When a student is working in a STEM field, they can have up to three years of Optional Practical Training (OPT). Technically, they have one year of OPT, but the employers have the option to extend it for up to two additional years, for a total of three years.
With STEM OPT, there are a few more restrictions than there are in regular OPT. The employer must fill out paperwork demonstrating that there is training. They also have to give a report every six months and have to participate and be verified.
Students can also get OPT at each level of a degree. So in theory, someone could come to the United States for four years on an F-1 visa, get three years of OPT if they are in a STEM field, then get a Masters that takes two years, then get three more years of STEM OPT, then get their Ph.D. and get three more years of STEM OPT.
STEM Professionals may be able to extend their OPT from one year to three years. If you are an employer hiring foreign STEM students or a STEM student looking into exploring your options, we can help. Call today to speak with our knowledgeable immigration attorneys.