For students currently on OPT Post-Completion wishing to apply for a 24 month STEM extension must meet the following conditions regarding their current employment:
- Qualifying Job: Employment must be a paid job, for at least 20 hours per week.
- Qualifying Employer: Employer must be enrolled in E-Verfiy and have an IRS Employer Identification Number (EIN). Student may not be self-employed in order to apply for a 24 month STEM extension.
- Form I-983 Training Plan: The STEM applicant and the employer must complete the Form I-983 Training Plan. Once all sections are complete (excluding page 5), the STEM applicant must either mail or scan and email the completed form to the OIA.
What documents must STEM applicants submit to the OIA?
Once the OIA receives these documents from the STEM applicant, the OIA will issue the applicant an I-20 recommending the applicant's 24 month STEM extension.
NOTE: The OIA, per SEVP regulations, cannot email a copy of the I-20 to the STEM applicant. There are three options that applicants can choose to collect their I-20:
- The OIA can mail the I-20 to the applicant via the U.S. Postal Service through Certified Mail, which will take approximately 3 - 5 business days to be delivered.
- The applicant can also choose to have the I-20 delivered via a courier such as FedEx, DHL or UPS at the applicant's own expense. Please create a student account on eSHipGlobal and create a shipment to have your I-20 delivered to you. Please do not create a shipment on eShipGlobal before contacting the OIA.
- The STEM applicant can authorize another student to collect the I-20 on the applicants behalf. Please complete the "I-20 Pick-Up Authorization" form and email it to OIA before the student goes to the OIA to collect the I-20.
When can students apply for a 24 month STEM extension?
- Student's on OPT Post-Completion can apply as early as 90 days before the end date on their Post-Completion EAD card, but applications must be received and receipted by USCIS prior to the EAD post-completion end date.
How long does the OIA take to issue an I-20 recommending a 24 month STEM extension?
It takes the OIA approximately 3 days to review the Form I-983 and issue the applicant an I-20 recommending a 24 month STEM extension.
How to determine if your degree is STEM eligilbe:
- Please refer to the list known as the "STEM Designated Degree Program List." If your your major appears on this list, along with the corresponding CIP code (this code can be found on the "Program of Study" section of your I-20, listed by the Major) then you are eligible for a 24 month STEM extension.
After the OIA issues the I-20 to the applicant, to where must the STEM application be mailed?
- The I-20, along with other application documents must be mailed to a USCIS Lockbox facility. Please utilize our STEM application mailing instructions form for directions on where to mail your application to.
Please visit Study in the States STEM OPT Hub for more information on the STEM Extension.