STEM Optional Practical Training (OPT STEM)

The OPT STEM Extension application is very similar to the original OPT application process. In order to apply for the OPT Extension, you must submit an application with the following documents to USCIS before your current OPT end date (application window is 90 days before your current expiration).

1. Step 1 - Verify the major listed on your I-20 is on the following list. If yes, continue to Step 2.

2. Step 2 - Items for STEM OPT Application

Bring the following items to the STEM OPT appointment:

  • Passport
  • Visa
  • I-94 (electronic)
  • Check for $410 made to the Dept. of Homeland Security. 
  • Two new passport photos -- the photos must within the past 30 days with an off-white background
  • Copy of your Diploma
  • Copy of your current EAD card (OPT)
  • A typed Form I-765 (Application for Employment Authorization)
  • A typed Form G-1145 (E-Notification)
  • Form I-983: student and employer must complete and sign this before applying 


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3. Step 3 - Form I-765 Application for Employment Authorization

For the I-765 Application Form:


  • Check "renewal of my permission to accept employment"
      • #21(a)  Requires 11 digit number from I-94 card
      • #26 SEVIS number is found on your I-20 (top right hand)
      • #28 Type (c) (3) (C)
        • #28 (a) Degree - example: bachelor, master
        • #28 (b) Company name
        • #28 (c) E-verify number given by employer
        • #28 (c) Employer's Identification Number or E-verify Client ID number
  • Part 3: Applicant's Statement, Contact Information, Declaration, Certification, and Signature
    • #1(a) Check mark statement
    • #7(a) Applicant's signature
  • Incomplete or incorrect applications will not be processed and will result in the delay of your OPT application.
  • Your documents will be reviewed by the International Center for accuracy

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4. Step 4 - Form G-1145 E-Notification of Application Acceptance

For the Form G-1145:

  • Type this form and download. USCIS sends an e-mail or text verifying that your application has arrived.
  • Complete the form and place it on top of all the application.

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5. Step 5 - Form I-983

Form I-983 - This must be COMPLETED AND SIGNED by student and employer before the OPT extension appointment

Form I-983 intructions


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6. Step 6 - Passport Photos

  • Passport photos must be taken within the past 30 days. Old photos will not be accepted.
  • Two glossy color photos taken on a white background.
  • The photos should be passport style showing a full frontal view of your face.
  • The photos must be 2x2 inches, head height should be 1" to 1 3/8" from top to bottom of chin, eye height is between 1 1/8" to 1 3/8" from bottom of photo.
  • Lightly print your name and the I-94 number on the back of each photo in pencil not ink pen.
  • Place the photos in a small clear sandwich or snack bag. 

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7. Step 7 - STEM OPT Application Fee

  • Only check, Cashier’s Check or Money Order are acceptable. NO CASH
  • Make a check payable to: US Dept of Homeland Security
  • The amount is $410

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8. Step 8 - Make an Appointment with an Advisor

Email your completed and signed I-983 to your assigned international student advisor.

An appointment will not be confirmed without the submission of the I-983.

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9. Step 10 - New I-20

  • At the STEM OPT appointment, you will receive a new I-20 with the STEM OPT dates.
  • All documents will be copied and specific instructions provide for mailing the packet at USPS are given.

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10. Step 11 - Stay in Touch

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