You are eligible to apply for a 24-month OPT extension beyond the initial 12 months if you meet all of the following criteria:
- You are currently approved for post-completion OPT and in the last 90 days of your 12-month employment authorization.
- You have an e-verified employer. E-Verify is an Internet-based system that allows businesses to determine the eligibility of their employees to work in the United States.
- You completed a bachelor's, master's, or doctoral degree in a science, technology, engineering, or math (STEM) field. Check whether your degree is on the STEM Designated Degree Program List. Eligible degrees are listed by their Classification of Instructional Programs (CIP) code. You can find your degree's CIP code on the "Program of Study, Major 1” on the first page of your I-20.
- You have not already used the two maximum STEM Extension OPT authorizations for previous degrees/levels completed earlier in your academic career in the U.S.
The STEM Extension OPT is adjudicated by United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The new STEM extension EAD card begins the day after the expiration of the 12-month EAD card and ends 24 months later, no matter the date of adjudication.
When to Apply
Apply up to 90 days before your current 12-month Optional Practical Training (OPT) expires. United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) must receive your application before your Employment Authorization Document (EAD card) expires.
How to Apply
To receive the new STEM Extension I-20, you must upload the signed and properly filled I-983 Training Plan to the 24 Month OPT STEM Application Google form. Please make sure you are within 90 days of your 12 month OPT expiring; do not submit them earlier. If typing the forms and all necessary information does not fit, please hand write the information in black ink.
- I-983 training plan guide (do not complete page 5, IPS will notify you when this page is required)
How to fill the I-983 training plan
Below you will find step by step directions for you and your employer on how to fill the required I-983. If you have questions please visit the Study In the States link here. Note that in section 3 of the I-983 your employer must list a North American Industry Code which can be found here.
- Section 1: Student Information (Completed by Student)
- Student Name: Enter your full name (Surname/Primary Name, Given Name) exactly as it appears on your SEVIS (Student and Exchange Visitor Information System) issued Form I‐20, “Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant (F‐1) Student Status – For Academic and Language Students.”
- Student Email Address: Enter the email address where you can be contacted.
- Name of School Recommending STEM OPT: Enter the name of your school of most recent enrollment, from which the Designated School Official (DSO) will be recommending STEM OPT.
- Name of School Where STEM Degree Was Earned: Enter the name of the school from which you earned the degree upon which the STEM OPT is based. This may or may not be the same school recommending the STEM OPT if you are using a prior STEM degree.
- SEVIS School Code of School Recommending STEM OPT: Enter the SEVIS School code of the school recommending the STEM OPT (including the 3‐digit suffix). This would be your current school or school of most recent enrollment.
- DSO Name and Contact Information: Enter the full name and contact information, including official address, phone, and email, of the DSO who is recommending this STEM OPT and processed this Form I‐983.
- Student SEVIS ID Number: Enter your SEVIS identification (ID) number.
- STEM OPT Requested Period: Enter the period during which you are requesting to work on STEM OPT (regardless of whether the authorized dates match actual training dates). Note that the STEM OPT extension may not end more than 24 months after the scheduled termination of the student’s Employment Authorization Document for the current period of post‐completion OPT. For a student on 12‐month OPT requesting a STEM OPT extension, the start date should be the day after your current 12‐month OPT ends. For a student on 17‐month STEM OPT requesting conversion to the terms and conditions of a 24‐month STEM OPT extension, the F‐1 student and the student’s employer will be subject to the terms and conditions of the Form I‐983, “Training Plan for STEM OPT Students,” as of the date of receipt at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and thus the requested period should identify a start date on or before proper filing at USCIS.
- Qualifying Major and Classification of Instructional Programs (CIP) Code: Enter your STEM major that qualifies you for the STEM OPT extension, as well as the degree’s (CIP) code. You can find CIP codes on the National Center for Education Statistics website or the ICE website.
- Level/Type of Qualifying Degree: Enter the academic level upon which you are basing STEM OPT. (For example, enter Bachelor’s, Master’s, or Ph.D.)
- Date Awarded: Enter the date when the degree, upon which STEM OPT will be based, was awarded.
- Based on Prior Degree? Check “Yes” if your STEM OPT participation is based on a previously‐obtained STEM degree, and is not the same degree upon which your current post‐completion OPT was granted. Check “No” if your STEM OPT participation is based on your most recently obtained degree, and that is the degree upon which your current postcompletion OPT is based.
- Employment Authorization Number: Enter your “A” number, (which may be found on the
Employment Authorization Document).
- Section 2: Student Certification: Review the certification and affirm the statement by signature.
- Section 3: Employer Information (Completed by Employer)
- Employer Name: Enter your company, university, etc. name.
- Street Address, Suite, City, State, Zip Code: Enter the employer or company mailing address.
- Employer Website URL: Enter the employer website URL, if available. If no website exists, enter N/A.
- Employer ID Number (EIN): Enter the Employer Identification Number (EIN).
- Number of Full‐Time Employees in the United States: Provide the number of full‐time employees in the United States.
- North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) Code: Enter the company’s NAICS code. (Federal statistical agencies use the NAICS code to classify business establishments for the purpose of collecting, analyzing and publishing statistical data related to the U.S. business economy.) NAICS codes are accessible from the United States Census Bureau.
- OPT Training Hours Per Week: Enter the agreed‐upon number of average training hours per week. In order to qualify for STEM OPT, the student must work a minimum of 20 hours per week.
- Start Date of Employment: Enter the date when the student will begin the STEM OPT training with the employer.
- Compensation: Enter the dollar amount of salary, stipend, and/or other compensation, and the frequency of pay (per hour, per week, bi‐weekly, monthly). Other compensation may include housing, tuition waivers, transportation costs, etc. Note: The terms and conditions of a STEM practical training opportunity (including duties, hours, and compensation) must be commensurate with those applicable to similarly situated U.S. workers, except that a STEM OPT participant must work at least 20 hours per week while employed.
- Section 4: Employer Certification
- Employer Certification: The Employer Official with Signatory Authority, who is an appropriate individual in the employer’s organization, who is familiar with the student’s goals and performance, and who is an employee who has signatory authority for the employer should review the certification and affirm the statement by signature.
- Note for Employer Official with Signatory Authority: The Employer Official with Signatory Authority attestation includes the certification at Section 4 (d) which states “The student on a STEM OPT extension will not replace a full‐ or part‐time, temporary or permanent U.S. worker. The terms and conditions of the STEM practical training opportunity—including duties, hours, and compensation—are commensurate with the terms and conditions applicable to the employer’s similarly situated U.S. workers or, if the employer does not employ and has not recently employed more than two similarly situated U.S. workers in the area of employment, the terms and conditions of other similarly situated U.S. workers in the area of employment.”
- Section 5: Training Plan for STEM OPT Students (Completed by Employer): In order to better ensure the academic benefit and integrity of the extension, Federal
regulations require each STEM OPT student to prepare and execute with his or her prospective
employer a formal training plan that identifies learning objectives and a plan for
achieving those objectives. The STEM OPT student and his or her employer must work
together to finalize the plan.
- Student Name: Enter the student’s name (Surname/Primary Name, Given Name) exactly as it appears on the student’s SEVIS‐issued Form I‐20, “Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant (F‐1) Student Status – For Academic and Language Students.”
- Employer Name: Enter the employer’s name, as it appears in “Section 3: Employer Information.”
- Site Name: Enter the employer’s site name, which may be the same as employer name in Section 3. However, if the student is working for a branch or subsidiary of a large entity, or anywhere other than the headquarters, provide the name of this work site.
- Site Address: Enter the exact address of the work site where the STEM practical training will take place.
- Name of Official: Enter the name of the appropriate individual in the employer’s organization who is familiar with, and will monitor, the student’s goals and performance. This may or may not be the same Employer Official as in Section 4.
- Official’s Title: Enter the title of the appropriate individual in the employer’s organization who is familiar with, and will monitor, the student’s goals and performance.
- Official’s Email: Enter the email address of the appropriate individual in the employer’s organization who is familiar with, and will monitor, the student’s goals and performance.
- Official’s Phone Number: Enter the phone number of the appropriate individual in the employer’s organization who is familiar with, and will monitor, the student’s goals and performance.
- Student Role and the Training Program’s Direct Relationship to the Student’s Qualifying STEM Degree: Describe what tasks and assignments the student will carry out during the training and how these relate to the student’s STEM degree. The plan must cover a specific span of time, and detail specific goals and objectives.
- Goals and Objectives: Describe the specific skills, knowledge, and techniques the student will learn or apply; how the student will achieve the goals set out for his or her training; and the training curriculum including the timeline.
- Employer Oversight: Explain how the employer provides oversight and supervision of individuals filling positions such as that being filled by the named F‐1 student. If the employer has a training program or related policy in place that controls such oversight and supervision, a description of this program or policy may suffice to answer the question.
- Measures and Assessments: Explain how the employer measures and confirms whether individuals filling positions such as that being filled by the named F‐1 student are acquiring new knowledge and skills. If the employer has a training program or related policy in place that controls such measures and assessments, a description of this program or policy may suffice to answer the question.
- Additional Remarks. Provide any additional pertinent information.
- Section 6: Employer Official Certification
- Certification of Official with Signatory Authority: Note: The individual who signs this Certification need not be, but can be, the same individual who signed the Employer Certification in Section 4. An employee with signatory authority for the employer should review the certification and affirm the statement by signature. On the material change certification (#4), please note that material changes in the plan can include (but are not limited to) the following: any change of Employer Identification Number resulting from a corporate restructuring, any reduction in compensation from the amount previously submitted on the Form I‐983, “Training Plan for STEM OPT Students,” that is not tied to a reduction in hours worked, any significant decrease in hours per week that a student engages in a STEM training opportunity, and any decrease in hours below the 20‐hours‐perweek minimum required under this rule.
- Evaluation on Student Progress: Student evaluations are a shared responsibility of both the student and the employer to ensure that the student’s practical training goals are being satisfactorily met. The student is responsible for conducting a self‐evaluation based on his or her own training progress. The employer must review and sign the self‐evaluation to attest to its accuracy. The student submits the first assessment within twelve months and a final evaluation that recaps all the training and knowledge acquired during the complete training period. Enter the range of the student evaluation dates (the timeline for which this evaluation is relevant). The student must sign, print name, and enter date of signature. The Employer Official with Signatory Authority must sign, print name, and enter the date of signature to show concurrence with the assessment information that the student has entered.
Be sure to verify all information on both forms for accuracy. IPS will then generate the STEM extension I-20 and email you a scanned copy along with a detailed email regarding the application process and important STEM extension requirements.
Know the OPT fee
USCIS Increases Filing Fee for Form I-765
- On January 30, 2024 U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced adjustments to filing fees for certain immigration requests including Form I-765 Application for Employment Authorization. The I-765 is used by both F-1 and J-1 international students for various employment benefits such as Optional Practical Training and J-2 dependent employment authorization.
What is the change?
- The finalized fee adjustment is as follows:
Why are the fees different by filing type?
- USCIS has stated that because filing online through a myUSCIS account provides cost savings to the agency, they are able to offer lower filing fees for online applications.
When will these changes take effect?
- The new fees will go into effect on April 1, 2024. Any I-765 postmarked on or after this date must include payment at the new fee rate.
On 4/12/2021, US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that F-1 students seeking Optional Practical Training (OPT) can now file their form I-765 online if filling under the pre-completion OPT [(c)(3)(A)], post-completion OPT [(c)(3)(B)], or the STEM extension [(c)(3)(C)] categories. For the full news release, please visit the USCIS website. USCIS encourages students to file their OPT applications online. If you still prefer to file your OPT application using a paper-based application process despite the benefits of online filing, carefully review your submission to ensure the accuracy and completeness of your application.
Benefits of online filing:
- Immediate filing of OPT application with USCIS and issuance of I-797 receipt notice
- Direct access to USCIS notices including, but not limited to, receipt notice, Requests for Evidence, approval notice, etc.
- Ability to communicate with USCIS through a secure inbox.
- Option to provide additional unsolicited evidence/updates to your application if necessary.
- Minimizes risk of rejection of the application by vetting common reasons for rejection such as applicant’s signature and proper fee payment.
- Ability to pay application fee through your bank account (ACH), debit, or credit card.
Reminders for online filing:
- You must be physically present in the U.S. when your OPT application is filed with USCIS.
- While filing Form I-765 online allows for immediate filing and receipt of your application, the overall processing time for the I-765 application is the same regardless of paper vs. online filing. See the USCIS website for current processing times.
- Please carefully review all answers and documentation before submitting your application to USCIS. Any amendments to the application would need to be submitted to USCIS by uploading evidence in the ‘Unsolicited evidence’ section of the ‘Documents’ tab of your USCIS online account. Additional evidence that was not requested in a request for evidence will be considered by USCIS at their discretion. USCIS will consider the timeliness and relevance of the information when adjudicating your application.
- USCIS has the discretion to require biometrics appointments on a case-by-case basis.
- Since online filing has only been announced in April 2021, our office cannot anticipate all potential online filing challenges or assist in-depth with the actual online application.
- You MUST fill the I-983 training plan and upload it to the 24-Month STEM OPT Application form, even if you file your I-765 online. View a sample filled I-983 training plan and click here for detailed step-by-step instructions.
Recommended steps for completing the I-765 application online
- Basis of eligibility: Select (c)(3)(C)
- What is your degree? List your STEM eligible major and degree level
- What is your employer’s name as listed in E-Verify? List your employer’s name
- What is your employer’s E-Verify company identification number or a valid E-Verify client company identification number? List the 5 – 7 digit number. Note that this IS NOT the same thing as the Employer Identification (EIN) number required on Form I-983.
- Reason for applying: Check "Initial permission to accept employment" (as this is your first time applying for category (c)(3)(C)
- Have you previously filed Form I-765? Check “Yes”
Preparer and interpreter information
Is someone assisting you with completing this application: Check “No”
- Your name:
- What is your current legal name?
- Have you used any other names since birth?
- Your contact information:
- How may we contact you?
- Daytime telephone number
- Email address
- What is your current U.S. mailing address?
- Is your current mailing address the same as your physical address?
- Describe yourself:
- What is your gender?
- What is your marital status?
- When and where you were born:
- What is your city, town, or village of birth?
- What is your state or province of birth?
- What is your country of birth?
- What is your date of birth?
- Your immigration information:
- What is your country of citizenship or nationality?
- What is your Form I-94 Arrival-Departure Record Number?
- When did you last arrive in the United States?
- Date of Arrival
- Place of arrival (airport)
- Status at last arrival (Most likely F1)
- What is the passport number of your most recently issued passport?
- What is your travel document number (if any)? (You're most likely to leave this section blank)
- What is the expiration date of your passport or travel document?
- What country issued your passport or travel document?
- What is your current immigration status or category? F1
- What is your Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) Number? Take a look at the top left of your most recent I-20. Your SEVIS ID is listed there.
- Other information:
- What is your A-number? You should include the USCIS number listed on your post-completion OPT EAD card here.
- What is your USCIS Online Account Number? You will most likely check “I do not have or know my USCIS Online Account Number.”
- Has the Social Security Administration (SSA) ever officially issued a Social Security Card to you? Yes
- What is your Social Security Number?
Documents/evidences to submit
You must ensure that all of your documents are in pdf and photos in jpeg.
- 2x2 photo (You may have to resize the photo to meet upload criteria)
- Copy of your most recent form I-94 - https://i94.cbp.dhs.gov/I94/#/home
- Previous Employment Authorization Document, if applicable. (If you do not have a former EAD, you should upload a copy of the photo page of your passport here.)
- I-20s with former CPT or OPT details, if applicable. You should include previous degree level CPT and OPT here if available. If you do not have these documents available, see “Additional Information” below.
- Form I-20. This is the I-20 you will receive from IPS after submitting your STEM OPT I-20 Request Form. DO NOT upload a previous I-20 without a STEM OPT recommendation on page 2. The I-20 must be signed by an IPS advisor and by you. You can use a digital or handwritten signature.
- Your diploma showing proof of the STEM eligible degree.
- Institution Accreditation: You do not need to upload anything for this section unless you are applying for STEM OPT based on a PREVIOUS degree, i.e., a degree prior to the one you obtained at MTU.
If you have previously authorized CPT or OPT and do not have former I-20s with these details, you should do the following.
- Section: Evidence
- Page: Post-completion CPT or OPT
- Question: Post-completion CPT or OPT
- Additional information:
- Type of previously authorized practical training (CPT, OPT, etc.)
- Dates of previously authorized practical training
- Application status (approved, denied, or withdrawn)
- Degree level (Bachelors, Masters, Ph.D., etc.)
- The receipt or card number from any previous OPT
Review and Submit
- Review your application
- Read and agree to the “Applicant’s statement”
- Digitally sign
- Pay the application fee
- Submit your STEM OPT application
Please remember that USCIS encourages students to file their OPT applications online. If you still prefer to file your OPT application using a paper-based application process despite the benefits of online filing, carefully review your submission to ensure the accuracy and completeness of your application.
- I-765 application guide (Must be signed in black ink)
- I-983 training plan guide (This must be filled and uploaded to the 24-Month STEM OPT Application form; click here for detailed step-by-step filling instructions)
Gather the following documents before proceeding with you application. We are happy to review your I-765 packet before you mail or submit it. Send a copy of all documents to firstname.lastname@example.org (compile all documents into one single pdf, do not send a zip file) if you would like it reviewed.
- I-765 application (Scroll down and look under the Forms and Document Downloads option):
- You can handwrite in black ink for fields that either do not allow numbers to be typed in or there is a word limit.
- It is your responsibility to make sure you have the most up to date I-765 application.
- Section 28.C on the I-765 must be the company's E-verify number, NOT the Employer Identification Number (EIN). There is a difference. The E-verify number is 5-7 digits, while EIN is 9 digits.
- You must send all 7 pages of the I-765 form, EVEN IF the pages are blank.
- For paper filing, you must include a $520 money order (from a bank) to "US Department of Homeland Security". It is your responsibility to verify you have the correct fee by checking here.
- Two passport-size color photos, two inches by two inches, taken within 30 days of filing. (Write your name and I-94 number in pencil on the back of the photo)
- Copy of the front and back of your current EAD card, and the paper the EAD card was attached to.
- Copy of new OPT STEM extension I-20 from IPS.
- Copy of all previous I-20s . If you need copies of your previous I-20s fill out this form: Missing I-20 Request
- Official or unofficial transcript and copy of the diploma that shows your degree level and program of study
- Your most recent I-94
- Passport (identity page, any renewal pages, AND the page having your F1 visa)
- Offer letter from your employer
- Copy of Form I-797C (receipt notice from the initial 12-month OPT)
- Form G-1145, E-Notification of Application, authorizing USCIS to text or email you when they receive the application at the processing center
You do NOT have to submit a copy of the I-983 training plan with your STEM Extension application to USCIS. The IPS DSO uploads a copy of the I-983 direct into SEVIS records when the DSO creates the necessary I-20.
You must send your packet to one of the addresses listed below:
USPS (United States Postal Service)
Attn: I-765 C03
PO Box 805373
Chicago, IL 60680-5374
FedEx or UPS
Attn: I-765 C03 (Box 805373)
131 South Dearborn - 3rd Floor
Chicago, IL 60603-5517
It is the student’s responsibility to verify the shipping address of the sorting facility.
USCIS must receive the OPT packet within 30 days of the new I-20 generation date.
Be sure to double-check the following before mailing out your packet:
- All forms are signed by you, including your OPT STEM I-20 and any other I-20s.
- Make a copy of the entire packet for your records, making sure to send the original signed I-765 application. If USCIS receives an application with a photocopy of your signature, your packet will be returned.
- Mail to the correct USCIS filing address.
- USCIS sends the Receipt Notice, Form I-797C, two to four weeks after the application is filed.
- OPT STEM Extension processing time is 90 days or longer. You are eligible to continue working up to 180 days while the STEM Extension is pending.
- Once you receive all 3 documents (receipt notice, approval notice, EAD) from USCIS, you MUST upload all of them to the USCIS Document Upload Form. This is mandatory.
- If you had your documents sent to IPS (i.e., entered the IPS address as your mailing address while filling the form), we will email you scanned copies and instructions on how to collect your documents. In that case, you do not need to fill out the document upload form above.
Michigan Tech International Programs and Services Office is recommending to all international students to minimize international travel due to the changes to U.S. Immigration Policy. Given the current state of U.S. immigration climate, be prepared for the possibility of increased scrutiny at U.S. ports of entry through additional questioning and/or inspection of your social media and personal phone. IPS is still here to help and support international students in any way we can.
When you're on OPT or STEM extension, your status is still F-1. So, if you travel outside of the United States, you must have the following documentation to re-enter:
- Valid EAD card
- I-20 with travel signature (no more than six months old) with current employer information listed on page two of your I-20
- Valid F-1 visa stamp, unless you are able to use Automatic Visa Revalidation. It is possible to renew your F-1 visa during STEM OPT.
- Current passport, valid for at least six months after the date you are entering.
- We strongly recommend that you also carry your job offer letter from a current or future employer. Days abroad do not count toward unemployment if the time is excused by the company or it is travel for business.
International travel is not recommended while a STEM extension OPT application is pending.
To qualify for a STEM Optional Practical Training extension, you must be a verified employee of the employer who signs your Training Plan. The employer who signs the plan must be the same employer who provides the practical training experience. STEM-eligible employers must have E-Verify and Employer Identification Numbers (EIN).
Work that is Not Allowed
- Jobs through employment agencies or third party recruiters may not be allowed if a bona fide employer-employee relationship is not maintained as described by USCIS. The supervisor you list in section 5 on your 1-983 must be located physically on your job site overseeing your 1-983. Do not list an HR employee in section 5 unless they are actually on your job site.
- Volunteer/unpaid jobs
- Any other work relationship that does not constitute a bona fide employer-employee relationship
Requirements to maintain F-1 status while on STEM OPT:
- Do not be unemployed for more than 150 days (includes unemployment during your initial 12-month OPT).
- Report any change of residential address on Banweb within 10 days of the change.
- Complete necessary employment verification every 6 months.
- Submit the 24 Month OPT Change of Employment Form within 10 days of every change in employment. For loss of employment, submit the Unemployment Update Form. If you have a supervisor, site address or job title change fill out the 24 Month STEM Material Change Form
If You Change Employers While on STEM OPT
You must do all of the following before a new I-20 is issued:
- Submit the whole I-983 form for your previous employer with section 5 filled out to the Google Form below.
- Submit a new I-983 form for your new employer to the Google Form below.
- Fill out the 24 Month OPT Change of Employment Form.
Students on STEM OPT CANNOT change employment information in the SEVP Portal. The DSO must do all employment changes.
Updated Form I-983 Mentoring and Training Plan
A new Form I-983 Mentoring and Training Plan must be submitted to IPS within 10 days of:
- beginning a new practical training opportunity with a new employer during the 24-month extension
- any time there is a "material change" (supervisor,site address or job title change) in the terms and conditions of the original I-983 you need to fill out the 24 Month STEM Material Change Form
Form I-983 must be signed by the student and your immediate supervisor, and then submitted to email@example.com.
You Need to Know
You must report termination or departure from your job to IPS within ten days. Find comprehensive information on STEM OPT Extension rules and requirements on the USCIS website.
Recently USCIS notified universities of 1,100 international students who listed fraudulent employment in SEVIS. It is imperative students follow all USCIS rules and regulations. The students caught had their OPT and visa status terminated.
Students who claim to be employed by companies that don’t exist can be arrested and their F1 visas revoked and deported. “ICE has a system of checks in place to mitigate fraud and is committed to protecting national security by ensuring that students, visitors, and schools comply with U.S. immigration laws.
IPS wants all students to remain in status; however, if you falsify employment, IPS must inform the OPT Taskforce, causing you to lose the OPT benefit, and your F-1 visa will be revoked. Never lie about OPT employment, you will get caught, and the outcome is far worse than having unemployment days accrue. You need to know USCIS is increasing F1 student employment site visits ensuring the information provided is accurate.
Moving forward on all Michigan Tech OPT forms, you will be required to answer a question stating, "I acknowledge that this is valid employment, and I understand if this is not valid, I will lose my current and future visa status."
You are required to do employment verification every 6 months even if nothing has changed or you just changed employers. THIS IS NOT OPTIONAL. Recently we had a student from Michigan Tech have their STEM Extension terminated because they DID NOT complete the employment verification. You will receive emails from Machel when you are due for an employment verification. Please follow all directions and read the form and email VERY carefully.
For 5-6 Month and 17-18 Month
You must submit the 24 Month OPT Employment Verification Form. You do not have to upload a new training plan UNLESS something on your training plan has changed since your last employment verification.
For 11-12 Month
You must submit the 24 Month OPT Employment Verification Form and the ENTIRE I-983 training plan with "Evaluation on Student progress" on page 5 filled out submitted to the Google Form.
For 23-24 Month
You must submit the 24 Month OPT Employment Verification Form and the ENTIRE I-983 training plan with "Final evaluation on Student progress" on page 5 filled out submitted to the Google Form.
You have a 60-day grace period after your STEM Extension. You can use this time to prepare for your departure, transfer to another US school, or change to another status.
You may be eligible for the Cap-Gap if you are changing to an H-1B visa with an October 1 start date.
Use this form if you would like to request a Cap-Gap I-20 from (April-June): 1st Cap Gap Request Form
Use this form if you would like to request a Cap-Gap I-20 from (June-September 30): 2nd Cap Gap Request Form
- Use this form to request your STEM Extension I-20: 24 Month OPT STEM Application
- Use this form to report employer changes: 24 Month OPT Change of Employment Form
- Use this form if you need to update supervisor information and/or site address of your worksite: 24 Month STEM Material Change Form
- Use this form to complete employment verification every 6 months: 24 Month OPT Employment Verification Form
- Use this form to request an SEVP Portal reset or new activation link: SEVP Portal Reset Request
- Use this form to report unemployment ONLY if you do not have another job lined up, you will not receive a new I-20 until you get a new job. Please also email your ENTIRE training plan with "Final Evaluation on Student progress" filled out to firstname.lastname@example.org: OPT Unemployment Form
- Use this form if you want to request copies of previous I-20s: Missing I-20 Request Form
- Use this form if you would like to request a Cap-Gap I-20 from (April-June): 1st Cap Gap Request Form
- Use this form if you would like to request a Cap-Gap I-20 from (June-September 30): 2nd Cap Gap Request Form
- Use this form if you wish to leave the country and terminate your OPT: OPT Termination Form
When you applied for OPT, if we told you to change the mailing address on your I-765 to your address, you need to submit all the documents UCSIS sends you to the USCIS Document Upload Form you may upload them as they come in or submit all at once.
- IPS has been notified of USCIS significant delays in issuing receipt notices for OPT applications and petitions. IPS understands how the OPT receipt is causing the in-process OPT applicants anxiety and for some hardship. If it has been 30 business days since your application was received, you may contact the USCIS Lockbox. Remember US Holidays and weekends must be taken into account. All in-process OPT applicants are advised to keep confirmation of the delivery of their application. OPT/STEM OPT Extension deadlines are linked to the date USCIS receives your application, not the date you receive your Receipt Notice. You may or may not receive a letter from USCIS letting you know that your application has been transferred to another lockbox facility. If so, make sure you keep the letter incase your application surpasses the OPT application allotted time.
- As of 01/08/2021, all new OPT and STEM OPT extension applications will be sent to the USCIS Chicago Lockbox. Before January 8, 2021, Form I-765 application for OPT or STEM OPT extension was sent to one of two other USCIS Lockbox facilities. If you sent the packet before 01/08/2021 to Arizona or Nebraska, that's fine, and don't stress. If you sent the packet out after 01/08/2021 to Arizona or Nebraska, USCIS will forward it to the processing center or forward the application to the Chicago sorting facility, and they will forward it to the processing center.
- Unfortunately, due to COVID, USCIS is extremely short-staffed. IPS is staying up to date on all current information. Though we wish we could do more, please remember all universities are having the same issue. Keep in mind this is the US Government, and University DSOs can only do so much.
- If you consider traveling outside the USA, please read the CDC Media Statement issued
01/14/2021; if you do not need to travel, DONT as CDC rules are changing rapidly.
"The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is expanding the requirement for a negative COVID-19 test to all air passengers entering the United States. Air passengers must get a viral test (a test for current infection) within ONE DAY before their flight to the U.S. departs, and provide written documentation of their laboratory test result (paper or electronic copy) to the airline or provide documentation of having recovered from COVID-19. Airlines must confirm the negative test result for all passengers or documentation of recovery before they board. If a passenger does not provide documentation of a negative test or recovery or chooses not to take a test, the airline must deny boarding to the passenger." You can find the most current up to date CDC travel information here.
- The Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) announced a new “OPT Employment Compliance Unit” that will be dedicated to compliance matters involving wages, hours, and compensation within Optional Practical Training (OPT), the STEM OPT extension and Curricular Practical Training. The unit will publish a report at least annually on its findings, with the first report to be published by July 31, 2021. The unit will be responsible for “recommending investigations of employers and students, as needed, to Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) to ensure that the OPT programs operate in a lawful manner at U.S. worksites.” The unit will also “evaluate whether employers are adhering to the attestations and training plans required under the OPT extension, which will include on-site visitation.”
- If you have any questions or doubts, be sure to check out the Frequently Asked Questions page before emailing email@example.com.
- Even if you have applied for H-1B we still recommend you apply for STEM Extension as a backup.
- When you receive your H-1B Approval Notice from USCIS, upload it to the H1B Approval Notice Form, and your ENTIRE Training plan with page 5 (Final Evaluation) filled out. Do not submit the form until you have both. If the H1B does not go into effect until October 1st, do NOT submit the approval and final I-983 until the end of September. You must remain in F1 status until the H1B actually takes effect from October 1st. If you submit the form early, IPS will terminate your F1 record too soon. All F1 rules and regulations still apply until the H1B actually goes into effect, even if you have received the approval notice.
- If you have consular H-1B, DO NOT submit until you receive the H-1B visa stamp. IPS cannot change your record to H-1B until you receive the stamp.