New rule goes into effect May 10, 2016.
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, after May 10, 2016.
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 1-5). 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 6 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 7 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 email@example.com with Subject line “24 Month extension”:
- STEM OPT Reporting Form
- Pages 1 – 5 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 both sides of your I-94 card or 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 the current EAD card showing your approved Optional Practical Training dates
- 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
- Fee of $380 (a check or money order made payable to the US Department of Homeland Security)
- 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 OPT STEM extension, you need to do the following:
- Report your current US address and Employer name and Address to the International Student office within 10 days of any change to either. Email the STEM OPT Reporting Form to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will update your SEVIS record. You do not have to contact USCIS with this information.
- In addition to OPT reporting requirements listed above, SEVP requires validation of your STEM OPT employment. We will contact you via email when this is required. At that time, it is important to email us back this completed 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.
- YOU must submit the completed “Evaluation of Student Progress” 12 months and 24 months in the approved 24-month STEM extension period to email@example.com
- If you intend to travel outside of the US, you must get a travel signature on your I-20 (valid for six months).
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 – 5)
- Complete the “Evaluation of Student Progress” 12 months into the approved 24-month STEM extension period, (page 6 of Form I-983)
- Complete the “Final Evaluation of Student Progress” 24 months into the approved 24-month STEM extension period, (page 7 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.
You can print instructions here:
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