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STEM Application Procedures

Timeline: When to Apply

Students with a STEM degree and currently in the 12-month OPT period:

  • USCIS must receive your OPT STEM extension application before your current 12-month OPT expiration date.
  • Apply as early as 90 days before your current 12-month OPT expires.

Eligibility

To qualify for the 24-month STEM OPT extension, you must:

  • Be in F-1 status
  • Be currently working in a period of post-completion OPT
  • Have a bachelor's degree or higher degree in an eligible STEM field
    • You may be eligible to use a prior STEM degree for this requirement; to use a prior STEM degree, you must:
      • Have received your most recent degree (which does not need to be STEM-related) from a currently accredited Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP)-certified school in the U.S.
      • Have received your prior, qualifying STEM degree within 10 years of applying for the STEM OPT extension.
      • The qualifying STEM degree must be on the Department of Homeland Security's STEM Designated Degree Program List at the time you submit your STEM OPT extension application (rather than at the time you received the degree).
  • Have a job offer that meets the following requirements:
    • The job is with an employer enrolled in the USCIS E-Verify program
    • The job offers at least 20 hours of work per week
    • The job will provide formal training and learning objectives directly related to your qualifying STEM degree
  • Be able to complete the I-983 Training Plan with your employer
    • Students must obtain the Form I-983 online at https://studyinthestates.dhs.gov before they request the STEM OPT I-20. The STEM OPT student and their prospective employer must work together to complete this form prior to the student applying for the STEM OPT extension. Completed I-983 form can be scanned and emailed to dso@semo.edu. A STEM Extension I-20 Request form must also be submitted at https://www.semo.edu/international/opt/stem-extension.html  
    • Upon receipt of Form I-983 and STEM Extension I-20 Request Form, the STEM OPT I-20 will be issued and mailed to the student. Please note that your Employment Authorization Number can be found on the back of your EAD card. It is the first line that begins with USA plus the numbers following.

How to Apply

YOU MAY NOW APPLY ONLINE DIRECTLY WITH THE USCIS (RECOMMENDED) 
Please visit https://www.uscis.gov/i-765 and follow their instructions.
Please email the completed I-983 form to dso@semo.edu before requesting the STEM Extension I-20
You will need to request the STEM Extension Requested I-20 needed for the online application from us at https://semo.edu/international/opt/stem-extension.html

NOTE: Proof of Institution Accreditation is only required for students applying based on a previous degree at another University.

Online Application Details

Stem Extension OPT,  Category C3C

Recommended Steps for Completing the I-765 Application Online

  • Create your online USCIS account: https://myaccount.uscis.gov/
  • Gather the following documents:
    • Digital 2x2 color passport photo that meets USCIS specifications
    • A scan of your passport photograph page
    • A scan of the front and back of any previous EAD cards
    • A scan of any previous I-20s with CPT or OPT information
    • A digital copy of your I-20 with an OPT recommendation
      • Must be issued within the last 30 days for post-completion OPT and within the last 60 days for STEM extension OPT. You MUST consult with ISS to receive a new I-20 before filing for your OPT online.
      • The I-20 must be signed by an ISS advisor and by you. You can use a digital or handwritten signature.
  • Your most recent form I-94.
  • A credit card with which you can pay the filing fee

File a form online

  • Application for Employment Authorization (I-765)

Getting Started

  • Basis of eligibility
    • What is your degree?
      • List your STEM eligible major and degree level
    • What is your employer’s name as listed in E-Verify?
      • List your employer’s name
    • What is your employer’s E-Verify company identification number or a valid E-Verify client company identification number
      • List the 5 – 7 digit number here. Note that this IS NOT the same thing as the Employer Identification (EIN) number that is required on the Form I-983.
    • Reason for applying
      • Check initial permission to accept employment (as this is your first time applying for category C3C)
      • Have you previously filed Form I-765
        • Check Yes
      • Preparer and interpreter information
        • Is someone assisting you with completing this application:
          • Check No

About You

  • Your Name
    • What is your current legal name?
    • Have you used any other names since birth?
  • Your contact information
    • How may we contact you?
      • Daytime telephone number
      • Email address
      • What is your current U.S. mailing address?
      • Is your current mailing address the same as your physical address?
  • Describe yourself
    • What is your gender?
    • What is your marital status?
  • When and where you were born
    • What is your city, town or village of birth?
    • What is your state or province of birth?
    • What is your country of birth?
    • What is your date of birth?
  • Your immigration information
    • What is your country of citizenship or nationality?
    • What is your Form I-94 Arrival-Departure Record Number?
    • When did you last arrive in the United States?
      • Date of Arrival
      • Place of arrival (airport)
      • Status at last arrival
        • Most likely F1
    • What is the passport number of your most recently issued passport?
    • What is your travel document number (if any)? likely leave this section blank
    • What is the expiration date of your passport or travel document?
    • What country issued your passport or travel document?
    • What is your current immigration status or category?
      • Most likely F1
    • What is your Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) Number?
      • Take a look at the top left of your most recent I-20. Your SEVIS ID is listed there.
    • Other Information
      • What is your A-number?
        • You should include the USCIS number listed on your post-completion OPT EAD card here.
      • What is your USCIS Online Account Number?
        • You will most likely check “I do not have or know my USCIS Online Account Number.”
      • Has the Social Security Administration (SSA) ever officially issued a Social Security Card to you?
      • What is your Social Security number?

Evidence

  • 2x2 photo
  • Form I-94, which can be obtained here. https://i94.cbp.dhs.gov/I94/#/home  
  • Previous Employment Authorization Document if applicable. If you do not have a former EAD, you should upload a copy of the photo page of your passport here.
  • I-20s with former CPT or OPT details, if applicable. You should include previous degree level CPT and OPT here if available. If you do not have these document available, see “Additional Information” below.
  • Form I-20
    • This is the I-20 you will receive from Dr. Brooke after submitting your STEM OPT I-20 Request FormDO NOT upload a previous I-20 without a STEM OPT recommendation on page 2.
    • The I-20 must be signed by an ISS advisor and by you. You can use a digital or handwritten signature.
  • Your diploma showing proof of the STEM eligible degree
  • Institution Accreditation
    • You do not need to upload anything for this section unless you are applying for STEM OPT based on a PREVIOUS degree; as in a degree prior to the one you obtained at SEMO.

Additional Information        

  • If you have previously authorized CPT or OPT and do not have former I-20s with these details, you should do the following:
    • Section: Evidence
    • Page: Post-completion CPT or OPT
    • Question: Post-completion CPT or OPT
    • Additional Information:
      • Type of previously authorized practical training (CPT, OPT, etc.)
      • Dates of previously authorized practical training
      • Application status (approved, denied, or withdrawn)
      • Degree Level (bachelors, masters, PhD, etc.)
      • Receipt or Card Number if known (this can be found on the I-797 Approval Notice you received at the time your OPT was approved.)

Review and Submit

  • Review your application
  • Read and agree to the “applicant’s statement”
  • Digitally sign
  • Pay the application fee
  • Submit your STEM OPT application

 

Application Materials if applying by mail (Not recommended)

􀂉Completed I-765 form

  • USCIS will mail your employment card to the address you give on the Form I-765, please type your information directly on the I-765 form and print the form at https://www.uscis.gov/i-765 
  • Part 1, check box 1.c.: Renewal of my permission to accept employment
  • Complete questions as they are asked. We have provided some helpful advice for the following quesitions that may not be self-explanotory:
  • Question 8 and 9: Most students do not have these number, leave them blank.
  • Question 12: Select "Yes"
  • Question 20: Remember to put your birthdate in this format MM/DD/YEAR
  • Question 21C: Most students don't have this, leave it blank 
  • Question 27: Write "C" "3" "C" in the boxes.
  • Question 28a.: Example: "Masters of Science" or "Bachelors of Science"
  • Question 28c: Employer's E-Verify number
  • Skip to Part 3. and select the box by 1.a.
  • Complete contact info section and remember to sign and date after printing. Leave the rest of the form blank.

􀂉 $410 filing fee -- Personal check or money order payable to "US Department of Homeland Security"

􀂉 Two identical color photos must be 2" by 2" (passport style). Print your name on the back of the photos lightly with pen. Put your photos in a small plastic bag.

  • For more information & samples, please go to https://travel.state.gov/passport/pptphotos/head_position.html
  • Do NOT staple your photographs to your application
  • Do NOT cut your photos or glue/tape them to application

􀂉 A copy of your current employment authorization letter from USCIS (the green I-797 approval letter you received in the mail prior to the EAD card) and a copy of the front/back of your current EAD card.

􀂉 Copy of STEM REQUESTED I-20 that has been issued in the last 30 days. Be sure to sign it before copying it.  Note: The USCIS no longer requires copies of all old I-20s.  If you are applying based on a previous STEM degree and not your current degree, you will need to include that I-20 along with a letter explaining you are applying based on a previous degree during which you did not use a STEM Extension.

􀂉 Copy of your I-94 record

  • Can be obtained at: https://i94.cbp.dhs.gov 

􀂉 Copy of your visa page and passport bio page (the one with your photo) -- Please make sure your passport is valid and has a validity period of at least 6 months prior to filing for OPT. If your passport is valid for less than 6 months, please apply at your consulate for a renewal and include proof of having applied for the renewal in your OPT application.

􀂉 Letter from your employer with the following information: employment start date, job title, job description, salary, E-verify number and employer's name in E-verify system.

􀂉 Photcopy of your SEMO Diploma OR a copy of your final official transcript. If your major is not listed on the diploma, you should also send a copy of your final transcript. If you have misplaced your final trancript, you may request a new one. For transcript request instructions, please visit: https://www.semo.edu/registrar/transcript.html

􀂉 Complete Form G-1145 E-Notification of Application/Petition Form to receive e-mail notifications about your case. https://www.uscis.gov/sites/default/files/files/form/g-1145.pdf
Note: If you include the G-1145 form with your application, USCIS will send you an e-notification within 1-2 weeks from the date they receive your I-765 EAD (OPT) application. They will also mail you a paper receipt notice within 2-4 weeks. Once you have received your receipt number, you can track the status of your individual case using the case status search feature of the USCIS web site. You may elect to receive email alerts about your case status from this web site.

􀂉 Mail your application within 30 days from date the STEM OPT I-20 was printed. Make a copy of all documents for your record, paper clip all documents together, and mail by trackable Express Mail (UPS, FedEx) to:

USCIS
Attn: I-765 C03
131 South Dearborn - 3rd Floor
Chicago, IL 60603-5517

􀂉 Please remember to review the STEM Reporting Requirements Page at: https://semo.edu/international/opt/stem-reporting.html 

Contact

573.986.6863
international@semo.edu
International Village

International Education and Services
One University Plaza, MS 2040
Cape Girardeau, Missouri 63701