STEM Application

This page is a guide to students apply for the STEM OPT extension benefit and will walk you through the ISSO I-20 request, the USCIS petition, assistance with the I-765 and the I-983 as well as information on fees and filing locations.  The information on this page should be read in its entirety, top to bottom, and throughly. This webpage should answer all of your questions regarding your submission.  The STEM OPT benefit is available to students in STEM eligible fields.  You should look on your I-20 at the code next to your major under Program of Study.

How to Request a STEM OPT I-20 from the ISSO

To request the STEM OPT I-20 from the ISSO you will subit an electronic request.  You should:

Within 5-business days and advisor will review your submission, contact you with any follow-up questions, and process your STEM OPT I-20.

Receiving Your STEM OPT I-20.

You may pick up your STEM OPT I-20 from Monday to Friday from 8:30 AM to 5:00 PM.  If you are not local, you may have a friend pick up and mail to you if you sign off on the 3rd part pick up permission form. You may also submit a request to have it mailed to you via US Postal Service.  Please send a pre-addressed envelope with pre-paid postage stamp.

Checklist of Items to Send USCIS in STEM OPT Packet

After you receive your STEM OPT I-20 from the ISSO, you will assemble your USICS peition.  Please be sure to include:

Mailing your STEM OPT Packet and Checking the Status of your Case

Once you have assembled your packet you will locate your filing location depending on the state you are currently residing in. Once submitted, in approximatly two weeks you will get an email and text from the USICS lockbox facility with a receipt number. You may use that receipt number to check the status of your case online. You may also call the USCIS National Customer Service Center or make an appointment with the local USCIS Field Office in the JFK Building in Government Center.

You should keep a copy of the entire packet for your records.

Tips on the I-765

You will be fairly familiar with the I-765, as you previoulsy filled this out for your initial OPT request. A few tips:

Tips on the I-983

All questions about the I-983 are answered on the Study in the States I-983 webpage. After thoroughly reading that page, you should have no questions. Here is a checklist of what to do when completing the form:

Understanding Your STEM I-20

The STEM I-20 indicates periods of time when you have employment authorization in the US. It is not a resume.  Dates of the various jobs help will not be reflected on the I-20.  Rather periods of employment will be reflected on the I-20.  You may have various employers and your pay stubs and emplolyment letters from your employer are the definitive record of your emploment with any company.

Changing an Employer while a STEM OPT Extension is Pending

Students can change employers while a STEM application is pending, as long as the new Employer is an E-Verify Employer.  Students should: