USCIS will be making the following changes to the OPT STEM extension beginning on May 10, 2016:
- A 24-month extension will completely replace the 17-month extension
- A training plan (Form I-983) will be required for all extensions
Please see below to understand how these changes may affect you:
For students currently on a 12-month initial OPT
If you have received from Illinois Tech a STEM-designated degree, you are eligible to apply for a 24-month extension of your OPT. Please click here for a full list of STEM-designated degrees.
To apply for the STEM OPT Extension, submit the OPT 24-Month Extension request form to our office along with a completed Form I-983.
Applications for STEM OPT can ONLY be submitted to the International Center 100 days from the expiration date of your current EAD card.
The processing time for STEM OPT Extension is 2 weeks (10 business days). The International Center cannot expedite any requests at this time and cannot guarantee that your application will be receipted in time by USCIS if you submit your forms to us less than 30 days before your EAD expires.
Please click here for further instructions regarding the Form I-983.
For Students currently on the 24 Month STEM OPT Period
You are required to report to the International Center throughout your 24 Month STEM OPT Extension period. Changes that are required for reporting are:
- Changes to your residential address;
- Any change to your emloyment information, as soon as they occur;
- 6 month validation of your employment, with your employer.
SEVP Password Resets - SEVP portal users who already have an account set up can now reset their own account password when locked out. A "Password Reset" option is now available on the SEVP portal login page.
24 Month STEM OPT Reporting Requirements:
Step 1: Email a copy of your STEM EAD to the International Center.
Once USCIS approves your 24 Month STEM OPT Extension, you will receive an updated Employment Authorization Document (EAD) card. Please scan and email a copy of the front and back copy to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Step 2: Report the following changes to the OPT APP within 10 days:
- U.S. Home Address: Report all changes to your U.S. Home Address within 10 days of the change, to the OPT APP.
- Report New Employment: You must update the OPT APP and also submit a new Form I-983 via email to email@example.com whenever you add a new employer within 10 days of the position start date.
- Update previously reported employment information: You must report any changs to your current employment infomration on file with the International Center, within 10 days of the change, to the OPT APP. Please report changes to:
- Company Name
- Employer Address
- Employer EIN
- Supervisor (including new supervisor's name, phone and email address)
- Job Description
- Decrease in regular scheduled work hours
- End of Employment: Submit a final evaluation signed by the employer on page 5 of the Form I-983 to firstname.lastname@example.org within 10 days of leaving the position.
All students on the 24 Month STEM OPT period will receive an automatic email reminder to submit employment reports every 6 months. The reports must be submitted during the following times:
- 6 months: STEM Validation
- 12 months: Annual Evaluation and STEM Validation
- 18 months: STEM Valdation
- 24 Months: Annual Evaluation and STEM Validation
FORM I-983 ANNUAL EVALUATION:
All students on the 24 Month STEM OPT period must submit at least two self-evaluations signed by your employer. The International Center will email you 30 days before each annual evaluation is due.
- Annual Evaluation #1: Complete the top half of page 5 on the Form I-983 and submit it via email to email@example.com, at the end of your first year of STEM OPT.
- Annual Evaluation #2: This is your final evaluation. Complete the bottom half of page 5 on the Form I-983 and submit it via email to firstname.lastname@example.org, at the end of your second year of STEM OPT. Additional final evaluations (page 5 of the I-983 form) must be submitted each time you complete a training opportunity with an employer, no matter how long the opportunity lasted for.