STEM Jobs Act to Help Science, Technology, Engineering and Math

The STEM jobs act is proposed legislation that promotes study in the areas of science, technology, engineering and math. The STEM jobs act provides green cards for immigrant students who received their undergraduate degree in the United States and are now working toward an advanced degree in one of these areas of study. The legislation is designed to help improve the visa process for these individuals and their immediate families. The United States understands the need for highly educated graduates in the STEM areas of study and is offering the ability to attain green card status to those who wish to continue their education in these subjects.

Eligibility for Green Card

In order to be eligible, the candidate must have graduated from a U.S. college or university with a degree in one of the STEM majors and must be seeking a master’s degree or doctorate degree from a university located in the United States. The applicant must be a graduate of an advanced degree program and must agree to work in the U.S. for a period of at least five years following graduation. The employer would need to sponsor the employee and must attain a labor certification.

F-1 Visa STEM Students

Currently, F-1 visa holders who are students in a STEM program are eligible for a work extension. In order to be eligible, the student must be enrolled in a STEM field of study from an accredited U.S. university or college. The work extension program is known as STEM OPT (optional practical training). The work is considered temporary and must be directly related to the student’s area of study. Students may work part time during the school year and are allowed to work full time when classes are not in session.

The extension allows the visa holder to remain in the U.S. for a period of 3 years. This extension is a new change to the STEM F-1 visa. Only those who meet the requirements are eligible. Consult with a knowledgeable immigration attorney to learn more about the availability of an extension in your particular case.

Application for F-1 STEM OPT

Those who meet the qualifications must submit an application for an F-1 STEM OPT. The student must first meet with the DSO, Designated School Official, to obtain a recommendation. The DSO must endorse the student’s I-20 and make the appropriate updates to the student’s tracking. The student must then file Form I-765, an Application for Employment Authorization Document, also known as an EAD. The student may not begin working until the EAD has been approved.

This blog should be used for informational purposes only. It does not create an attorney-client relationship with any reader and should not be construed as legal advice. If you need legal advice regarding STEM Jobs Act, or other Immigration Law matters, please feel free to contact Phil D. Ortega at  480.461.5330, log on to,  or contact an attorney in your area. Udall Shumway PLC is located in Mesa, Arizona and is a full service law firm. We assist Individuals, families, businesses, schools and municipalities in Mesa and the Phoenix/East Valley.