- $410.00 made payable to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security – View the website for all payment options, detailed instructions, and a sample of “How to Write Your Check.” You may also pay by credit card by including with your application. Make sure to include your I-94 number on your payment.
- Two recent, passport-style photos on white background -The photos must be 2 x 2 inches; the images must be 1 inch from the hair to the chin and 1.25 inch from eye height to the bottom of the photo. Your name and I-94 number must be printed in pencil on the back of the photos
- On the mark the box indicating that you are applying for renewal of your employment authorization. The code for section 20 is (c)(3)(C). Review the STEM OPT Instructions for the Form I-765 (PDF) for assistance.
- New form I-20 with the STEM recommendation on page 2
- Copies of previous I-20s, passport, visa, form I-94, and copies of any previous EAD’s (including current OPT card)
- Copy of certification of degree awarded showing the applicant’s major field of study or a final transcript showing the degree awarded
- Valid email address, employer’s name, employer’s address, and employer’s EIN
- Evidence that first period of OPT was conducted appropriately – employment was directly related to the major and appropriate for the level of study and no more than 90 days of unemployment (job offer letters, pay stubs, etc.)
and upload the in order to request the form I-20 for the OPT STEM Extension application. Please remember, this can take approximately 2 weeks to process your new I-20, so plan accordingly. You may submit the “OPT STEM Extension I-20 Request” and Form I-983 (pages 1-4) via as early as 90 days prior to your OPT end date. Please review the (PDF) for assistance.
Once your new I-20 for the STEM recommendation is ready, ISS will notify you via email and you may pay for e-shipping for the mailing of your new I-20. You will receive 2 copies of your I-20 and the STEM Extension Resource Guide (PDF). Please make sure to sign both of these I-20s. You will keep one for your records and one you will mail with your application.
Prepare all documents to be mailed to USCIS:
Mail all documents to the appropriate Service Center prior to the expiration date on your current EAD. Check the (PDF) to see which Service Center should receive your application. See the for filing addresses.
Once the application is received, if there are no requests for additional evidence or information, your extension is automatic and is effective the very next day after your current authorization expires. You do not have to await the arrival of your new EAD in order to continue working for up to 180 days. If 120 days pass and you do not receive your new EAD, please contact us so that we can assist you in following up with the Service Center.
Your application must be mailed and received by USCIS within 60 days of the date printed on your I-20 and also must be received by USCIS prior to your OPT end date.
Students granted a 24-month OPT extension may not accrue an aggregate of more than 150 days of unemployment during a total OPT period, including any post-completion OPT period and any subsequent 24-month extension period. Therefore, if you used all 90 unemployment days during OPT, you would only have 60 remaining unemployment days during your OPT STEM extension.
The ISS Office has provided you with a recommendation for the OPT STEM extension. USCIS will adjudicate your application and is responsible for the approval of your STEM extension. It is possible that you may receive an RFE (Request for Evidence) from USCIS. It is ultimately your responsible to provide accurate information to USCIS and provide further documentation if needed. For more information regarding the OPT STEM extension, please visit the on the Study in the States website.
Once you receive your EAD for STEM, make sure all information is correct, make copies for your records, and keep your EAD in a safe place. Information regarding corrections and replacements can be found on our Employment Authorization Document webpage.