Students from certain Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) programs are eligible to apply for a 24 month extension. Students must notify MSUM International Student Services using online reporting form when you change employers, jobs titles and/or if you are unemployed during STEM OPT.
- You must use your MSUM email address and login information during the STEM application process (to verify your Permanent Address is correct in eServices log into and use eServices) Your new I-20 needs to be emailed to your MSUM email as well as to receive emails from SEVP/DHS).
- Contact MSUM Technology Help Desk if you cannot access your MSUM login or email.
- The 24-month STEM extension is available once per degree level (i.e., bachelor's, master's or doctorate).
- Have not accumulated more than 90 days of unemployment during the initial 12-month period of OPT. You are allowed an additional 60 days of unemployment while on STEM OPT (equaling up to a total of 150 days while on OPT or STEM OPT) . If you fail to report employment to ISSS, this time may be counted as unemployment.
- A student may participate twice in the STEM OPT extension over the course of their academic career at a higher educational level.
- Students on “pre-completion” OPT are NOT eligible for the extension.
- A list of eligible STEM majors. The major and CIP code listed on the I-20 must be on the list in order to qualify for STEM extension.
- When asked to list the degree in item #28 of the Form I-765, the student should list the major as it appears in SEVIS and on the I-20 (i.e., the name associated with the eligible CIP code), not the name used by the institution.
- Employer must be an E-Verify employer. The employer's E-Verify code is required on the I-765 form. (This is different than the employer EIN (Employer Identification Number) which is also required (on the I-983 training plan.)
- Students are eligible to continue working for 180 days while the application is pending.
A student may apply for the 24-month STEM OPT 90 days prior to expiration of 12 month OPT up to the expiration date of the student’s current OPT employment authorization. Students are encouraged to file early.
- Complete and submit the STEM OPT Request Form
- Submit a I-983 training plan signed by student and employer
- Optional: submit I-765 Form for review
- Email everything to email@example.com.
- Wait for the New I-20 but gather items for Online or Mail - see below
Applications are filed by mail or online with the USCIS Service Center.
- Create a MyUSCIS online account. Complete all pages of Form I-765 online (keep a copy for your records). Do not submit until you have the STEM OPT I-20 from ISS.
- Have $410 available in your U.S. bank account or U.S. credit card. If your employer will pay the fee, you will need their payment information.
- One passport-style color photo (jpg, jpeg, or png) taken within 30 days of filing your application.
- Most recent electronic I-94.
- Your most recent EAD and biographical page of your passport.
- New I-20: page 1 with your signature and page 2 with STEM OPT recommendation.
- MSUM diploma and final transcript.
- Institutional accreditation: Save a PDF of this page.
Please note: When asked, your eligibility category is c(3)(C) STEM Extension. As soon as you have paid the $410 fee, you have submitted your application and can no longer make changes or additions.
- I-765 Form complete fully should be typed as a fillable PDF and signed in BLUE ink
- Number 27 is indicated as (c ) (3) ( C)
- 28 must indicate your degree as on I-20
- Employer Names as shown in E-Verify:
- Company E-Verify Number (not the EIN)
- Photocopy of new I-20: page 1 with your signature and page 2 with STEM OPT recommendation produced by International Student Services.
- Copy all previous EADs (Work Authorization Cards)
- Two current (less than 30 days) passport style color photos with name, date of birth and SEVIS ID printed in pencil on the back.
- $410 filing fee, make a check or money order payable to “U.S. Department of Homeland Security” Or, the completed form G-1450 authorizing payment by credit card
- Copy of Minnesota State University Moorhead diploma or-
- Copy of Minnesota State University Moorhead transcript if degree is noted
- Institutional accreditation: Save a PDF of this page.
- Copy of I-94 printed from electronic I94 website
- Copy of passport: information page with expiration date – Must Be a Valid Passport
- Copy of F-1 visa
- Form G-1145 (optional) allowing USCIS to send text and/or email notifications
Submit the application materials by certified or express mail in order to track your package.
No matter where you live in the U.S., send your application to the USCIS Chicago Lockbox.
- For U.S. Postal Service (USPS):
PO Box 805373
Chicago, IL 60680
- For FedEx, UPS, and DHL deliveries:
Attn: I-765 C03
131 South Dearborn - 3rd Floor
Chicago, IL 60603-5517
You are responsible for mailing your STEM OPT application to USCIS.
Whether you applied online or by mail, you will receive the EAD (Employment Authorization Document) by mail.
- If you applied online, you will receive updates from USCIS by email or text.
- It takes approximately 3.5 to 4 months for USCIS to process your request and mail your EAD to the address on Form I-765. USCIS has an online database showing the current processing times for I-765 (OPT) applications (select "I-765" and "Potomac Service Center" in the drop-down).
- Several weeks after you apply, you should receive a Receipt Notice (Form I-797) in the mail from USCIS. Keep this until you receive the EAD card and the Approval Notice. You can track your case by entering the Receipt Number found on your Receipt Notice.
- Applicants who file a timely application can continue employment while the STEM extension application is pending, until a final decision on the I-765 or for 180 days, whichever comes first.
- The EAD will reflect the dates of your employment authorization.
Note: If you receive a Request For Evidence (RFE) from USCIS, contact MSUM International Services as soon as possible.
There are many reporting requirements for STEM OPT. As the STEM OPT recipient, you are responsible for meeting all of the STEM OPT reporting requirements. Read the following instructions for fulfilling the reporting requirements closely.
You must use the SEVP Portal to report any residential address and telephone number changes. You must also continue to update your address and phone number in eServices to be in compliance.
Failure to report any of these changes may result in the termination of your STEM OPT status or other immigration benefits.
Knowing When to Submit Your Reports
The SEVP Portal will display a STEM Student Due Date Announcement box above other portal pages. The box displays:
- Your reporting schedule, so you know when your reports and evaluations are due.
- Status of your reports and evaluations.
Use this STEM Student Due Date Announcement box as a tool to remember when you are due to report. It is ultimately the student’s responsibility to ensure all STEM OPT employment reporting is completed on time.
Every six months, you must submit a report to MSUM to confirm that the information in your record accurately reflects your current circumstance.
SEVP Portal users will receive a reminder from DHS via email 30 days before any validation report is due. You must submit your validation report to ISSS no earlier than 30 days before and no later than 10 days after the 6, 12, 18, and 24-month dates from the start date of your 24-month STEM OPT. This timeline accounts for ISSS's processing time.
Please note: The “due date” shown in the email sent via the SEVP Portal is NOT the same as the due date for ISSS to record the validation report in SEVIS. ISSS will be able to record the validation report in SEVIS before the reporting window closes if you submit your report to ISSS within the dates timeframe listed above.
You must complete two annual self-evaluations using page five of the Form I-983 Training Plan.
- The first evaluation must be completed 12 months after the start date on your STEM OPT EAD. It must be submitted at the same time as your 12-month Validation Report to the MSUM STEM reporting link.
- The final evaluation must be completed at the end of the 24-Month STEM OPT. It must be submitted along with your 24-month Validation Report to the MSUM STEM reporting link.
To be accepted, your Self Evaluations must be completed, fully signed, and dated by both you and your employer.
If you leave your job or change to a different visa status prior to the end date on your STEM OPT EAD card, you must complete and submit a final evaluation on Form I-983.