STEM Application Procedures

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Timeline: When to Apply

Students with a STEM degree and currently in the 12-month OPT period:

  • USCIS must receive your OPT STEM extension application before your current 12-month OPT expiration date.
  • Apply as early as 90 days before your current 12-month OPT expires.

Eligibility

To qualify for the 24-month STEM OPT extension, you must:

  • Be in F-1 status
  • Be currently working in a period of post-completion OPT
  • Have a bachelor's degree or higher degree in an eligible STEM field
    • You may be eligible use a prior STEM degree for this requirement; to use a prior STEM degree, you must:
    • Have received your most recent degree (which does not need to be STEM-related) from a currently accredited Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP)-certified school in the U.S.
    • Have received your prior, qualifying STEM degree within 10 years of applying for the STEM OPT extension.
    • The qualifying STEM degree must be on the Department of Homeland Security's STEM Designated Degree Program List at the time you submit your STEM OPT extension application (rather than at the time you received the degree).
  • Have a job offer that meets the following requirements:
    • The job is with an employer enrolled in the USCIS E-Verify program
    • The job offers at least 20 hours of work per week
    • The job will provide formal training and learning objectives directly related to your qualifying STEM degree
  • Be able to complete the I-983 Training Plan with your employer
    • Students must obtain the Form I-983 online at https://studyinthestates.dhs.gov before they request the STEM OPT I-20. The STEM OPT student and their prospective employer must work together to complete this form prior to the student applying for the STEM OPT extension. Completed I-983 form can be scanned and emailed to dso@semo.edu. A STEM Extension I-20 Request form must also be submitted at http://www.semo.edu/international/opt/stem-extension.html 
    • Upon receipt of Form I-983 and STEM Extension I-20 Request Form, the STEM OPT I-20 will be issued and mailed to the student. Please note that your Employment Authorization Number can be found on the back of your EAD card. It is the first line that begins with USA plus the numbers following.

How to Apply

Application Materials

􀂉Completed I-765 form

  • USCIS will mail your employment card to the address you give on the Form I-765, please write neatly and clearly or you may type your information directly on the I-765 form and print the form at https://www.uscis.gov/i-765
  • Check box at top of form: Renewal of my permission to accept employment
  • Question 6: Make sure to write your date of birth in the proper format: month/day/year
  • Question 11:
    • Check the Yes box and write in the name of the USCIS office that granted your 12-month OPT (this can be found on your I-797 Notice of Action Approval form.
    • Under Dates, write in the dates of your 12-month OPT (month/day/year-month/day/year)
    • Under Results write in Granted.
  • Question 16:
    • 24-month extension for STEM students (c) (3) (C)
  • Question 17: Write in your Degree and your employer's E-Verify name and E-Verify number.
  • Sign, include your phone number, and date under "Applicant's Signature". Leave the last section blank unless someone else is preparing the I-765 form for you.

􀂉 $410 filing fee -- Personal check or money order payable to "US Department of Homeland Security"

􀂉 Two identical color photos must be 2" by 2" (passport style). Write your name on the back of the photos lightly with pen. Put your photos in a small plastic bag.

  • For more information & samples, please go to http://travel.state.gov/passport/pptphotos/head_position.html
  • Do NOT staple your photographs to your application
  • Do NOT cut your photos or glue/tape them to application

􀂉 A copy of your current employment authorization letter from USCIS and a copy of the front/back of your current EAD card.

􀂉 Copies of ALL I-20 forms (All pages) including the new I-20 requesting STEM OPT

  • For example: school transfers, extension, new program

􀂉 Copy of your I-94 record

  • Can be obtained at: https://i94.cbp.dhs.gov 

􀂉 Copy of your passport -- Please make sure your passport is valid and has a validity period of at least 6 months prior to filing for OPT. If your passport is valid for less than 6 months, please apply at your consulate for a renewal and include proof of having applied for the renewal in your OPT application.

  • Copy of photo page, information page, expiration date and F-1 visa
  • Must have a valid expiration date!
    • A validity period of at least 6 months prior to filing for OPT

􀂉 Letter from your employer with the following information: employment start date, job title, job description, salary, E-verify number and employer's name in E-verify system.

􀂉 Official final transcript for Southeast Missouri State University. Your transcript must show that you graduated and received your degree. For transcript request instructions, please visit: http://www.semo.edu/registrar/transcript.html

􀂉Complete Form G-1145 E-Notification of Application/Petition Form to receive e-mail notifications about your case. https://www.uscis.gov/sites/default/files/files/form/g-1145.pdf

Mail your application within 30 days from date the STEM OPT I-20 was printed. Make a copy of all documents for your record, paper clip all documents together, and mail by Express Mail to:

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

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

If you live in: Alabama, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Colombia, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Mississippi, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, U.S. Virgin Island, or West Virginia

USCIS
Attn: AOS
2501 S. State Hwy. 121, Business
Suite 400
Lewisville, TX 75067

Contact

573.986.6863
international@semo.edu
International Center
International Education and Services
One University Plaza, MS 2000
Cape Girardeau, Missouri 63701
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