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International Student Services

HOW TO APPLY FOR THE 24-MONTH STEM EXTENSION

What is the STEM extension?

  • Students who graduate in certain Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics majors might be eligible to extend the 12-month Optional Practical Training period for an additional 24 months.

What are the requirements while on the STEM extension?

  • Any work must be related to your major field of study
  • Any employer must have an e-Verify number
  • You must do a minimum of 20 hours (full-time) of paid work for an e-verify employer
  • You cannot be unemployed for more than 60 days within your STEM period
  • You must submit the completed Form I-983 “TRAINING PLAN FOR STEM OPT STUDENTS” at the time of application, (pages 1-4). NOTE:  When we receive your application, we will enter the DSO Name and Contact Information, and the CIP Code (on page 1 of the Form I-983).
  • You must submit the completed “Evaluation of Student Progress” 12 months into the approved 24-month STEM extension period, (page 5 of Form I-983)
  • You must submit the completed “Final Evaluation of Student Progress” 24 months into the approved 24-month STEM extension period, (page 5 of Form I-983)

When do I apply for the STEM extension?

  • You can apply for the STEM extension as early as 90 days before your current OPT expires. NOTE: As long as your application is received by the USCIS before your OPT expires, you can work up to 180 days after your OPT expiration date while your application is pending.

How do I apply for the 24-month OPT extension?

  • Send the following application materials to the International Student office at New Paltz via email international@newpaltz.edu with Subject line “Your Last Name - 24 Month extension”:
    • Complete the online STEM OPT Reporting Form  
    • Pages 1 – 4 of Form I-983 to be completed by student and employer
    • Copies of your current I-20 and any previously issued I-20s
    • Copies of your passport and visa information page and I-94 print out
    • Completed form I-765. You can download the form at:  http://www.uscis.gov/files/form/i-765.pdf
    • Copy of both sides of any previously issued EAD cards
    • Copy of your STEM diploma and transcript
    • OPTIONAL-Completed form G-1145 if you want to receive email/ text verification from the USCIS that your application has been accepted. You can download the form at: http://www.uscis.gov/files/form/g-1145.pdf

The International Student office will process your application and issue a new I-20 showing the STEM extension recommendation. You can then pick up the materials yourself, or request that we mail them to you. If you want the office to mail the application to you, please email us a pre-paid shipping label for UPS express parcel service (see how to create a UPS shipping label). We will only send STEM extension application materials using a mail service that provides a tracking number.

*NOTE*:  Once your OPT I-20 has been created by our office, USCIS must receive the completed application package within 60 days or your application will be denied.

You then mail the following STEM extension application materials to the USCIS:

  • Completed form I-765
  • The required fee -Check or money order made payable to the Department of Homeland Security. A personal check is acceptable only if your name and address are pre-printed on the front. The USCIS does not accept cash.  USCIS Application Fee: $410 USD
  • A copy of the new I-20 with the STEM extension recommendation (remember to sign the I-20 before you copy it) and copies of all previously issued I-20s
  • Copy of passport and visa information page and both sides of the I-94 card or I-94 print out
  • Copy of both sides of any previously issued EAD cards
  • Two recent US color passport photos of yourself (print your name on the back of the photos)
  • Copy of your STEM diploma and transcript
  • OPTIONAL-Completed form G-1145 if you want to receive email/ text verification from the USCIS that your application has been accepted.

While on the OPT STEM extension, do I have to report any information to the USCIS or International Student office?

  • Yes, while on the STEM OPT extension, you need to do the following:
    • Report any change in US address to the International Student office within 10 days. Submit the online STEM OPT Reporting Form and we will update your SEVIS record.

    • Report change in current employer such as change in employer’s address, Employer Identification Number, or any changes in your training plan outlined on Form I-983.  To report change: Submit online STEM OPT Reporting Form along with a revised I-983.
    • Report new employer by submitting online STEM OPT Reporting Form along with new I-983 for new employer and final evaluation form (page 5 of I-983) for previous employer.  You must submit final evaluation within 10 days of your employment ending.

    • In addition to STEM OPT reporting requirements listed above, SEVP requires validation of your STEM OPT employment every 6 months.  You can validate your STEM OPT employment by submitting the online STEM OPT Reporting Form.  Failure to validate your employment within 30 days of the due date may result in auto-termination of your OPT authorization by the system.

    • In addition to the 6-Month validation, you must also submit a completed “Evaluation of Student Progress” (page 5 of I-983) 12 months and 24 months into the approved 24-month STEM extension period.  

    • If you intend to travel outside of the US, you must get a travel signature on your I-20 (valid for six months).  Please see Travel Outside US on OPT/STEM Extension

What must my employer do?

  • The employer must be registered in e-Verify.
  • The student and the employer must complete and sign the Form I-983 “TRAINING PLAN FOR STEM OPT STUDENTS” for the STEM application. (pages 1 – 4)
  • Complete the “Evaluation of Student Progress” 12 months into the approved 24-month STEM extension period. (page 5 of Form I-983)
  • Complete the “Final Evaluation of Student Progress” 24 months into the approved 24-month STEM extension period, or at the time of termination.  (page 5 of Form I-983)
  • The employer must agree to report the termination or departure of the student to the International Student Office of the student’s former school within 48 hours. Note: If the student has not reported to work for five consecutive business days without the employer’s consent, the employer is to consider the student to have left the job.

 

If you have any questions, contact us: 

International Student Programs - VH 201
State University of New York New Paltz
1 Hawk Drive, New Paltz, NY 12561
Tel:  845-257-3595
Email: international@newpaltz.edu