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F-1 Employees Working Under OPT or STEM-OPT

View STEM Code List (STEM-OPT Eligibility List)

All employees at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, working under OPT, are required to fully exhaust all available OPT, including STEM-OPT before we begin the H-1B, E-3, O-1 or TN employment period. Barring exceptional or unusual circumstances, VUMC will begin the employment visa petition process no earlier than 6 months before the OPT expiration date. F-1/OPT employees have between 12 and 29 months of OPT time available to them. STEM employees can use 29 months of OPT; non-STEM employees have 12 months of OPT. The employment visa (H-1B, TN, E-3 or O-1) will begin the day after the 12 or 29 month period - whichever is relevant - ends.

Only certain F-1 employees are eligible for the STEM-OPT. To determine if you are eligible for the STEM-OPT please look at the page 3 of your I-20 and the line that says "Primary Major." Your area of study and a six digit code (xx.xxxx) will be listed there. Once you have the six digit code, you can see if it is listed on the STEM-OPT CIP Code List. (or pdf of STEM-OPT Eligibility List). If your code is listed, you must apply for the STEM-OPT extension with the assistance of your F-1 sponsoring institution. Please contact your DSO for additional assistance.

Vanderbilt University Medical Center is an E-Verify employer. As such, we are able to utilize the benefit of the STEM-OPT extension. VUMC's Company Identification Number is 966810. The I-765 asks for either the company identification number or the client company ID number. If you are filing the I-765 STEM-OPT online you must add three zeros to the number: "000966810."

The Medical Center is also listed as "Vanderbilt University Medical Center" in the E-Verify system. For more information about completing the I-765 application, please view our EAD Categories & E-Verify Information For I-765 page.

Traveling as an F-1 with OPT or STEM-OPT:

Employees with F-1/OPT can also travel abroad and obtain new F-1 visa stamps (if necessary). The process and documents needed are very clearly laid out on US consulate and immigration websites.

Please note that if you are a Vanderbilt sponsored F-1 (i.e. Vanderbilt ISSS issued your I-20 document) you should contact ISSS for information about traveling abroad, F-1 visa stamp processing and consular assistance.

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