Some F-1 students may apply for work experience for up to 36 months, something that benefits both them and employers. To enjoy this benefit, F-1 students have to correctly apply for an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) and go through the I-9 Verification process. How do you do this?
First, STEM students need to remember that they must apply correctly and timely for this benefit. Just one day of delay can make the difference between being approved or getting your application denied.
The application must be received by USCIS prior to the expiration date of the OPT EAD to be properly (timely) filed. USCIS will not accept I-765 applications for STEM extensions earlier than 90 days before the current EAD expiration date. Students cannot apply during the 60-day grace period.
What is the student’s work authorization status while the EAD OPT STEM extension is pending?
If the student timely filed the application for the 24-month OPT extension, the student is allowed to continue working lawfully for 180 days after the expiration of the previously issued EAD.
How does an employer verify the work authorization of the F-1 student while the EAD extension is pending?
While the student’s EAD is pending, the following can establish the student’s identity and work authorization for Form I-9:
- An expired EAD with Form I-20 endorsed by the student’s designated school official recommending a STEM extension.
Once the EAD is issued, it will note “STU: STEM OPT ONLY.”
Also, you can review our prior post about STEM OPT-based EAD Extension and Work Authorization. Additional information can be found on the USCIS website.