24 Month STEM Extension

STEM Employment Requirements

Your STEM OPT Employer MUST


  • Be E-verified 

  • Have an EIN  

  • Constitute a bona fide employer-employee relationship 

  • Help you fill out your Form I-983 

  • Set up formal training and learning objectives with you 


  • Be through “temp” agencies or a consulting firm arrangement that provides labor for hire 

  • Be you: No self-employment or sole proprietorships 

  • Be a new “start-up” business that does not meet the requirements stated on the Form I-983 

  • Any other relationships that do not constitute a bona fide employer-employee relationship 

Your STEM OPT Employment MUST

Your STEM OPT Employment CANNOT

  • Work a minimum of 20 hours per week 

  • Be directly related to STEM OPT qualifying degree 

  • Be PAID 

  • The job’s compensation and working conditions must be “commensurate with terms and conditions applicable to the employer’s similarly situated U.S. workers in the area of employment.”  


  • Be part-time (less than 20 hours) 

  • Be a “Student Position” (you have graduated already, you should not be doing student-only work) 

  • Replace a full- or part-time, temporary or permanent U.S. worker 

  • Violate federal or state requirements relating to employment (i.e. - Don’t violate labor laws!) 

Post Enrollment Maintenance Fee

The E-Verify number is NOT the same as EIN.
  • E-Verify is an Internet-based system that compares information from an employee's Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, to data from U.S. Department of Homeland Security and Social Security Administraion records to confirm employment eligibility.
    • E-Verify number = 4 to 7 digits (ask your employer)
    • USCIS provides lists that include employers and federal contractors enrolled in the E-Verify system. You can access this list using the E-Verify Employers Search Tool which allows you to search for businesses by name, state, ZIP code, and city.
    • Detailed information about the E-Verify system can be found here.
    • Please be aware that there are some limitations with these search engines and ISS recommends that if you are applying for a 24-month STEM OPT Extension that you verify with the employer their E-Verify status.
  • EIN is an Employer Identification Number (EIN) is also known as a Federal Tax Identification Number and is used to identify a business entity.  
    • EIN = 9 digits, often formatted XX-XXXXXXX (ask your employer)
    • Detailed information about the EIN number can be found here.
    • ​ISS recommends that if you are applying for a 24-Month STEM OPT Extension that you verify with the employer their EIN numbers. 
Visit our Form I-983 page for tips on how to fill out the form.