STEM OPT I-20 Process

Submit a "STEM OPT Extension (24 Months)" request within the ISSS Portal along with the following documents:

  • Form I-983
  • Front and back copy of Optional Practical Training (OPT) Employment Authorization Document (EAD) card, if not previously submitted
  • Pay the $200 STEM OPT Administrative Fee within the ISSS request

The Office of Global Services (OGS) advisers will review your request and process a new STEM OPT I-20 in approximately 7 business days.  

Once the I-20 is ready to download in the ISSS Portal, add your signature on page 1 under the Student Attestation section prior to mailing the full application to United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) or uploading within the evidence section of the online USCIS application.

It is your responsibility to make sure USCIS receives the documents listed below within 30 days of the STEM OPT I-20 issue date and before the expiration of your current EAD card.

Submit to United States Citizenship and Immigration Services

  • Photocopy of STEM Optional Practical Training (OPT) I-20
  • Completed Form I-765; please see the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) website for instructions
  • Photocopies of previous I-20(s) for current education level
  • Photocopy of current Employment Authorization Document (EAD) card
  • Photocopy of Illinois Tech transcript or diploma showing a STEM degree
  • I-94 information (print out from website or copy of front and back of card)
  • Copies of your passport biographic page and passport expiration date
  • Copy of your United States visa
  • A check for $410 payable to U.S. Department of Homeland Security—do not write on or sign the back of the check
  • Two passport-style photographs with your name and I-94 number on the back of each

Mailing Instructions

  • Make copies of the entire application for your records and mail by certified United States mail. Your application must be received by United States Citizenship and Immigration (USCIS) before your post completion Optional Practical Training (OPT) Employment Authorization Document (EAD) expires.


All types of OPT applications—i.e. Pre-Completion, Post-Completion and STEM OPT applications—are to be submitted to the following mailing address:


For U.S. Postal Service (USPS) Deliveries:  
P.O. Box 805373
Chicago, IL 60680

For Express Mail and Courier Deliveries (UPS/FedEx):  
USCIS, Attn: I-765 C03
131 South Dearborn, 3rd Floor
Chicago, IL 60603-5517

UPDATE: Online Filing of Form I-765 for OPT and STEM OPT

On 4/12/2021, US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that F-1 students seeking Optional Practical Training (OPT) can now file their form I-765 online if filling under the pre-completion, post-completion and the STEM extension categories. For the full news release, please visit the USCIS website.

Note that you MUST proceed with the online application process very carefully. The system allows you to submit your application and you must do so with all required documents and evidence, lack thereof can lead to requests for evidence and additional difficulties. This means you must be very careful to ensure that everything is included before submitting the online application.

To file these forms online, individuals must first create a USCIS online account at

Online filing allows applicants to submit forms electronically, check the status of their case anytime from anywhere, and receive notices from USCIS online instead of waiting for them in the mail.

Please note that USCIS continues to accept OPT and STEM OPT applications by mail, as well.

The decision to file online or by mail is a choice each applicant will make for themself, and each applicant is fully responsible for their own OPT & STEM OPT application.