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STEM Optional Practical Training (OPT STEM)

Beginning on May 10, 2016 the new STEM OPT extension rule will change from 17-month to 24-month. Students in Science, Technology, Engineer, Math majors only are eligible to extend OPT. The current 17-month rule will be effective until May 9, 2016. Stay updated on this news by reading details at Study in the States website. 

To apply for the STEM OPT, see the steps below. 

The OPT 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)
    • If you recently traveled, you can access it by downloading it here
  • 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 Permission to accept employment
      • #10 If you don't need a Social Security card, skip to number 14
      • #14 Requires 11 digit number from I-94 card
      • #15 Potomac Service Center (use your OPT starting dates)
      • #20 Type (C) (3) (C)
      • #21 Provide degree (Bachelor's, Master, PhD)  company name, and e-verify number
  • Under Certification:
    Sign, telephone number, date
  • Incomplete or incorrect applications will not be processed and will result in the delay of your application.
  • Your documents will be reviewed by the International Center to ensure 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 -Signature Card

  • Attached Signature Card
  • Download the form. Sign your name inside the small box.
  • The signature must be completely inside the lines of the box. Failure to do so may result in the delay of your application.

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6. Step 6 - 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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7. Step 7 - 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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8. Step 8 - 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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9. Step 9 - Make an Appointment with an Advisor

Contact the Front Desk of the International Center to schedule an appointment with an Advisor. Come in personally, email at or call 909-869-3267.

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10. 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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11. Step 11 - Stay in Touch

  • Students are required to report employment, changes in employment and changes to personal addresses within 10 days: REPORT EMPLOYMENT
  •  Change of U.S. address should be reported within 10 days. REPORT ADDRESS 

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