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01 Feb 2021

United States

Is Your Degree Eligible for STEM OPT?

The Student and Visitor Exchange Program (SEVP) recently updated its list of designated U.S. degrees that are considered part of the STEM fields—Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. SEVP did not add or remove degrees, but the new list aligns the degrees with the latest classification codes used by the Department of Education. The updated list is here: https://www.ice.gov/sites/default/files/documents/stem-list.pdf.

International students who graduate with STEM degrees are eligible to apply for a two-year period of work authorization (Optional Practical Training) in the U.S. for the purpose of on-the-job application of their STEM knowledge and skills. This follows post-completion OPT, which is available for degrees in all disciplines for up to 12 months. For graduates who secure employment with companies willing to sponsor foreign workers, STEM OPT often provides a bridge to other work-authorized statuses, such as H-1B. More information about the STEM OPT program is available at https://studyinthestates.dhs.gov/stem-opt-hub/stem-opt-extension-overview.

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