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STEM: Optional Practical Training Extension

STEM OPT Extension

The STEM OPT Extension is a 24-month extension of work authorization available to international students who are currently engaged in Optional Practical Training (OPT) and who have earned a qualifying degree in a science, technology, engineering, or math (STEM) field. Students require a STEM OPT I-20 from ISSS as part of their application to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).


Step 1. Review the  Guide to Applying for STEM OPT.

Step 2. Request a STEM OPT I-20 through the STEM OPT Request & Reporting Form. Begin by completing an I-983 with your employer and attach it to your request. For assistance in completing this form, please view our Guide to Completing the I-983. Please allow for 3-5 business days for ISSS to prepare the STEM OPT I-20.

Step 3. Gather documents using our Checklist.

Step 4. File I-765 online through the USCIS website. See our instructions below for step-by-step instructions for completing the I-765. USCIS must receive your application within 30 days of the STEM OPT I-20 issuance date and before EAD expires.

Step 5. Receive receipt notice immediately after submitting your application to USCIS. Despite filing online, students will still receive an additional paper receipt notice in the mail. 

Step 6. Receive your EAD card approximately 3-4 month later.

Step 7. Report your employment to ISSS. Report any address or employment changes through the SEVP portal within 10 days of any change. When you change employers or need to validate your employment please use the STEM OPT Request & Reporting Form.

If you receive any other communications from USCIS while the STEM OPT application is under process, share this with ISSS immediately. ISSS can determine if any action must be taken.


International Student and Scholar Services

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