they may apply for the extension up to 90 days before the end of the current practical training period.

  • It is the aim of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to improve and increase oversight over student OPT by requiring the implementation of formal training plans by employers, and adding wage and other protections for STEM OPT students and US workers.

    As part of the STEM OPT process, DHS requires that Form I-983, Training Plan for STEM OPT Students, be prepared and signed by the student and the employer. Some of you may already have been contacted by students looking for assistance or guidance.

    You may use the following template to help you complete Form I-983, Training Plan for STEM OPT Students, for individuals who will be employed by MIT.

    Template for Form I-983

  • To understand the obligations of the DLC, as an employer, in more detail, you must go to the following information “hub” created by DHS and click on “employers.”

    The F-1 STEM OPT regulations require that employers (MIT DLCs) who will hire F-1 students during their periods of STEM Practical Training report certain information back to a school official from the student’s US college or university. Such information includes changes in terms of employment, termination or departure, etc.

    The ISchO has created two forms to help you understand the employer obligations. The first form below can be used as a checklist to keep track of the reporting requirements.

    Please note that the Employer Attestation on Commensurate Compensation is provided as a courtesy. Its use is optional. You may find it helpful in order to determine and attest that F-1 STEM OPT students are provided with compensation commensurate with that of similarly employed US workers. Please note that using this form does not provide the MIT DLC with legal protection in the event of a DHS site visit. Once completed, the form should be retained in the personnel file of the scholar and remain accessible in the event of a DHS employer site visit.

    • If completing I-983 for a postdoc, you would be selecting #1 or #2.
    • If completing I-983 for a non-postoc position (such as Research Scientist, Research Associate, etc.), then you would be selecting #3 or #4.
    • Please contact an advisor in the ISchO if you have a question about how to determine compensation using OES data for #4.

Page updated August 2023