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What is the STEM OPT Assistant?

Learn about STEM OPT and how the Assistant works.

Last updated on February 16, 2022

What is STEM OPT?

The STEM OPT extension is a 24-month period of temporary training that is available to eligible F-1 students with STEM degrees from Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP)-certified and accredited U.S. colleges and universities. The period of training must directly relate to the F-1 student's program of study in the approved STEM field.


What is the STEM OPT Assistant?

The Assistant is a resource designed by immigration lawyers to help potential STEM OPT applicants and their employers do the following:

1. Assess STEM OPT eligibility,

2. Generate a complete I-983 Training Plan that can sent directly to the school,

3. Understand their reporting requirements and the nature of STEM OPT site visits, and

4. Upload various documents to the Assistant portal for electronic record keeping.

There are two versions of the STEM OPT Assistant. (1) An employer purchases a subscription to the Assistant and can use it with multiple potential STEM OPT employees. The employer also has the option to add department / office sub-accounts. (2) A student can purchase the STEM OPT Assistant for a single use with one employer.


Why was the STEM OPT Assistant designed?

The STEM OPT regulations contain substantial eligibility and reporting requirements, including the completion of the I-983 Training Plan, and the potential for government site visits to the F-1 studentโ€™s training location. Many employers and students go through this process without understanding this compliance structure or involving immigration counsel, and the consequences could be severe, including termination of student status and impacts on future adjudications. The Assistant uses the latest in legal technology to fill in this vacuum of information and help employers and students navigate the STEM OPT process.


What documentation do I need to run STEM OPT Assistant?

Students will need to have (1) their most recent Form I-20, (2) the last Form I-20 for their qualifying STEM degree (if different), and (3) their current post-completion OPT Employment Authorization Document (EAD). They will need to provide their employer with their current SEVIS ID number and their employer's Employer Identification Number (EIN).

Employers will need their EIN number, and their E-Verify number if they already have it. The Assistant will help walk you through various other questions, and you can save your progress at any time.