Building the STEM OPT Application Packet

Getting Started

Follow the below step-by-step instructions to build your STEM OPT application packet.  See the examples and watch the videos for more help assembling your documents.

Remember these Tips for Success when completing your STEM OPT application:

  • Always track your own mail when sending documents to USCIS. The tracking number is your confirmation that USCIS received your application. 
  • Always check the USCIS website for the most up-to-date forms, fees, and filing locations.

When printing and organizing documents:

  • Print USCIS forms in black ink.
  • Copies may be black and white or color.
  • Print single-sided, not front and back.
  • When needed, sign with a black pen.
  • Do not staple documents together. Use paperclips to attach pages.

Continue working after you submit your STEM OPT Application:

  • Students are authorized to continue employment for up to 180 days after the expiration of the post-completion OPTif they have timely and properly filea STEM OPT Extension application with USCIS. (See 8 CFR 214.2(f)(11)(i)(C))
  • Update your I-9 with your employer:
    • You can show your expired EAD and signed STEM OPT I-20.  Your employer should enter the following information under List A in Section 2 of the I-9: 
      • EAD document title; 
      • EAD document number; 
      • Date the EAD expired in the expiration date space; and 
      • “180-day ext.” in the Additional Information field. 
    • If your employer has additional questions about what kinds of documentation are acceptable for I-9 purposes during the 180-day period, they can visit the USCIS Form M-274 Handbook for Employers or USCIS I-9 Q&A.

Resources for you and your employer regarding STEM OPT are found at the STEM OPT HUB. 

Photos

USCIS requires you to submit 2 passport style photographs with your application for STEM OPT.  You should not use the same photos you used when applying for post-completion OPT.

Photo measurements:

  • Photos should measure 2 inches x 2 inches.
  • Double check your photo measurements against the guidelines in the image.

On the back of each photo, write:

  • Your name
  • Your date of birth
  • Your SEVIS ID (NXXXXXXXXXX)

Payment

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There are three different ways you can pay for your OPT application: 

  • Credit Card 
  • Check 
  • Money Order 

NEVER send cash with your application. 

The current fee for OPT applications is $410.  Always check the USCIS website for the most up-to-date fees. 

Check

To pay using a personal check or cashiers/bank check, follow these instructions: 

  1. Date the check. 
  2. Pay to the order of: U.S. Department of Homeland Security 
  3. Write in number the dollar amount of the fee. 
  4. Write in words the dollar amount of the fee. 
  5. For/Memo:  I-765 OPT Application and include your SEVIS ID (NXXXXXXXXXX) 
  6. For personal checks, sign the front. 

NEVER sign the back of the check. 

Credit Card

To pay using your credit card, use the G-1450 Form, Authorization for Credit Card Transactions. 

  1. Applicant’s Information- Fill in your Full Legal Name 
  2. Credit Card Billing Information- Fill in the name of the credit card holder 
    • Fill in the Billing Address for the credit card 
    • Don’t forget to sign! 
    • Fill in the contact information for the credit card holder 
  3. Credit Card Information- Fill in the card number, expiration date, card type, and payment amount. 
    • Always double check that your card information is correct.

If you are paying by credit card, it is advisable that you let your financial institution know about the upcoming payment to USCIS.  If the payment is stopped as being fraudulent, USCIS may not be able to process your application.

G-1145 (Optional)

The G-1145/e-Notification of Application/Petition Acceptance is a form you can use if you want USCIS to send you a text and/or email when they receive your application. 

This form is optional and USCIS may not use it.  

  1. Fill in your full legal name 
  2. Fill in the email address where you want to receive notification 
  3. Fill in the phone number where you want to receive notification 

I-765

Paper Application

Before you start, visit the USCIS website to ensure that you have the most up to date version of the I-765.

The I-765, Application for Employment Authorization is used for many types of employment authorizations, including OPT and STEM OPT Extension Not every question may be applicable to you. 

Page 1

Leave the box at the top of the page blank.

Start filling out the form where it says, “START HERE.”

Part 2. Information About You

  • Select 1.c. because you are applying for STEM OPT Extension, a renewal of your work authorization.

Part 2. Information About You

  • Your Full Legal Name
    • 1.a. Write your family name
    • 1.b. Write your given name
    • 1.c. Write your middle name
  • Other Names Used
    • USCIS wants to know of any other legal names you may have that are written on official documents.  Enter those names below.  If you do not have any other legal names leave these blank. 

 

 

 

 

 

Page 2

Part 2. Information About You (continued)

  • Your U.S. Mailing Address
    • 5.a. If you will not be receiving the mail from USCIS, write the name of the person who will be receiving the receipt notices and EAD card in the mail on your behalf.  Do not put your name here.
    • 5.b. Write the street name and number of your mailing address
    • 5.c. Select if you live in an Apt. (apartment), Ste. (suite), or Flr. (floor) and write the number in the blank
    • 5.d. Write the city of your mailing address
    • 5.e. Select the state abbreviation of your mailing address from the drop down menu
    • 5.f. Write the zip code of your mailing address
    • 6.  Select Yes if your mailing address is the same as your physical address where you live.  Select No if you are having your EAD card mailed to an address where you do not live.
  • U.S. Physical Address
    • If you selected Yes to question 6, leave this blank.
    • If you selected No to question 6:
      • 7.a. Write the street name and number of your mailing address
      • 7.b. Select if you live in an Apt. (apartment), Ste. (suite), or Flr. (floor) and write the number in the blank
      • 7.c. Write the city of your mailing address
      • 7.d. Select the state abbreviation of your mailing address from the drop down menu
      • 7.e. Write the zip code of your mailing address
  • Other Information
    • 8.  Write the USCIS Number listed on your OPT EAD card.
    • 9.  Fill this in only if you have applied for an USCIS Online Account 
    • 10.  Select your Gender.
    • 11.  Select your Marital Status
    • 12.  Select yes.
    • 13.a. Select if the Social Security Administration has ever officially issued you a Social Security Number. 
    • 13.b.  Write your Social Security number
      • Leave this question blank if you selected no in question 13.a.
      • Write your SSN if you selected Yes in question 13.a.
    • 14. If you do not have a Social Security Number, select Yes and go to question 15.  If you already have a Social Security Number, select No and go to question 18.a.
      • REMEMBER: If you already have an SSN, you do not need another one.
    • 15. If you answered No to question 14, select yes to authorize SSA to review your information and issue you an SSN.
      • If you already have an SSN, you should leave question 15 blank.
      • If you answered yes to questions 14 and 15, answer questions 16.a. – 17.b. 
    • 16.a. Write your father’s last name.
    • 16.b. Write your father’s first name.
    • 17.a. Write your mother’s last name.
    • 17.b. Write your mother’s first name.
  • Your Country or Countries of Citizenship or Nationality
    • 18.a. Write your country of Citizenship.
    • 18.b. If you have a second citizenship, write your country of additional citizenship.  If you are only a citizen of one country, leave this blank. 

Page 3

Part 2. Information About You (continued)

  • Place of Birth
    • 19.a. Write your City/Town/Village of Birth 19.b. Write your State/Province of Birth
    • 19.c. Write your Country of Birth
    • 20. Write your Date of Birth (mm/dd/yyyy)
  • Information About Your Last Arrival in the United States 
    • 21.a. Write your I-94 Arrival-Departure Record found on your most recent I-94.
    • 21.b. Write your most recently issued VALID passport number.
    • 21.c. If you used a travel document (not a passport) to travel to the United States, write the travel document number here. If you entered a passport number in 21.b., leave blank.
    • 21.d. Write the country that issued your passport or travel document
    • 21.e. Write the expiration date listed in your passport or travel document (mm/dd/yyyy).
    • 22. Write the Date of your last Arrival into the United StatesYou can find it on your I-94.
    • 23. Write the Place of your last arrival into the United States. You can find it on your I-94.  You can write the airport code and city name.
    • 24. Write your Immigration Status at your Last Arrival. If you entered last time as F1 list “F-1 Student.”  If you last entered in another visa status, such as H-4 Dependent” or B-2 Visitor, list that visa type. 
    • 25. Write“F-1 Student.
    • 26. Write your SEVIS Number. This number can be found on the top left corner of your I-20.
    • 27. Write C ( 3 ) ( C ) to show you are applying for the STEM OPT Extension.
    • 28.a. Write your degree level, major, and CIP Code found on page 1 of your I-20.
      • Note: You may need to neatly hand write some of your answer in this box.
    • 28.b.  Write your employer’s name.
    • 28.c. Write your employer’s E-Verify number.  The E-Verify number consists of four to seven numbers.  It is not the same as the employer’s EIN.
    • 29-30.c. Leave blank. 

Page 4

Part 2. Information About You (continued)

  • 30.d.-31.b. Leave blank.

Part 3. Applicant’s Statement, Contact Information, Declaration, Certification, and Signature

  • Applicant’s Statement
    • 1.a. Check here to acknowledge that you can read and understand English unless you are using an interpreter to help you complete the I-765 form.
    • 1.b. Leave Blank unless you are using an interpreter to help you complete the I-765 form.
      • If you are using an interpreter, enter the language used in translation of the I-765.
    • 2. Leave blank unless someone else is completing the I-765 form for you, then write their name.
      • For example: Lawyer
  • Applicant’s Contact Information
    • 3. Write your daytime phone number. It can be your cell phone.
    • 4. Write your mobile telephone number. If you entered your mobile number in question 3, leave this blank. 
    • 5. Write your email address. It can be any email address that you check regularly.
    • 6. Leave blank.
  • Applicants Declaration and Certification

 

 

 

 

 

Page 5

Part 3. Applicant’s Statement, Contact Information, Declaration, Certification, and Signature (continued)

  • Applicant’s Signature
    • 7.a. Sign here in black ink after you complete and print the entire I-765 form.  DO NOT sign electronically. 
    • 7.b. Enter the date you sign the form. (mm/dd/yyyy) 

Part 4. Interpreter’s Contact Information, Certification, and Signature

  • If an interpreter did not assist you in completing the I-765, leave all of Part 4 blank.
  • Complete this section ONLY if you are using an interpreter to complete the I-765 and you marked number 1.b. in the Applicant’s Statement in Part 3 on Page 4.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Page 6

Part 5. Contact Information, Declaration, and Signature of the Person Preparing this  Application, if Other Than the Applicant.

  • If no one assisted you in completing the I-765, leave all of Part 5 blank.
  • Complete this section ONLY if you have someone else complete the I-765 and you marked number 2 in the Applicant’s Statement in Part 3 on Page 4.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Page 7

Part 6. Additional Information

  • 1.a. Write your family name
  • 1.b. Write your given name
  • 1.c. Write your middle name
  • 2. Write your A-Number (if you have one)
  • 3.a. Write 3.
  • 3.b. Write 2.
  • 3.c. Write 27.
  • 3.d. Write:
    • OPT Authorization
      Full-Time
      Your SEVIS ID Number
    • Dates of OPT validity listed on your EAD card
    • Level of Education
  • Use the rest of this page if you need extra space to provide any additional information within this application.  See the sample I-765 Page 7 for examples.
    • If you have additional information to provide:
      • a. Write the page number to which your explanation refers
      • b. Write the part number to which your explanation refers
      • c. Write the item number to which your explanation refers
      • d. Write a brief description of your additional information for USCIS.

 

 

Do not forget to print single-sided and hand sign your I-765 with a black pen!

 

 

Online Application

STEM OPT I-20

  • Include a copy of pages 1 and 2 of your STEM OPT I-20.
  • You need to hand-sign the the I-20 on the first page.
  • Important: The STEM OPT recommendation is only valid for 60 days after the I-20 has been issued. USCIS needs to receive the completed STEM OPT application within this 60day window. If you did not send your application within 60 days of the I-20 issuance, you may request OIPS to reissue your STEM OPT I-20 recommendation by visiting the OIPS Self Service Center and completing an I-20 Reprint Request.

Previous I-20’s

  • Include a copy of pages 1 and 2 of all previously issued I-20’s.
  • If you are missing previous I-20’s for your OPT application, you can include a letter using this letter template in your application to USCIS.

Passport

Include a copy of your most recent valid passport ID page(s).

  • Check the expiration date on your passport.
    • If your passport is not valid for at least 6 months into the future, you should contact your embassy to start the renewal/extension process.
    • If you have or will applied for a passport renewal/extension, you should include proof with your OPT application.

If your F-1 visa or your I-94 reflect an expired passport, you should include a copy of the ID page(s) of the expired passport as well.

Visa

Include a copy of your most recent F-1 visas.

If you changed your status in the U.S. and never traveled outside the U.S. to receive an F-1 Visa, include a copy of the Change of Status Approval Notice.

I-94

Include a copy of your most recent I-94.

You can access your I-94 online.

You do not need to include the Travel History.

EAD Card

Include a copy of your most recent OPT EAD card as well as copies of any previously issued EAD cards, if applicable.

Include copies of the front and back, if you can.

Proof of Degree

Include proof that you have earned your degree with either:

  • A copy of your diploma awarded after your degree completion.
  • Official transcripts that state the date of degree conferral.

Proof of Employment

Include proof of employment with the company you listed on the I-765 with:

  • A copy of the offer letter you received when you started working.
  • A copy of pay stubs for recent pay periods that you have been working.