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STEM OPT Update: Additional Degree Fields are now Eligible for the 24-Month OPT Extension

On July 12, 2023, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security expanded the STEM Designated Degree Program List by incorporating eight additional fields of study. F-1 nonimmigrant students who successfully complete specific programs in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM) now have the opportunity to apply for a twenty-four-month extension of their post-completion optional practical training.

The last update to the STEM list by DHS was documented in the Federal Register on January 21, 2022. This publication outlined the procedure for interested parties to propose the inclusion or removal of specific fields of study from the STEM list.

DHS received a total of 120 nominations for additional fields to be considered for inclusion on the STEM list. From these, they selected the following eight new qualifying fields of study along with their corresponding Classification of Instructional Programs (CIP) codes:

  • Landscape Architecture (04.0601)
  • Institutional Research (13.0608)
  • Mechatronics, Robotics, and Automation Engineering Technology/Technician (15.0407)
  • Composite Materials Technology/Technician (15.0617)
  • Linguistics and Computer Science (30.4801)
  • Developmental and Adolescent Psychology (42.2710)
  • Geospatial Intelligence (43.0407)
  • Demography and Population Studies (45.0501)

Information about the recently added fields of study can be located in the Federal Register's update on the Department of Homeland Security's STEM Designated Degree Program List.

F-1 nonimmigrant students who have completed degree programs listed on the updated STEM list can seek the STEM OPT extension by providing a Form I-983 (Training Plan for STEM OPT Students) and a Form I-765 (Application for Employment Authorization).

DHS has affirmed that no existing fields of study were removed, and they did not receive any nominations for field removal from the current STEM list.

DHS will continue to accept nominations for modifications to the STEM list. Nominations can be submitted via email to SEVP@ice.dhs.gov with the subject line, "Attention: STEM CIP Code Nomination." Individuals have the option to resubmit nominations along with supplementary evidence and rationale if their initial requests were not included in this update to the STEM list.

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