OPT and STEM Employees
Many postdocs and other affiliates come to Stanford after completing a degree program in F-1 status at another US institution. Immigration regulations allow these graduates to apply for a period of employment authorization known as “practical training.”
Most graduates are eligible for 12 months of “Optional Practical Training,” or OPT. Graduates in STEM fields are eligible for an additional 24 months of training with a STEM extension. All employment must complement the graduate’s field of study.
Students in a period of practical training, either OPT or STEM, remain in F-1 status with their degree-granting institution. Students are required to update their SEVIS records and be in touch with their school when they make changes to their training plan.
The role of a Stanford department or hiring unit in OPT applications is to provide an offer of employment. The student’s school may be in touch with the Stanford department with specific needs, such as a letter or other documentation.
STEM applications are more complicated. The student and their employer have to complete form I-983 together. When completed, this form details the training format, and describes how the training will complement the field of study. Plans for establishing benchmarks in the training must also be described. The form should be signed by a PI or supervisor. A Student Affairs officer can also sign the form if they are willing to take responsibility for the goals and objectives the form will describe.
Information about how to complete the I-983 is available in this attachment. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org from an @stanford email for the E-Verify number.
Students will work with their school to submit their applications for OPT or STEM training to US Citizenship and Immigration Services directly. If their application is successful, students with approved OPT or STEM will receive an EAD valid for the term of their training. Students cannot complete an I-9 without a valid EAD.