International Center 17-Month OPT STEM Extension Updated on February 2014 Eligibility Requirements 1. Students currently on OPT who hold a STEM degree (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) are eligible to apply for a 17 month OPT extension 2. To find out if your degree qualifies visit http://www.ice.gov/doclib/sevis/pdf/stem-list.pdf 3. You can find your CIP code (Classification of Instructional Programs) on the third page of your I-20 4. The student’s employer MUST be registered in the government sponsored EVerify program. For more information on the E-verify program visit http://www.uscis.gov/e-verify 5. Additional requirements: You can only apply before the end date of your EAD card You can apply as early as 4 months (120 days) before the end date on you EAD card. The student agrees to report to the International Center any change of name, address or interruption of employment Student must be in the 12 month period of OPT Employment must be directly related to the student’s major area of study Has not received a 17 month OPT extension after earning a STEM degree Application Steps 1. Confirm that your degree qualifies for the 17 month extension 2. Turn in a complete application to the IC between as early as 4 months (120 days) before your current EAD card expires 3. Once the IC reviews your application, a new I-20 will be generated. Without this I-20 the USCIS will NOT approve your request for the extension 4. You will mail your OPT application along with new I-20 to the USCIS 5. *NOTE: Application for OPT STEM extension must be submitted BEFORE the expiration of your EAD card. No exceptions! 17 Month Extension Timeline 1st year of OPT Start of OPT same as start date on EAD card 4 MONTHS BEFORE EAD card expires First day eligible to apply for 17 month extension 17 month extension 11 ½ MONTHS Last day eligible to turn in your application to the IC Application Materials Materials needed for OPT STEM Application 1. Two U.S. passport quality sized photos. 2. OPT student agreement form (this can be found on our website) 3. I-765 form. Use black ink pen or type this form 4. Photocopy of biographical page of passport 5. Photocopy of F-1 visa 6. I-94 form 7. Photocopy of most current I-20 reflecting your initial OPT dates 8. Photocopy of front and back of EAD card 9. Photocopy of your UCI diploma 10. OPT employment update form (found on our website) NOTE: Do not turn in an incomplete application. All the required Documents above MUST be included. OPT 17 Month Extension COMPLETING THE I-765 FORM Completing the I-765 Form • • • • • • • • • • • • Check “Renewal of my permission to accept employment” box Section 1: Write last name in capital letters followed by first name. Example: ANTEATER, Peter Section 2: Leave blank if you have not used any other names Section 3: Use your U.S. address that you will be at for the next 60-90 days. If you are using another individual’s address please use this format: • EXAMPLE: C/O “First and last name of individual” Section 4: Please write your country of citizenship/nationality as listed in your passport Section 5: Write your place of birth: city, province, and country if applicable Section 6: Date of birth as listed in your passport Section 7: Gender as listed in your passport Section 8: Check box stating your marital status. Section 9: Provide your social security number. If you do not have one, leave blank Section 10: Write down your 11 digit I-94 number found on your I-94 form Section 11: For OPT STEM extension mark the “yes” box and proceed to the next questions • Which USCIS office: Please write Laguna Niguel • For dates: Please write the start and end dates on your current EAD card • Results: Please write Granted Continuing the I-765 Form • • • • • • • • Section 12: Write your date of last entry in the U.S. Refer to your I-94 form Section 13: Write the airport code of the city you last entered the U.S. For example: If you entered through Los Angeles, you will write LAX Section 14: Write F-1 Student; however if your last entry was with another visa, write that visa status instead. Section 15: Write F-1 Student Section 16: In the parenthesis write (C) (3) (C) Section 17: Write your degree. Example: Ph.D in Computer Science. • List employer’s name • List employer’s e-verify number Signature section: Sign in black ink and be sure your signature does not touch the top or bottom lines. Reminder: Be sure to complete addition of the I-765 form Unemployment Periods • While on OPT STEM period you may not be unemployed for more than 120 days. • Make sure to report any change of employer or unemployment to the International Center as soon as possible. You may submit an OPT employment update form which can be found here Frequently Asked Questions Q: How long does it take to get the 17-month OPT authorization? A: Approximately 60 to 90 days. This does not include the 7 business days processing time at the IC. Q: I am currently in pre-completion OPT, do I need to apply for OPT post completion and then for the 17-month extension? A: Yes, each OPT requires a new application. One for OPT precompletion, a second for OPT post completion, and a third one for the 17-month extension. Each application requires the payment of $380. You cannot turn in all applications at once. Each application must be turned in within the permissible time. OPT pre and post completion can be turned in prior to your graduation date. OPT post completion can be turned in 90 days prior to your graduation date. OPT 17-month application can be turned in as early as 120 days prior to the end date of your EAD card. Q. What if my I-20 has a program listed as “Multidisciplinary Other” as the major but my official degree at UCI will list Masters on Computer and Information Sciences? Will my degree certificate prove that I am a STEM student? A. This can be a problem. Prior to your graduation date, you should update the IC with your actual degree. Your I-20 should always reflect the degree you are getting. Q: My minor is in the STEM list, can I still apply for the 17 month extension? A: No, only conferred Bachelor, Master and Doctoral degrees qualify for the 17 month extension. Further Questions and Information For questions, please e-mail the IC staff at [email protected] or call our main line at 949-824-7249 Thank you and good luck!