STEM OPT

STEM OPT Extension gives international students majoring in qualifying science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields of study an opportunity to apply for two years additional work authorization.

Please read this information carefully before completing the required forms. It will decrease the time it takes for you to receive your STEM OPT recommendation I-20.

Application Process

Read the information about STEM OPT eligibility on the Study in the States website.

If you are eligible to apply, continue to Step 2.

You will need:

A. Employment information

  • Explanation of how your employment is related to your course of study in one paragraph of less than 700 characters (not words). This is not a job description, so please do not send a list of duties or text that you would not include in a cover letter if you were applying for a job. Please note that information will not be entered into SEVIS, the database that stores much of your immigration information, with excessive spelling and grammatical errors. Our office will not shorten the text you provide so that it fits into the allotted space.
  • Company’s name
  • Company’s EIN (required): XX-XXXXXXX (If it does not have nine digits, it is not the EIN)
  • Your job title
  • Number of hours you work per week
  • Company’s address
  • Supervisor’s last name
  • Supervisor’s first name
  • Supervisor’s telephone number
  • Supervisor’s email address

B. Form I-765 from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, completed and signed. Refer to the I-765 guidelines.

C. Form I-983: Training Plan for OPT Students

The form needs to be signed in ink by the student and the employer. See employer instructions for completing the form. 

Notes about the Form I-983

Section 1: You will only check “yes” for the question based on a prior degree IF you are applying for the extension based on a degree that was not your most recently earned degree and it was in a STEM field.

Example: You completed an undergraduate degree in engineering followed by a master’s in business administration. You are eligible to apply for a STEM OPT extension based on the engineering degree only if you are currently serving traditional OPT after having completed your MBA. The conditions that apply are located on the studyinthestates website.

If you check yes and earned the prior degree at a U.S. institution, you will need:

  • The school’s name as it appears in SEVIS
  • The SEVIS school code
  • Evidence that the institution that granted it is currently accredited by the U.S. Department of Education
  • Evidence that the same institution is certified by SEVP
  • An official transcript from that institution and a copy of the diploma to submit with your petition

All Students Need

  • Name of School Recommending STEM OPT: Purdue University Northwest (Calumet)
  • Name of School where Degree was earned: Purdue University Northwest
  • SEVIS School Code of School Recommending STEM OPT: CHI214F10460002
  • Qualifying Major and Classification of Instructional Programs (CIP) Code: List your major as it appears in the program section of your I-20 and the number that follows it (XX.XXXX). Examples: Engineering/Industrial Management 15.1501 ; Engineering, Other 14.9999
  • STEM OPT Requested Period: This is the next day after the end of your first EAD with an end date two years in the future minus one day (Ex. 05/01/2017 to 04/30/2019) unless you have a pending H-1B petition and the cap-gap has extended your OPT end date to 09/30/20XX . The requested dates in this case are 10/01/20XX-09/30/20XX.

Section 3: Employer information – The start date of employment refers to the next day after the expiration date of your EAD card, not the date on which you began working for your employer. Note: If you have a pending H-1B petition with the cap-gap extension, the only allowable start date is 10/01/20XX.

Compensation: You must note how often you receive your salary (weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, annually, etc), but “other compensation” can be left blank if no compensation beyond the salary is given.

North American Industry Classification System Codes are located on this page.

Section 5: The specific STEM field of the training opportunity should be Included in the student role portion of this section. Type your major and CIP code as they appear on your I-20 somewhere in the student role area. Again, list your major, not your concentration.

The employer oversight area must contain the following statement if a client company and address are listed at the beginning of Section 5:

“The employer will hire personnel who will provide and supervise the training experience at the same location where the student’s practical training experience will take place as specified on this form.”

Evaluations on student progress: Leave both evaluations blank. They are for future use.

  • Completed I-765 (as a separate document)
  • Completed I-983 (as a separate document)
  • Word document of all employment information requested in Step 2. A. at the beginning of these instructions

Once all of the employment information and Forms I-765 and I-983 have been received, reviewed, and approved, the new I-20 with the STEM OPT recommendation and the cover letter will be issued by ISS and mailed to your home address.

  • Write your name and SEVIS number on a label attached to a small plastic bag.
  • Check/money order for $410 payable to U.S. Department of Homeland Security (non-refundable)
  • Two passport photos on a white background taken within the past 30 days. See USCIS website for specifications. Write your full name and I-94# on the back of each photo.
    • Make sure the photo presents the full head from the top of the hair to the bottom of the chin.
    • Center the head with the frame.
    • The person in the photo should have a neutral expression and be facing the camera.
    • Your head must be bare unless you are wearing headwear as required by a religious denomination of which you are a member.
  • Original Form I-765
  • Form G-1145 from US Citizenship and Immigration Services to receive text or email updates on your STEM OPT petition
  • Copy of the biographical page (picture) page of passport
  • Copy of the electronic I-94# from http://www.cbp.gov/
  • Copy of the most recent visa
  • Copy of previously issued EAD card, front and back (and if available copy of mailer to which first EAD card was attached)
  • Copy of the STEM OPT I-20 signed within the past 55 days.
    • You will need to sign the original document before making a copy to include with your other documents for processing by USCIS.
  • Copies of all previously issued I-20s for most recently earned degree UNLESS you are applying for STEM OPT based on a previous degree. In this case, send copies for the two most previously-earned degrees (excluding the regulations page).
    • It is your responsibility to ensure that you send copies of all I-20s. Refer to the envelope which contained your original OPT petition documents that you received from the ISS Office.
  • A copy of the diploma issued by Purdue University
  • An official transcript from Purdue University, showing your degree level and major on the transcript.
    • Transcript ordering instructions: Go to purdue.edu (not pnw.edu) then click on myPurdue at the bottom of the page. Use your log in credentials then see “transcripts” in the center of the page. Follow the directions to send an official one or two to yourself. You will need to check a box that you want them in signed, sealed envelopes so that they are official. You’ll receive them in a few days.
  • If applying based on a previous degree, you must also include:
    • Copy of previously earned STEM diploma
    • Copy of previously earned STEM degree transcript
    • Evidence that the institution that granted it is currently accredited by the U.S. Department of Education
    • Evidence that the same institution is certified by SEVP
      • IT IS YOUR RESPONSILITY TO ASK THE DSO AT THE INSTITUTION FOR THE ACCREDITATION AND CERTIFICATION EVIDENCE!
  • DO NOT MAIL ANY PART, EITHER ORIGINAL OR A COPY, OF THE FORM I-983!
  • One you have received your documents (original I-20, copy of the I-20, etc.) from Purdue Northwest, mail all your documents to the address listed on the cover letter and mailing insert on colored paper in a large envelope:
    • Priority Mail Express from the U.S. Postal Service if a post office box is listed on the cover letter and mailing insert. OR
    • Fed Ex or UPS if Attn: NFB AOS appears on the cover letter and mailing insert.
  • You must select the correct service based on the address on the cover letter and mailing insert because the post office box address is reserved for U.S. Postal Service deliveries and the other address is reserved for courier company (FedEx, UPS, etc.) deliveries. Your mail will not be delivered correctly if you do not use the appropriate service. USCIS must receive your application before the end of your employment authorization