STEM OPT Extension

Students with science, technology, engineering, or math (STEM) degrees may apply to extend their post-completion OPT authorization for 24 additional months. USCIS must receive your STEM OPT extension application before your 12-month OPT EAD card expiration date. You can apply as early as 90 days before your current 12-month OPT EAD card expiration date.

Eligibility

  • Be in valid F-1 status
  • Be currently working in a period of post-completion OPT
  • Have a degree in an eligible STEM field. The qualifying STEM degree must be on the Department of Homeland Security STEM Designated Degree Program List at the time you submit your STEM OPT extension application (rather than at the time you received the degree)
  • Have a job offer that meets the following requirements:
    • The job is with an employer enrolled in the USCIS E-Verify program
    • The job offers at least 20 hours of work per week
    • The job will provide formal training and learning objectives directly related to your qualifying STEM degree
    • Be able to complete the I-983 Training Plan with your employer

How to apply

To begin the process, please work with your current employer to complete the Form I-983 Training Plan. Please make sure to carefully read the instructions to complete the Form I-983. You are required to complete section 1 of the form and for completing annual self-evaluations. Sections 2-6 should be done with your employer.

Once the Form I-983 is complete, return it to the Assistant Dean of International Student Services and we will review it to determine if we will provide the DSO recommendation for the STEM Extension.

Upon receiving the STEM Extension recommendation and updated Form I-20 you can then apply through USCIS.

The complete application package includes:

  • Form I-765  (Do not type your name in the signature line – you must sign your name in pen. Enter the code of (c) (3) (c) in item #16 – designates application for a STEM-eligible extension. Enter the appropriate “CIP” code in item #17 that shows your degree is eligible for a STEM Extension
  • G-1145 (for electronic notifications from USCIS of your case status be text message/email.
  • Original Form I-20 with STEM Extension DSO request (followed by photocopies of all previous Form I-20s issued)
  • Letter from your employer (on letterhead paper) stating how your employment relates to your degree.
  • A copy of your Williams College transcript (official transcript is preferred)
  • $410 check or money order payable to the “United States Citizen and Immigration Services”
  • Copy of Form I-94 Departure Record (with travel history)
  • Copy of the identification page of passport and visa
  • Copy of all previous EAD cards (front and back)
  • Two passport size photos taken in the U.S. within the past 30 days (write name on the back in pencil)

Mail the application

For U.S. Postal Service (USPS) Deliveries

  • USCIS
    PO Box 660867
    Dallas, TX 75266

For Express Mail and Courier Service Deliveries

  • USCIS
    Attn: AOS
    2501 S. State Hwy. 121 Business
    Suite 400
    Lewisville, TX 75067

STEM OPT Reporting Requirements

The following information must be reported to the Assistant Dean of International Student Services while on STEM OPT within 10 days of the change:

  • Any change in name or residential address
  • Employer’s name and address
  • Any break in the employment period
  • Changes to an existing I-983 Training plan
  • Change in employer

Every Year

You must submit an annual self-evaluation to the Assistant Dean of International Student Services about the progress of your training experience. This self-evaluation must be signed by you and your employer in the I-983 Training Plan.