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OPT: 24-Month STEM Extension
 
Recipients of bachelor’s or master’s degrees in certain STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) fields may be eligible for a one-time 24-month extension of post-completion OPT (for a total eligibility of up to 36 months). The 24-month STEM Extension OPT is adjudicated (approved) by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).


STEM Extension Overview

  • The 24-month extension will be granted in one EAD card period and cannot be split into smaller periods.
  • It is possible to change employers during the 24 months. The new employment must meet the STEM extension requirements.
  • Students whose applications are received before the EAD card expires will be able to continue employment until they receive the final decision from USCIS on the application, or for 180 days, whichever comes first. It is possible to change employment while the application is pending, as long as the new employment meets STEM extension requirements.
  • If a student's extension application is denied, he or she will still have the 60-day grace period after expiration of the 12-month EAD card.
     
    STEM Extension Requirements
  • Must currently be on post-completion 12-month OPT.
  • Verified completion of a degree on the STEM Designated Degree Programs List. The CIP code is found on the top of page 1 of the I-20, next to "Major 1."
  • Employer must be registered with the U.S. Government E-Verify employment verification system.

Steps in Applying for STEM Extension
(Please take into consideration that USCIS processing time is 2 to 3 months.
  The earliest that students can apply is 120 days before the end of the 12-month OPT.) 

  1. Open the I-765 Form online from: http://www.uscis.gov/files/form/i-765.pdf
  2. Complete i-765 form on line as follows:  check box with “renewal of my permission to accept employment”, fill out lines from  #1 to #16;
  3. Item  # 10-   put your i -94 # or the uscis# from your EAD card
  4. Item  # 11-   (“which uscis office?” And “dates”)- put the office listed on the back of your ead card, such as “vermont service center”. Put start and end date of your EAD
  5. Item  # 16 type  ( c ) ( 3 ) ( c ) in each parenthesis.
  6. Item # 17( for the degree) you must type the # shown on pg. # 1 of your i-20 that reflects your major.  And write name of employer listed in e-verify and company identification number.
  7. Applicant’s signature- sign in blue ink, and put your telephone number and the date.
     

    2. Form I-983 Mentoring and training plan
    Form I-983 Mentoring and training plan/StudentLife/services/intstudents/employment/

  8. “Sevis school code of school recommending stem opt”- put nyc214f00812015
  9. “name of school recommending stem opt”- put Queens College”
  10. “Designated school official(dso) name and contact information”- put the isso advisor’s information
  11. “Qualifying major and classifications of programs (cip) code”-list your major and the cip code listed next to your major in the “program of study” box located on the first page of your i-20.
  12. For further assistance completing i-983, please refer to the following
     
    For further assistance completing i-983, please refer to the following tutorial:

    https://studyinthestates.dhs.gov/stem-opt-hub



     
    3. Opt reporting form-
    Provide form only if you havnot previously reported your employment to the isso or if your employment information has changed since the last time you reported. (check page 2 on your recent i-20to verify your employer information.
     
    4. Obtain two color photos: photos must be 2 inches by 2 inches full frontal passport photos, on white background.  Photos must be no  more than 30 days old. Write name and sevis id# on back of photos.
     
    5. Provide a $410 money order or check made out to united states department of homeland security.On the bottom of check or money order write: i-765 fee and sevis id #.
     
    6. Return the following documents to international students scholars office:
    • all l-20’s-original and photocopies of each.
    • copy of i-94 (front and back). White card stapled in passport. Get
      or electronic version – obtain here; https://i94.cbp.dhs.gov/I94/#/home#section.  (Click on get mist recent I-94) 
    • copy of visa stamp in passport.
    • copy of passport validity.First few pages showing country,student’s name, birth date, date passport was issued and date passport expires.
    • i-765 form completed.
    • $ 410 check or money order made out to usdhs.
    • two photos.See step #5 above.
    • copy of diploma
    • copy of previous employment authorization card.
    • offer/employment verification letter from your employer

    7. Pick up documents listed above from the int’l students & scholars office 5-7 days after submitting them. Students are responsible for mailing all documents to uscis.
     
    The opt application packet must be received by uscis within 30 days of the date on the new i-20 with the opt recommendation on page 3.

    8. Mail to:   USCIS
                        Po Box 660867
                        Dallas, Tx 75266
     
     
    9. Send documentscertified mail, return receipt requested.

    10. Note:  students traveling overseas must contact our office prior to any travel outside the us.
     

OFFICE INFORMATION
Director: Patrick O'Connell
Office: King Hall 207
Phone: 718-997-4440
Fax: 718-997-4429
Office Hours: Mon - Fri 9am-5pm
 

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