Academics

STEM OPT Extension

 

International students at Alcorn State University approved for post-completion OPT may be considered for approval of STEM OPT for an additional 24 months. If a student earned a degree in a field that appears on the U.S. government’s official list of STEM fields, he/she may be eligible for the 24-month OPT extension. In order to verify a student’s degree is on the list, refer to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security STEM Designated Degree Programs list.

Eligibility Criteria for the 24-month OPT extension (All four criteria below must be met to be eligible)

1. Students who have already been approved for 12 months of post-completion OPT; and

2. Who have earned a bachelor’s or higher degree in a field included on the U.S. Government's list of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) fields within the last 10 years; and

3. Who are employed in a paid job directly related to his/her field of study; and

4. Who are working for an employer that is enrolled in the U.S. Government's E-Verify program.

Students interested in applying for the OPT extension should follow the following steps.

· Download, complete, sign and submit the Form I-983 to the DSO for International Student Services in the Office of Graduate Studies. Students should follow the guidance in the regulations set forth for Form I-983 instructions .

· Form I-983 must be completed by the student and the prospective employer working together cooperatively to complete the form.

· The student completes Section I of the Form I-983. Use information from your I-20 to list the school code and student SEVIS ID; the employer completes Sections 2-6. For more information about these sections, please visit the Employers and the Form I-983 resource page . STEM OPT students are also responsible for completing annual self-evaluations.

· Complete STEM OPT Extension I-20 Request Form. Make sure you document the time period for which you are applying to be authorized to work on STEM OPT. The start date should be the day after your current 12-month OPT ends.

· Submit the STEM OPT Application and Form I-983 to the Graduate Office. The DSO will keep these forms on file.

· Form I-983 and the STEM OPT Extension Application will be reviewed and a new I-20 generated if application is approved for STEM OPT extension.

For more information about applying for STEM OPT, please visit the USCIS website .

Evaluation of Student Progress

The student must complete the first “Evaluation of Student Progress” portion of the Form I-983 within 12 months of the listed STEM OPT start date. At the end of the STEM OPT extension, a student must conduct a second, final assessment. Once the evaluations are complete, the student must collect signatures from their employer and return the form to the DSO, who will keep it in the student’s physical student record.

STEM OPT Extension I-20 Request Form 
Form I-983 
Form I-983 Training Plan Instructions 

 

USCIS OPT STEM Extension Application Checklist
Items to be submitted to United States Citizenship and Immigration Services(USCIS)

The Center for International Programs hasupdated your I-20reflecting our supportof your petition to filefor OPT STEM Extension. It is your responsibility to completethe requiredapplication and submititin a timelymanner to USCIS.

Assemble application materials in the orderindicatedbelow.Pleasepaperclipcheck and passportphotos on top.

STEP 1: Documents needed for Recommendation from DSO for new I-20

· STEM OPT Extension I-20 Request Form

· Copy of original, signed Form I-765: Typed, not handwritten

· Completed Form I-983

· Employer Job Offer Letter for STEM OPT Extension

· Copy of EAD for current period of post-completion OPT

· Copy of diploma or transcript showing STEM Program of Study

STEP 2: Documents needed for USCIS Application Checklist

· $380 filing fee check payable to : U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Write your 
  
SEVIS ID# on top of check or money order .

· Copy of Original, signed Form I-765: Typed, not handwritten

· Copy of currently issued EAD for OPT (Employment Authorization Document)

· Photocopy of OPT STEMExtensionI-20 pages 1 and 3 (the one with the STEM OPT
  
recommendation on it) , signed in black ink

·
Photocopy of passport page with photo, passport number and expiration date (must be
  
valid for at least 6 months prior to application date)

· Evidence your degree meets the STEM degree/major requirements. Submit one of the following:

  o copy of diploma showing degree level and program of study or

  o official transcript showing posted degree and program of study

· Two (2) U.S. style passport photos :Write your name on the back of each photo with pencil or felt-tip pen (Do not use photos from your home country; Passport photos must be 2” x 2”withproperfacialdimensions of U.S. style passport photos.

MAILING INSTRUCTIONS:

· Make copies of the entire application for your records and mail by certified U.S. mail. Application must be received by USCISwithin30 days of the date that appears on page 1 at item10(reflected on the signature line of your I-20).

· Mail application to the USCIS Lockbox for the state you currently live in:

If you currently live in : Alabama, Arkansas,Connecticut,Delaware,DistrictofColumbia,Florida,Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana,Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Mississippi, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, South Carolina,Oklahoma,Tennessee,Texas,Vermont,Virginia,U.S.VirginIslands, or West Virginia

Mail your application to:

For U.S. Postal Service (USPS) Deliveries :

USCIS
P. O. Box 660867
Dallas, TX 75266

For Express Mail and Courier Deliveries:

USCIS
Attn: AOS
2501 S. State Hwy. 121 Business
Suite 400
Lewisville, TX 75067                                   

REPORT REQUIREMENTS WHILEON OPT STEMEXTENSION

All students on OPT are required to report to the DSOwithin10 days of any change of:

Legal name
Residential or mailing address
Employer name
Employer address

Loss of employment
Any interruption of employment
Change in degree level
Transfer to another school


ADDITIONAL
INFORMATION

· Students who file the STEM extension application in a timely manner will be able to continue employment until a final decision is made by USCIS or for180days,which ever is earlier.

· The DSO advises students not to travel until STEM Extension application is approved and a new EAD card has been received.