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 OPT 24-Month Extension request form to our office along with a completed Form I-983 training plan.
Applications 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 seven 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: Email a copy of your STEM Employment Authorization Document (EAD) to the International Center. 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. 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 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 changes to your current employment information 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.
Step 3: Submit employment validations during the following times:
- Six months: STEM Validation
- 12 months: Annual Evaluation and STEM Validation
- 18 months: STEM Validation
- 24 Months: Annual Evaluation and STEM Validation
Step 4: 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 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 five 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 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.