Reminder: Submit a Complete Application for the STEM OPT Extension

Published: 11/30/2016


If you are an F-1 international student applying for the 24-month science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) optional practical training (OPT) extension, you must submit a complete application package to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

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A complete application package includes:

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Your updated and signed Form I-20, “Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status.”
A completed Form I-765, “Application for Employment Authorization.”
The application fee.
A copy of your eligible STEM degree.
Any additional supporting information.

You can only receive your updated, signed Form I-20 from your designated school official (DSO) signed after they have recommended you for the extension in the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS). This must take place no more than 30 days before you apply for STEM OPT.

To receive the recommendation from your DSO, you must first work with your STEM OPT employer to complete the Form I-983, “Training Plan for STEM OPT Students.” You must return the completed, signed Form I-983 to your DSO.  Your DSO will keep your Form I-983 on file and you do not need to submit the Form I-983 to USCIS unless requested to do so.

Once your DSO receives the Form I-983 you completed with your employer, they can then recommend you in SEVIS. Once the recommendation is in SEVIS, your DSO will provide you with an updated Form I-20 with their signature on it.  Include this updated, signed From I-20 in your STEM OPT application package to USCIS. After you have properly filed your complete application package, contact USCIS with any questions about its status.

Want to learn more about the STEM OPT extension and find out if you are eligible? Visit the Study in the States STEM OPT Hub for more information.


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