United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will be making the following changes to the Optional Practical Training (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 Institute of Technology a STEM-designated degree, you are eligible to apply for a 24-month extension of your Optional Practical Training (OPT). Please click here for a full list of STEM-designated degrees.
To apply for the STEM OPT extension, submit the "STEM OPT Extension (24 Months)" request within the ISSS Portal along with a completed Form I-983 training plan.
Requests for STEM OPT can only be submitted to the International Center 90 days from the expiration date of your current Employment Authorization Document (EAD) card.
The processing time for STEM OPT Extension is 7 business days. The International Center cannot expedite any requests at this time and cannot guarantee that your application will be received in time by United States Citizenship and Immigration Services if you submit your forms to us less than 30 days before your EAD expires.
Please visit the International Center website for further instructions regarding the Form I-983 training plan.
For Students Currently on the 24-Month STEM OPT Period
The requirements for 24-Month STEM OPT reporting:
Step 1: Once United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) approves your 24-Month STEM Optional Practical Training (OPT) extension, you will receive an updated EAD card. Submit an "OPT/STEM OPT EAD Card Submission" request after receiving the STEM Employment Authorization Document (EAD) to the International Center within the ISSS Portal.
Step 2: Report all changes to your U.S. home address within 10 days of the change by submitting a "Contact Information Update" request in the ISSS Portal.
Step 3: Report the following changes as an "OPT/STEM OPT Employment Reporting" request within 10 days in the ISSS Portal:
- Report New Employment: You must update ISSS Portal and submit a new FORM I-983 in your request whenever you add a new employer within 10 days of the position start date.
- Update Previously Reported Employment Information: You must report any changes to your current employment information on file with the International Center within 10 days of the change to the ISSS Portal. 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 ISSS Portal within 10 days of leaving the position.
For each reason listed above, you must complete one request; for example, a change of employment (New Employment & Departure from Current Employer) would need two "OPT/STEM OPT Employment Reporting" requests submitted to the International Center.
Step 4: Submit "STEM OPT Validation Report" requests within the ISSS Portal during the following times:
- 6 months: STEM Validation
- 12 months: Annual Evaluation and STEM Validation
- 18 months: STEM Validation
- 24 months: Annual Evaluation and STEM Validation
Step 5: Submit the 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 five on the FORM I-983 and submit a "STEM OPT Validation Report" request at the end of your first year of STEM OPT.
- Annual Evaluation #2: This is your final evaluation. Complete the bottom half of page five on the FORM I-983 and submit a "STEM OPT Validation Report" request at the end of your second year of STEM OPT. Additional final evaluations (page five of the I-983 form) must be submitted each time you end a training opportunity with an employer, no matter how long the opportunity lasted for.
Student and Exchange Visitor Program Password Resets—Student and Exchange Visitor Program (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.