F-1 Employees Working Under OPT or STEM-OPT
All employees at Vanderbilt, 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, Vanderbilt 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 is an E-Verify employer. As such, we are able to utilize the benefit of the STEM-OPT extension. Vanderbilt's Company Identification Number is 29832 and the Client Company ID number is 573107. The I-765 asks for either the company identification number or the client company ID number. It may be best to provide the Client Company ID number of 573107 as that number is specific to Vanderbilt. If you are filing the I-765 STEM--OPT online you must add three zeros to the number: "000573107."
The university is also listed as "Vanderbilt University" in the E-Verify system. You do not need to use the name "The Vanderbilt University." 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.