The 24 month STEM OPT ruling is NEW - the ISO has made all possible preparations, but all final decisions are made by USCIS and the ISO cannot be responsible for these decisions.
Students with degrees in the STEM fields (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) will first apply for the regular 12 month period of OPT. Then, once you have begun your first 12 months of OPT, if you meet the criteria as mentioned by the USCIS, you can apply through the ISO office for your 17 month OPT extension. You must file before your current OPT expires, however those students that have filed a timely application will be permitted to continue employment while extension application is pending until a final decision or 180 days, whichever comes first. The earliest you can file for the STEM extension is 120 days before your current OPT expires.
Before you Apply -
Please request an official transcript from the Registrar's Office. This takes at least 2 weeks to process so plan ahead! When submitting your STEM OPT application, you should include the unopened transcript and a copy of your diploma.
To Apply (Same for both 24 month and additional 7 month extension) -
Bring or e-mail the following to the International Services Office (firstname.lastname@example.org):
*NEW FORM* Copy of completed form I-983 - you should be able to use the add text tool to type the information on the pdf. IMPORTANT: If you were hired through a consulting company, sections 5 and 6 should be filled out by the work site NOT the consulting company. Click here for help filling out the I-983 (UNH Example) or find the official government tutorial here. DO NOT FILL OUT THE SELF-EVALUATION SECTION (PAGES 6 &7) -
Copy of completed Form I-765
**Please look at this example for instructions on how to fill out the I-765. SECTION 1 and SECTION 2. **Questions on #11? click here for which USCIS Service center approved your OPT application
Copy of current EAD card (post completion OPT card or 17 month STEM OPT card)
Short (3- 4 sentences) on how your job is related to what you studied at UNH - THIS IS NOT THE SAME AS YOUR JOB OFFER LETTER. Your I-20 will not be processed if you do not send this information.
Copy of Offer Letter (dated within the last 4 months and stating that you are still employed at the company) for your e-verified employer. ONCE YOU SEND OUT YOUR APPLICATION YOU CANNOT CHANGE JOBS UNTIL YOU RECEIVE THE NEW OPT CARD!
University of New Haven
International Services Office
300 Boston Post Road
West Haven, CT, 06516
Telephone: (203) 932-7475
Fax: (203) 932-6054
Your New I-20
The ISO will prepare a new I-20 for you. In most cases, your I-20 will be ready in 1 week. We will notify you via e-mail or by phone once it is ready. If you are located close to UNH, you may come to ISO to pick it up or you may send a friend to pick it up for you (please e-mail us their name). If you are located far away from UNH, create an account at www.fedex.com/us and e-mail us the shipping label.
With your new I-20 you will receive a checklist of the documents, in order, that need to be included in the application you will mail to USCIS. The documents are also listed below.
After your I-20 is readyAs this is a new process you will have the option to review your application packet with the ISO before sending it to USCIS. If you are close to UNH you may schedule an in-person appointment. If you cannot come to UNH, the appointment can be conducted over Skype. You will receive further details in an email so please check both your UNH email and personal email account.
How to mail your application to USCIS:
Use a clip to keep the documents together and create a packet in the following order (top to bottom):
- Check or money order for $380 payable to U.S. Department of Homeland Security: See check template here
- Two (2) Passport size photographs with your name and I-94 number printed in pencil on back
- Completed I-765 form
- Copy of pages 1 and 2 of your new STEM extension I-20 (Do not send the original! Make sure you sign your new I-20 before making a copy.)
- Copies of ALL previous UNH I-20s
- Copy of your current EAD card (OPT Card)
- Job offer letter (dated within the last 4-5 months)
- Copy of passport, visa and I-94 number (found here)
- Unopened official transcripts from UNH
- Copy of diploma
Mail the completed OPT application packet to the USCIS Service Center that corresponds to the state you listed on your I-765. The addresses below are for FedEx or UPS only! If you want to send your application via USPS please look here for the correct addresses.
Must report to the International Services Office (email@example.com) within 10 days of any change of:
- Legal name
- Residential or mailing address
- Employer name
- Employer address, and/or
- Loss of employment
- Must make a validation report to the DSO every 6 months starting from the date the extension begins and ending when the student's F-1 status ends, the student changes educational levels at the same school, the student transfers to another school, or the 17-month OPT extension ends, whichever is first. The validation is a confirmation that the student's name and address, employer name and address, and/or loss of employment is correct. The report is due to the DSO within 10 business days of each reporting date.
- 12 month self-evaluation - this is important to submit on time as your SEVIS record can be terminated if you do not submit this!
- 24 month self-evaluation - this is important to submit on time as your SEVIS record can be terminated if you do not submit this!
*Please send a copy of your new EAD card to the ISO after you receive it!