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17 Month Extension

17-month Extension for F-1 Students - Eligibility

Note: For information about the upcoming changes to the OPT STEM extension, please visit the STEM OPT Hub on Study in the States here.

E-Verify Employer:  At the time of application for the 17-month extension, the student must have a job offer or be employed by an employer registered with the E-Verify federal employment verification system. 

Employer Reporting:  The student’s employer must agree to report the termination or departure of the student to the Designated School Official (DSO) or through "any other means or process identified by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS)."  (As of April 8, 2008, DHS has identified only the DSO as the one to be contacted, but other means may be added later.)  An employer must consider a worker to have departed when the employer knows the student has left employment, or if the student has not reported for work for a period of five consecutive business days without the employer's consent.

STEM Degrees:  This benefit is limited to STEM degree holders (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) in the fields listed below, as specified in the Classification of Instructional Programs (CIP).  A full list of CIP Codes is available online at

Students must be currently participating in a 12-month post-completion period of OPT, working for a U.S. employer in a job directly related to the student’s major area of study. 

Unemployment:  Students have not accrued a combined total of more than 90 days of unemployment during the initial 12 months of post-completion authorization.  Days of unemployment will be counted from either the start date requested or the date the employment authorization is approved, whichever is later (Students granted a 17-month extension will be given 30 more days, which means they may not be unemployed for more than 120 days during their 29 months of OPT.) 

This unemployment provision does not apply to any periods of unemployment before the effective date of April 8, 2008.  The 90-day “clock” started on April 8, 2008.   More than 90 days of unemployment in post-completion OPT after April 8, 2008 may affect eligibility for future benefits.  If a student applies for a benefit and has more than 90 days of unemployment AFTER April 8, 2008, the benefit may be denied because of that unemployment.  Unemployment provisions do not apply to students on pre-completion OPT who are maintaining full-time enrollment and are still pursuing their studies. 

Note:  Periods of up to 10 days between the end of one job and the beginning of the next job will not be included in the calculation for time spent unemployed.

Duration of employment authorization
The employment authorization period for the 17-month OPT extension begins on the day after the expiration of the initial post-completion OPT employment authorization and ends 17 months later, regardless of the date the actual extension is approved.

Students must file the application for the 17-month OPT extension prior to the last day of their 12-month OPT authorization as indicated on their EAD.  They will be able to continue employment while the extension application is pending, until a final decision on the I-765 or for 180 days, whichever comes first.

Reporting Requirements while on OPT
UK students with an approved 17-month extension must report to the UK International Center Data Manager by completing the OPT Reporting e-form in iCAT to update your SEVIS record.  If your LinkBlue/myUK account is no longer active, use Limited Services to log into iCAT and report employment information.  You will find the form by opening the Undergraduate/Graduate tab named "OPT Reporting".  This form must be completed within 10 days of any change of:

  • legal name
  • residential or mailing address
  • employer name
  • employer address, and/or
  • loss of employment
  • change of status

Validation Report:  UK students must make a validation report to the Data Manager every 6 months starting from the date the extension begins and ending when 1) the student's F-1 status ends, 2) the student changes educational levels at the same school, 3) the student transfers to another school or 4) the 17-month OPT extension ends, whichever is first. The validation is a confirmation that the student's name and address, employer name and address, and/or loss of employment is current and accurate. The report is due within 10 business days of each reporting date.

Optional Practical Training Filing Procedures
Prior to providing the 17-month extended I-20, the DSO in the UK International Center must receive a completed e-form in iCAT.  The first portion of the form is to be completed by the student and the second portion will be sent to the hiring official.

Upon receiving the extended OPT I-20, students must file for the extension within 30 days of the I-20 issuance date.  The following documentation should be sent to the appropriate USCIS Service Center with jurisdiction over the state where they reside, as noted on the I-765 instructions:

  • Completed Form I-765  Click on Immigration Forms
  • Check the box:  “Renewal of my permission to accept employment”
  • #16   eligibility (c) (3) (C) Make sure to use the proper lower and upper case letters.
  • #17 degree, employer’s name and E-Verify Company ID Number or a valid E-Verify Client Company ID Number
  • Filing fee as noted on the I-765 instructions to “U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security”
  • Copy of I-20 with 17-month extension recommendation on page 3
  • Copy of SEVIS I-20 with the 12-month OPT recommendation on page 3
  • Copy of I-94 Departure Record (front and back on the same sheet of paper)
  • Copy of following passport pages: photo/bio, passport renewal information (if applicable) and F-1 visa
  • Copy of previous Employment Authorization (EAD)
  • Copy of student’s degree (official transcript or copy of the diploma as long as it states the program of study)
  • Two photographs in small envelope (On back of each photo, print in pencil I-94 departure number and name.)

Guidelines for photos (passport style): taken within past 6 months

  • plain white or off-white background – 2x2 inches in size
  • unmounted color print on glossy, un-retouched paper
  • head positioned directly facing the camera; eyes open, looking at camera; eyeglasses worn if normally used
  • photo from slightly above top of hair to middle of chest – height of head should measure 1 to1 3/8 inches
  • head should be bare unless wearing a headdress required by a religious order to which you belong.