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STEM Post-OPT Extension

Overview

F-1 students currently on post-completion OPT based on a prior bachelor's, Master's, or PhD (Otis does not offer a this degree type) degree in a science, technology, engineering, or math (STEM) field may be eligible for a one-time 24-month OPT extension, beyond the initial 12 months of OPT. All STEM OPT extensions are approved by USCIS. 

 

About STEM OPT Extension

  • You must already be currently approved for post-completion OPT.
  • You must have completed a bachelor's, master's, or doctoral degree in a science, technology, engineering, or math (STEM) field.
    • Visit the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement website for the STEM Designated Degree Program List. Eligible degrees are listed by their Classification of Instructional Programs (CIP) code. Your degree's CIP code is listed on the "primary major" line in the top left corner on the third page of your I-20.
  • You must have a job or job offer from an E-Verify employer.  Ask your employer if they are E-Verified.
  • You have not previously received a 24-month OPT extension after earning a previous STEM degree.
  • You may have multiple employers, but you must be employed at minimum, 20 hours per week per employer
  • You and your employer must have complete the Form I-983 Training Plan
  • You may not exceed 90 days of unemployment during the first 12 months of OPT, and an additional 60 days for students who obtain a 24-month extension.
  • Employment must be related to your field of study.
  • You may apply for the STEM extension twice per lifetime.
 

When to Apply

Apply before your current EAD expires. USCIS recommends you apply up to 120 days before your OPT expiration. You can continue to work for up to 180 days while the application is pending.

 

Application Procedures

Submit the following documents to DSO, Angelina Lee, she is located in the Career Services (by email, mail, or in person): Please allow one week for processing. Angelina Lee will issue a new I-20 with a recommendation for the OPT extension and will mail it back to you at the updated local address provided*

 

1) Complete Form I-983 Training Plan. This form must be submitted to DSO, Angelina Lee (not to USCIS as part of the formal application packet). Otis is required to maintain the I-983 for each STEM applicant. You are required to submit a new I-983 any time there is an update to your employer or to the nature of the employment as reflected in the I-983.

Instructions on How to Complete the I-983

2) Completed I-765 form

Type online or print in BLACK ink

Item 11:

Answer: “Yes”

Which Office: Refer to your EAD or ask ISP.

There are several USCIS Service Centers that adjudicate OPT applications.  The Service Center's code is found in the first three letters of the USCIS # on your EAD.  For example, if your EAD shows WAC12345678, the "WAC" signifies that the California Service Center adjudicated your OPT application.  The Service Center codes are below:

WAC = California Service Center

YSC = Potomac Service Center

EAC = Vermont Service Center

LIN = Nebraska Service Center

SRC = Texas Service Center

Item 16: Use the applicable code (c) (3) (C)

Item 17: Please ask for an E-Verify code from your employer. An E-Verify ID number has 6 digits.

3) Request a new I-20 STEM OPT from Angelina Lee. You will need to submit a copy of this I-20 as part of the formal application packet.

The STEM OPT I-20 can only be issued once the Form I-983 has been received by Angelina Lee, DSO

4) Photocopy of I-20 issued for your 12 month OPT.

5) Application fee: $380 check or money order payable to "U.S. Department of Homeland Security"

6) Photocopy of STEM degree (official transcript, unofficial transcript, or copy of diploma showing level and program of study

7) Photocopy of your I-94 card- which can be obtained at CBP.gov/I94

8) Photocopy of your last EAD (front and back)

9) Photocopy of passport identification page

10) Photocopy of F-1 visa page

11) Two photos of the following specifications:

USCIS photo instructions (see the "Required Documentation" section on page 6)

The two photos should have a white background.

They should be un-mounted, printed on thin paper, glossy, and not re-touched.

The photos should show a passport-style, full-face image, with both ears visible.

The photos should be 2 by 2 inches, with the distance from the top of the head to just below the chin about 1 3/8 inches.

Lightly print your name and your I-94 number in pencil on the back of each photo.

Photographs must have been taken within the last 30 days and not previously used.

12) Completed G-1145 form (optional; it signs you up for email/text message notification of your application’s arrival at USCIS)

13) Mail your application to the appropriate USCIS lockbox.

If you live in Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Washington, Wisconsin, Wyoming, Guam, or the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands, be sure to mail your application to the USCIS Phoenix lockbox:

USCIS Phoenix Lockbox

USCIS
PO Box 21281
Phoenix, AZ 85036

For Express Mail and Courier Deliveries

USCIS
Attn: AOS
1820 E. Skyharbor Circle S
Suite 100
Phoenix, AZ 85034

 

Additional Resources

Students with Exisiting 17-Month STEM OPT Extensions
Students with 17-Month STEM OPT Applications Pending on May 10 2016
STEM OPT Help Hub (FAQs)
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