Documents Needed to Apply
- Form I-983 (this is to be filled out with your employer and included in your application to International Services. This form will not be sent to USCIS),
- Form G-1145 (recommended),
- Form I-765,
- Filing fee of $410 (money order, cashier’s check, or personal check is preferred) payable to U.S. Department of Homeland Security (spelled out),
- Copy of new Form I-20 (includes STEM Extension recommendation, provided by International Services),
- Copt of Form I-20 for original OPT request,
- Two passport-style photos,
- Copy of I-94,
- Copy of Passport,
- Copy of Visa,
- Copy of front and back of current EAD (Employment Authorization Document),
- Copy of receipt notice from the original OPT application, and
- Evidence that the student’s degree meets the STEM degree/major requirements.
- An official transcript that shows degree level and program of study.
- Copy of their diploma that shows degree level and program of study.
- Fill out the OPT STEM Extension Request e-form on Sunapsis and begin gathering documents required for the application to USCIS. Upload the Form I-983 to your Sunapsis application.
- International Services will process your application and create a new I-20 that requests the STEM extension.
- You may request to review your OPT application with a DSO.
- The I-20 and OPT application must reach USCIS within 60 days of the creation of the new I-20 or the application will be denied. You will mail the I-20 along with all other required documents to USCIS.
- A couple of weeks after you have mailed your application you should receive Form I-797 Receipt Notice stating that USCIS has received your application.
- USCIS will either approve your application, deny your application, reject your application if something was wrong with the original application (you would be allowed to resubmit your application), or request additional evidence/information.
- If the application is approved, you will be mailed your EAD.
- All jobs must be related to your major. You are not permitted to work in jobs that relate to your minor.
- You must work more than 20 hours per week.
- You can have multiple jobs as long as each job is more than 20 hours per week.
- Unlike your original OPT, you may not volunteer or be self-employed.
You are required to report to International Services:
- Within 10 days of any change in employment or personal address,
- 6 months after your STEM Extension has started,
- 12 months after your STEM Extension has begun,
- 18 months after your STEM Extension has begun, and
- 24 months after your STEM Extension has begun.
When there are any changes in your employment including, but not limited to, a change in your job title or description or change in employer, you must fill out the STEM Extension Employment Update and upload a new Form I-983. You may use the SEVIS Portal to report employment if you would like. However, you are still required to report to International Services even if you reported changes directly to SEVIS.
OPT STEM Extension Frequently Asked Questions
- Current passport (valid for six months from the date of re-entry),
- An I-20 with a travel signature no more than 6 months old,
- A valid F-1 visa stamp,
- EAD Card, and
- Job offer letter or letter that verifies employment.
Dates of travel outside of the United States while employed may not count as days of unemployment. If you are traveling outside of the U.S. for vacation or business while continuing to be employed, the dates outside the U.S. do not need to be tracked or reported as days of unemployment.
- Count all days, including weekends and holidays,
- Count any week in which you are employed less than 20 hours, and
- Count days outside the U.S., if unemployed.
- Leave the U.S.,
- Transfer to another college or university, or
- Apply to change your status if eligible.
The 60-day grace period ends as soon as you leave the country, you are unable to depart and reenter the U.S. during the grace period.