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Am I required to participate in E-Verify in order to hire F-1 students who seek the 17-month STEM extension of his or her OPT?

Yes, you must enroll in E-Verify and sign an E-Verify memorandum of understanding (MOU) to hire F-1 students seeking a 17-month extension of their Optional Practical Training (OPT) under the Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics (STEM) Designated Degree Program. F-1 students who participate in an approved period of post-completion OPT after earning a bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degree from the list of designated STEM degrees may apply for this 17-month extension of their OPT.

Universities seeking to hire F-1 OPT students who seek the extension should enroll in E-Verify either as the university as a whole or as separate departments. If the university as a whole enrolls in E-Verify, the f-1 OPT STEM students may enroll in any qualifying STEM departments in the university. If the university departments are separately enrolled in E-Verify, then only those university departments that sign an MOU with E-Verify qualify as E-Verify employers and F-1 OPT STEM students may only work for a department that has separately enrolled in E-Verify.

Employment agencies and consulting firms who wish to employ F-1 OPT students who seek the extension must be enrolled in E-Verify. Third parties contracting with the agency or firm for which the student is providing services need not be enrolled.

F-1 students authorized for the 17-month OPT STEM extension must work at least 20 hours per week in a position directly related to the student’s STEM degree.

Last Reviewed/Updated: 11/30/2012