STEM OPT Extension Application Information
Eligible students may file up to 90 days prior to the end date on their EAD card. In order to be eligible for a STEM extension, the student’s degree must be in an approved STEM field. You can find the list at ice.gov/sevis/stemlist.htm. You must apply for a STEM extension before your original OPT EAD card expires. Students already approved for a 17-month extension with more than 150 days remaining on their EAD care may apply for an additional 7-month extension. The 7-month extension application must be receipted by USCIS before August 8, 2016.
To apply for STEM:
You will apply by logging into Truview, going to your Student Tab, clicking on the Registration Tab, selecting the F-1 Student Forms link, and completing the OPT Extension Update Form. You must also submit an I-765 application for employment form, just as you used to apply for post-completion OPT. Additionally, you must submit the completed Form I-983. For complete information regarding STEM extension, visit the Study in the States STEM Help Hub.
There are slight differences in the way you complete the I-765 application form, for a STEM Extension so read these instructions carefully. Once your application materials are assembled, scan and email them to the Center for International Students at firstname.lastname@example.org for review. The CIS staff will recommend any changes you need to make.
Recent changes to STEM rules mean that as of May 10, 2016, all approved STEM applications will result in an EAD issued for 24 months. Please keep the following changes in mind:
- As of May 10, 2016, you will also need to complete the Form I-983 with your employer and submit that to the CIS with your application materials. For a pre-filled Form I-983 for Truman State University.
- Students who have STEM applications in requested or pending status as of May 10, 2016 will be considered for the 24-month extension, but you must wait until you receive a ‘Request for Evidence’ or RFE. The RFE will ask again for all of the supporting materials that you have already sent USCIS in your first application, as well as a new I-20 recommending a 24-month extension. In order to create this I-20, the CIS must receive the completed Form I-983.
- Students who have approved STEM extensions that will expire after October 7, 2016 are eligible to apply for an additional 7 months. However, they must pay an additional filing fee, submit a Form I-983 with their employer to the CIS, and apply before August 7, 2016.
Once you have completed the online Truview STEM extension request and the CIS staff has ensured your documents are in order, they will mail your new STEM extension I-20 to you. You must then:
- Sign your STEM extension I-20 and copy it keeping the original and using the copy for the application
- Make any edits recommended by the CIS to your application
- Assemble and mail the packet to USCIS. It is your responsibility to assemble and mail the application packet. Remember you are including the COPY of your new I-20 in your application and keeping the original as part of your immigration records.
Complete application as follows:
1. I-765 application: special instructions
Please use the CIS office address to ensure that all correspondence regarding your application are received:
C/O M. Crist 100 E Normal St.
Kirksville, MO 63501
– Check ‘yes’ and look at the receipt number from your OPT application. If it starts with LIN, the Nebraska Service Center is the issuing office. If it starts with YSC, the Potomac Service Center is the issuing office.
– In the Date(s) section- include the dates of your employment authorization. Use start and end dates from your EAD card; if the dates do not fit in the given space, you should hand-write the dates neatly.
– Just write “Granted”- no dates are necessary.
Section 14 and 15:
– Write “Student F-1” for both.
– Write “(C)(3)(C)”
– You should enter the primary major CIP code, found on the top of page 3 of your most recent I-20 in the “Degree” section. The CIP code is the six digit number listed directly before your major at the top of page 3 of your I-20 (example: 14.1001). Your employer will provide you with their name as it appears in E-verify and their E-verify identification number.
- Complete the SEVIS Release Form
- Complete the online Truview STEM extension request by logging into Truview, going to your Student Tab, clicking on the Registration Tab, and selecting the F-1 Student Forms link. You will see the STEM extension option. This should be completed once the rest of the application materials have been gathered.
- Copy of new I-20 with the STEM OPT extension recommendation.
- Make sure to sign and date the bottom of page 1 on the line indicated before copying to send with your application!
- Copy of the bibliographical page of your passport
- The expiration date must be at least 6 months in the future.
- Copy of your most recent F-1 visa stamp
- Copy of I-94 record
- If you still have a paper I-94, include a copy of the front and back of your I-94 card. The paper I-94 card is the white card typically stapled in the passport opposite your visa. If you do not have a paper I-94 record, obtain and print the electronic record at https://i94.cbp.dhs.gov.
- Copy of your current EAD card and any previous EAD cards.
- Copies of all previous I-20s in order from newest to oldest (the first one should be your post-completion OPT I-20.)
- Degree verification for the degree for which you were granted OPT. This would be a copy of your diploma.
- Two passport-style photos with your last name and I-94 number on the back of each photo IN PENCIL (like you submitted for your original OPT application).
10. Check or money order for $410 payable to ‘Department of Homeland Security.” This should be attached with a paperclip to the front of the I-765.
11. Letter from your employer (preferably stamped, signed, and on company letterhead) listing the dates of your employment, your duties, salary, position title, and acknowledgment that they would like to continue to employ you beyond the date of your OPT.
Once you have mailed your materials, USCIS will mail a receipt to the Center for International Students, just like for OPT. The number on the receipt will allow you to track the progress of your new EAD card on the USCIS website. Once your application has been processed and approved, you will receive a STEM Extension EAD Card to replace your current EAD card.