STEM OPT Extension

The Science, Technology, Engineering or Math (STEM) OPT extension is a 24-month period of temporary training that directly relates to an F-1 student's program of study in an approved STEM field. Eligible F-1 students with STEM degrees who finish their program of study and participate in an initial period of regular Post-Completion OPT have the option to apply for a STEM OPT extension.

IMPORTANT: Please note, the information on this page and any OPT-related advising is meant to help you in completing your application but should not be considered legal advice. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) ultimately provides the decision on your STEM OPT application. It is your responsibility, as the STEM OPT applicant, to ensure that your STEM OPT application is accurate and complete before you submit it to USCIS. Incomplete applications could result in a delay in processing time or denial. 

Please review the questions and answers below to learn about STEM OPT and to determine if you are eligible before beginning the STEM OPT application process.

STEM OPT Eligibility

In order to be eligible for the 24-month STEM OPT extension, you must:

  • Currently be on Post-Completion OPT.

  • Have a Bachelor's, Master's or PhD degree in a Science, Technology, Engineering or Math (STEM) field. Visit the Study in the States website, Eligible CIP Codes for the STEM OPT Extension, to determine if your degree is considered STEM by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Your degree's CIP code is found on page 1 of your Form I-20 in the "Program Information" box. Note: ISSS cannot recommend your STEM OPT if the CIP code assigned to the major listed on your I-20 is not on the DHS eligible CIP code list.

  • Have a job or job offer directly related to the STEM field of study (your degree).

  • Have a job or job offer from an employer who participates in the US Government E-Verify employment verification system.

  • Have not completed two STEM OPT extensions during your lifetime. Students who had already obtained one STEM OPT become eligible for a second STEM OPT extension after:

  • Earning another qualifying STEM degree at a higher degree level and

  • Obtaining a new initial grant of standard 12-month Post-Completion OPT based on that higher degree.

  • Submit the 24-month extension application to USCIS before your initial 12-month period of OPT ends/expires.

  • Comply with additional reporting requirements related to your name, address and employer information (see the sections below).

Note: Students may not request all 36 months (12+24) in the initial OPT application: you must apply for initial 12 months of Post-Completion OPT first, and then apply for STEM OPT Extension while you have an active OPT EAD card. Visit the page Optional Practical Training to learn how to apply for the first 12 months of OPT.

You may be eligible for a STEM OPT extension if you hold a prior U.S. degree in a qualifying STEM field, provided that:

  • Your previously obtained STEM degree is directly related to the OPT opportunity;
  • Your prior STEM degree was conferred within 10 years of the STEM extension application date;
  • Your prior STEM degree was earned at a US institution that is accredited and registered with the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) at the time Drexel ISSS issues your I-20 for the 24-month STEM extension;
  • Your prior STEM degree is in a field listed on the STEM-designated program list at the time ISSS issues your I-20 for the 24-month STEM OPT extension; and
  • You are currently in a period of Post-Completion OPT based on your most recent US degree.
No, self-employment is not eligible for a STEM OPT Extension. The regulations require that a student must have a bona fide employer-employee relationship with an employer to obtain a STEM OPT extension. While the student is eligible to be employed by a start-up business, all regulatory requirements must be met and the student may not provide employer attestations on their own behalf.
The USCIS website states, "Staffing and temporary agencies and consulting firms may seek to employ students under the STEM OPT program, but only if they will be the entity that provides the practical training experience to the student and they have and maintain a bona fide employer-employee relationship with the student. STEM OPT participants may engage in a training experience that takes place at a site other than the employer's principal place of business as long as all of the training obligations are met, including that the employer has and maintains a bona fide employer-employee relationship with the student." You will need to talk with your employer to determine if your employment meets these criteria. They may wish to consult with their Office of General Counsel.
No, a student seeking a STEM OPT extension is not allowed to use volunteer opportunity as a basis for a STEM OPT extension. Students are prohibited from using the STEM OPT to work in a volunteer or any unpaid capacity.

The 24-month STEM OPT period is limited to certain employers and employment opportunities, as follows:

  • Your STEM OPT employer must have an Employment Identification Number (EIN).
  • Your STEM OPT employer must be enrolled in and using the E-Verify program at your STEM OPT worksite.
  • The employment opportunity must be directly related to your qualifying STEM degree.
  • There must be an employer-employee relationship between you and your employer. For this reason, self-employment and employment with staffing or temporary agencies likely will not qualify. Please see the question below, "Can I work for a staffing or temporary agency?" for more information.
  • Employment must be paid; volunteer or unpaid employment will not qualify.
  • You may work concurrently for multiple employers during the STEM OPT period only if you work at least 20 hours per week for EACH employer, and each employer also meets all of the above criteria.
  • The USCIS website states that "STEM OPT participants may engage in a training experience that takes place at a site other than the employer's principal place of business as long as all of the training obligations are met, including that the employer has and maintains a bona fide employer-employee relationship with the student." Therefore, if you have a training opportunity that involves working off-site or from home, please talk with your employer to determine if this is permissible.
E-Verify is an electronic employment eligibility verification system under which employers commit to using an electronic database to check whether the name and social security number presented by new hires match the records in the Social Security database, and whether any immigration documents presented by the employee match information in the Department of Homeland Security database. If an employer is not enrolled in E-Verify, a STEM student CANNOT obtain a 24 month OPT extension.

Applying for STEM OPT

You may file for the 24-month STEM extension up to 90 days prior to the end date of your Post-Completion OPT. USCIS must receive your application packet before your current OPT end date, otherwise you will not be eligible for the OPT extension. Please make sure to send your application documents to ISSS no later than 30 days prior to your current OPT EAD card end date to allow time for processing and mailing.

US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced on April 12, 2021 that F-1 students seeking Optional Practical Training (OPT) and STEM OPT 24-month extension now have the option to file their applications online. View the full announcement

If you choose to file your STEM OPT application online, you must still complete the application process below and obtain the STEM OPT I-20 before filing your application with USCIS. Instructions for filing online vs. via paper application will be provided to you with the STEM OPT I-20.

US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced on April 12, 2021 that F-1 students seeking Optional Practical Training (OPT) and STEM OPT 24-month extension now have the option to file their applications online. View the full announcement. Students may still submit a paper application through the mail if preferred. Please note the following:

  • Whether you choose to file your STEM OPT application online or through the mail, you must complete the application process below and obtain the STEM OPT I-20 before filing your application with USCIS. Filing for STEM OPT without a STEM OPT I-20 endorsed by ISSS will result in denial of your application.
  • The wait time for adjudication of a STEM OPT application submitted online is the same as the wait time for an application submitted through the mail. However, filing online will result in an immediate receipt notice, while an application filed through the mail will take several business days to be received and receipted by USCIS.

Please note that the instructions below are a walkthrough to complete a mailed paper STEM OPT application. Instructions to complete an online application are in progress. If you would like to submit an online STEM OPT application to USCIS instead of a paper application, please reach out to ISSS for assistance when you are ready to apply.

If any of the following happen, call or email ISSS immediately for advice:

  • You receive a Request for Evidence (RFE) in the mail or see in Case Status Online that one was sent.
  • You receive your I-765 application back in the mail or see in Case Status Online that it was rejected and/or returned.

Either of the above are an indication that something is seriously wrong with your STEM OPT application. No progress will be made on your application until USCIS receives the necessary documentation from you. The allowable time period to respond to an RFE or rejected application is limited and will be indicated on the materials from USCIS. If you fail to respond by the deadline, your application will be denied.

If you filed your STEM OPT via mail, complete a Form AR-11, Alien's Change of Address Card, online using the Change of Address page.

If you filed your STEM OPT application online, update your address in the USCIS online account that you used to submit your application.

As a reminder, F-1 visa regulations require that you inform ISSS of your new address within 10 days of the change as well.

As soon as you receive your OPT EAD, please check if all information on the card is accurate. Pay special attention to your name, start date and end date.

If your EAD contains incorrect information that is not due to a USCIS error, you will need to apply for a replacement by gathering all documents required on the OPT Application Checklist. Once you have gathered all documents, scan/email the materials to ISSS so that an ISSS advisor can provide you with 2 new I-20s (1 for the packet, 1 for you to keep) as well as an OPT petition cover page for the application itself (confirming that this is not a new OPT application). Once we have finalized all materials, you will be submitting to USCIS again and it may take 2-3+ months for a replacement EAD to arrive. In the meantime, you are permitted to report any and all employment to us via a copy of the offer letter as well as the OPT Employment Update Form and we can update your status and provide you with an updated I-20 to use as your valid form of work authorization.

If your EAD contains incorrect information because of a USCIS error, you do not need to submit a new Form I-765 or a filing fee. Instead, complete the USCIS Typographic Error Form on their website. If USCIS determines that you are required to submit another I-765 to USCIS, you must complete the process above for an EAD card replacement not due to a USCIS error. 

If you are required to submit another I-765 to USCIS, you must contact ISSS and obtain an "EAD Replacement I-20" to include in your packet.

If the case status on USCIS is showing that your EAD card was mailed, but you never received it, there is a possibility that it was undeliverable or lost by the US Postal Service (USPS). Follow these steps to request a replacement EAD card:

  • Call USCIS to obtain the tracking number for your EAD Card. If you are have registered for an account with USCIS.gov, the tracking information should show in your account if the card has been mailed.
  • Check the tracking number. If it shows "delivered," contact USPS to see if they are able to locate the mail for you. If USPS is responsible for the lost card, you will need to obtain an official letter on a letterhead from USPS stating such. If approved, USCIS will then issue a new replacement EAD at no additional cost.
  • If your case status shows "undeliverable," it means that USPS may have returned the EAD to USCIS. Follow the instructions in the online USCIS case status to request that USCIS resend the card to you.

Please note if USPS determines that they are NOT responsible for the loss of the EAD, you will have to file for a replacement Lost EAD Card and pay the USCIS I-765 filing fee (see the instructions under the question above, "What if my EAD card is lost or stolen and I need to apply for the replacement card?").

If you are required to submit another I-765 to USCIS, you must contact ISSS and obtain an "EAD Replacement I-20" to include in your packet.

After graduating, completing Post-Completion OPT, and applying/being approved for STEM OPT extension, you are still in F-1 visa status sponsored by Drexel University. You must continue to maintain your F-1 visa status by following F-1 visa regulations for students on OPT. Your F-1 status ends after a 60-day grace period following the expiration date of your EAD card or on your last unemployment day, whichever comes first. For more information, see the question "What happens to my F-1 status when my OPT ends?"
The F-1 regulations require a student to be in F-1 status to apply for STEM OPT, and a student does not have visa status while outside the U.S. (even though their SEVIS record is active). Also, the questions on Form I-765 assume that a student is present in the U.S. If you are abroad and wish to apply for STEM OPT but are not able to return to the U.S., please email ISSS.
Yes. Even if your current OPT EAD expires, you may continue to work up to 180 days beyond the expiration date while your STEM OPT application is pending. However, it is important that you apply for an extension in a timely manner.

If you have applied for the STEM OPT extension, but you have not received the EAD card approval, you should be able to re-enter the U.S. as long as your current period of OPT has NOT expired at the time of your re-entry to the U.S. However, if you have applied for the STEM OPT and have not yet received the EAD card approval, and your current OPT has EXPIRED, traveling abroad may be risky. ISSS cannot guarantee that you will be permitted to enter the U.S. at any time, as this is ultimately decided by the Customs and Border Protection officer who reviews your records.

If you decide to travel, carry the following documents:

  • Valid passport.
  • Valid F-1 visa sticker in the passport (Citizens of Canada and Bermuda are exempt from the visa requirement).
  • I-20 with STEM OPT recommendation and recent travel signature on page 2. The signature may not be older than 6 months.
  • Expired OPT EAD card (you are authorized to continue working for 180 days past the expiration date as long as your STEM OPT application is pending).
  • A letter from your STEM employer stating your job title, brief job description, employment start and end dates, and current salary.
  • STEM OPT receipt notice (proof of application), which is mailed to you 2-3 weeks after USCIS receives your application.

You can apply for STEM OPT Extension and remain inside the U.S. with an expired F-1 visa sticker as long as you are maintaining your F-1 status (i.e. your I-20 is valid and you are following F-1 regulations). It is only necessary to renew your F-1 visa if you plan to depart and re-enter the U.S. during your OPT authorization. In order to renew your F-1 visa, you would have to leave the U.S. and schedule/attend a visa renewal interview at a U.S. Embassy/Consulate (ideally in your home country)

When renewing your F-1 visa, the documents listed below will be required for the F-1 visa application. However, please contact the US Embassy or Consulate where you will visit for your visa renewal interview to ask if any other documents will be required.

  • Valid passport.
  • I-20 with STEM OPT recommendation and recent travel signature on page 2. The signature may not be older than 6 months.
  • A letter from your STEM employer stating your job title, brief job description, employment start and end dates, and current salary.
  • While your STEM OPT application is pending: STEM OPT Receipt Notice (proof of application), which is mailed to you 2-3 weeks after USCIS receives your application.
  • After your STEM OPT application is approved: Your STEM OPT EAD card.

It is important to note that it may be more difficult to obtain a student visa while on Post-Completion OPT as the issue of non-immigrant intent with the intention to return to the home country at the completion of the OPT could be more difficult to prove once the student has obtained a degree and is working in the U.S.

STEM OPT Student Responsibilities & FAQs

Yes. The Department of Homeland Security has the authority to visit your STEM OPT worksite to make sure that you and your employer are meeting program requirements. Site visits may include interviews with you and your supervisor and a review of your training plan and other documentation.

In general, the DHS will give your employer 48 hours' notice in advance of a site visit but could make an unannounced visit if there is a complaint or other evidence of noncompliance with program rules. You and your employer can read more about site visits on Study in the States.

During the STEM OPT extension authorization, it is the student's responsibility to provide updates and changes in the following information to Drexel ISSS within 10 days of any change. Failure to do so would constitute a violation of the student's F-1 status. Email isss@drexel.edu to report any of the changes below. Any change in employment that results in a material change to the I-20 (i.e. employer name, employment dates, change in state/city of site of employment) will result in the issuance of an updated document reflecting the update reported.

  • Address Change
  • New Employment: A new I-983 Training Plan and a job offer letter is due within 10 days of beginning your new employment. Note that any change in employment will result in the issuance of an updated I-20.
  • End of Employment: A final STEM evaluation is due within 10 days of ending any employment. The entire I-983 training plan must be submitted with the final evaluation page. NOTE: The final evaluation should encompass the complete training period and the end date of the evaluation should therefore match your final day of employment with the previous employer.
  • Changes to Existing Employment: An updated Form I-983 Mentoring and Training Plan must be completed and submitted to ISSS within 10 days of:
  •  Any time there is a "material change" in the terms and conditions of the original I-983. Material changes include but are not limited to:
  • Any change of Employer Name or Employer Identification Number (EIN) resulting from a corporate restructuring
  • Any reduction in compensation from the amount previously submitted on the Form I-983 or successor form that is not tied to a reduction in hours worked
  • Any significant decrease in hours per week that a student engages in a STEM training opportunity
  • Any change or deviation that renders an employer attestation inaccurate, or renders inaccurate the information in the Form I-983 or successor form on the nature, purpose, oversight, or assessment of the student's practical training opportunity

Making Updates in the SEVP Portal

Please note: SEVP launched the SEVP Portal to allow students access to update employer and address information themselves in their record. To ensure full compliance with federal regulations and SEVP guidance, we ONLY recommend updating your address or personal information in the SEVP Portal. Ending, beginning, or updating employment requires the submission of a new or updated I-983 Training Plan; ISSS will update your SEVIS record with changes to your employment after reviewing your submitted documents, so it is not necessary to make these changes yourself in the Portal.

For guidance on using the Portal, please visit the SEVP Portal Help page. If your account is locked or you need password assistance, please email isss@drexel.edu for assistance.

Once your STEM OPT EAD card expires, you have a 60-day grace period of F-1 status. You are no longer authorized to work once your STEM OPT EAD card expires, but you may remain in the U.S. during this time to make arrangements to take one of the following actions:

  • Apply and confirm your attendance to a new program at Drexel or another SEVP-certified school and complete a change of educational level or SEVIS transfer.
  • Depart the United States.
  • Taken action to otherwise maintain legal status (e.g. change immigration status).

Note: Only those students who complete their STEM OPT will receive the grace period. For students who have exceeded the 150-day unemployment are not eligible for a grace period.

Authorization to engage in OPT is automatically terminated when a student transfers to another school or begins studying at another educational level.

Notify ISSS about any lost or stolen cards immediately.

To apply for the EAD replacement card, you must follow the "Apply for STEM OPT" instructions below, including the fee payment and a new STEM OPT I-20 from ISSS. At top of Form I-765, check the box for Replacement of Lost Employment Authorization Document.

The "H-1B cap-gap" is the period of time between the end of your STEM OPT and the beginning of your H-1B status. If you have authorized STEM OPT and have filed a timely application for change of status to H-1B with an employment start date of October 1, your OPT employment authorization will be automatically extended while the change of status application is pending through October 1 or is approved.

You are eligible for H-1B cap gap if:

  • Your employer files an H-1B petition for you on or after April 1, and requests a change of status to H-1B to begin October 1.
  • You are still within your STEM OPT authorization period when your employer submits the H-1B petition on your behalf (on or after April 1).

If your change of status application is denied, rejected or revoked, and your STEM OPT EAD is still valid, your work permission will expire on the STEM OPT EAD end date.

If your STEM OPT has expired and you are on cap gap, your work permission will be terminated on the rejection, denial, revocation, or withdrawal date.

To apply for a cap-gap extension I-20, please do the following:

  • Email ISSS to confirm that we have your correct employment and address on file. NOTE: Not having accurate employment and address information in SEVIS will significantly delay the issuance of the cap-gap I-20.
  • Email one of the following documents to ISSS:
  • For cap-gap extension through June 1, a statement from your employer that a change of status H1B application has been properly filed on your behalf and proof of delivery to USCIS, OR
  • For cap-gap extension beyond June 1, please submit either a scanned copy of the USCIS receipt OR a proof that the H-1B petition has been wait-listed. Please note: When ISSS can issue an I-20 with cap-gap employment notation depends on whether your SEVIS record contains information on the H-1B petition your employer has filed on your behalf.

ISSS will notify you via e-mail when your new I-20 is processed.

Note: The OPT/STEM OPT unemployment limit continues during the cap-gap extension period.

Traveling Abroad during cap-gap

There is information on traveling outside the U.S. during cap-gap on the Study in the States website. However, make sure that you consult with your employer and/or immigration attorney regarding any travel abroad during this time.

Pending H-1B Petitions After September 30

Please refer to this USCIS notice and consult the immigration attorney assisting with your H-1B application.

Six-Month Validation Report

You must submit a validation report every six months starting from the date your STEM extension starts and ending when your F-1 status ends or the STEM extension ends, whichever comes first. Click here to download the Six-Month Validation Form and email it to ISSS.

Form I-983 1-Year Evaluation and Final Evaluation

You must complete two self-evaluations during your STEM OPT period: the first one within 12 months of the STEM OPT start date and a second, concluding evaluation at the end of your STEM OPT period and/or at the conclusion of any job. Evaluations must be submitted within 10 days of the reporting period or end of employment.

For the first self-evaluation, please complete the first portion on page 5 of the I-983 Training Plan and submit the entire Training Plan along with your 6-month validation report.

For the second and final self-evaluation, please complete the second portion of page 5 of the I-983 Training Plan. All pages of the I-983 should be submitted along with your final 6-month validation report.

Please review the I-983 Instructions for further guidance on completing the required STEM evaluations.

You are not required to remain continuously employed during your STEM OPT period but there are limits to how long you may be unemployed. Your obligations will vary depending on whether you are in a 12-month initial OPT or 24-month OPT STEM extension:

  • 12-month initial period of OPT: You may be unemployed for no more than 90 days during your initial period of OPT. You must report to ISSS if you experience any interruption or loss of employment.
  • 24-month STEM OPT: You are permitted an additional 60 unemployment days once you are approved for a 24-month STEM extension. Added to the 90 days permitted during the initial 12-month OPT authorization, you have a maximum of 150 days of unemployment. You must report to ISSS and submit a final evaluation on the Form I-983 within 10 days if you lose your job or leave it before the STEM OPT period ends.

The following documents are needed to re-enter the U.S. after you graduate and your I-20 program end date has passed:

  • Valid passport with valid F-1 visa stamp (Citizens of Canada and Bermuda are exempt from the visa requirement).
  • STEM OPT I-20 with travel signature dated within the past six months of the date of reentry.
  • Proof of work authorization in the form of your STEM OPT EAD card.
  • A letter from your STEM employer stating your job title, brief job description, employment start and end dates, and current salary.

We strongly advise all F-1 students on STEM OPT, but particularly those with expired F-1 visas, to exercise caution in choosing whether to travel. If you are asked to travel for business, you should ensure that your employer is aware of the risks. ISSS cannot guarantee that you will be permitted to enter the U.S. at any time, as this is ultimately decided by the Customs and Border Protection officer who reviews your records.

Apply for a STEM OPT Extension

Follow the instructions below to apply for a STEM OPT Request I-20 from ISSS and file your I-765 with USCIS online. Please note that the instructions below will guide you to complete an online STEM OPT application with USCIS, rather than the paper/mail-in application. If you have questions or concerns, please contact ISSS.

Step 1: Download and Complete a Form I-983

Download the Form I-983 from the DHS Study in the States website. This document will not be submitted to USCIS, but you will submit it to ISSS in order to receive your STEM OPT Request I-20. Download the Form I-983 Instructions [PDF] to learn how to fill in this form with the correct information.

Note: Please do not fill in the DSO contact information box on the Form I-983. This field will be completed by the advisor who reviews your application for the STEM OPT Request I-20.

Step 2: Request a STEM OPT I-20 from ISSS

Email the following documents to isss@drexel.edu to request your STEM OPT Request I-20:

  • Completed STEM OPT Request Form [PDF].
  • Completed Form I-983 (from Step 1 above).
  • Job offer letter or other document proving employment, signed and on company letterhead.
  • Scan of your current post-completion OPT EAD card (front and back).
  • Scan of diploma or official transcript for STEM degree.
  • If you are applying for the STEM OPT extension based on a previously earned STEM degree (rather than your most-recently earned degree used for your current OPT authorization):
    • Copy of the I-20 from your previous degree showing the STEM eligible CIP code.
    • Copy of your degree or official transcript to confirm completion of the STEM degree.

Please do not send files in a zipped folder. Attach files as individual PDFs or as a single compiled PDF.

Step 3: Gather Additional Documents for Your Application

While you wait to receive your I-20 from ISSS, gather the following additional documents that USCIS will require for your STEM OPT application. All of the documents in the list below will be submitted digitally, through the USCIS online portal.

  • Digital color U.S. style passport photo of yourself taken within the last 6 months.
    • You will need to upload a recent (taken within the last 6 months) U.S. style passport photograph of yourself. Please refer to the Department of State's website as well as the instructions on the online I-765 application for additional information on the photo requirements.
    • As a best practice, do not re-use photos that you have previously used on your passport or visa, as this may lead to issues with your application.
    • You may wish to use the Department of State's Photo Tool to upload your photo and crop to the correct size.
  • Most recent Form I-94. Please note that if you changed to F-1 status within the U.S. via a successful in-country change of nonimmigrant status (Form I-539) application with USCIS and have not since traveled outside the U.S., the I-94 is located on your change of status approval notice document (I-797).
  • Passport identification page (plus extension page, if applicable) or F-1 visa sticker.
  • If you are applying for the STEM OPT extension based on a previously earned STEM degree (rather than your most-recently earned degree used for your current OPT authorization):
    • School accreditation approval letter from your school or alternate documentation of current accreditation.
    • I-20 from your previous degree showing the STEM eligible CIP code.
    • Copy of your degree or official transcript to confirm completion of the STEM degree.
    • SEVP certification documentation from your school or here (must be currently certified; check the Study in the States website).

Step 4: File an I-765 (EAD Application) to USCIS Online

Once ISSS reviews your request and generates your STEM OPT Request I-20, you will receive an email with instructions to pick up the I-20 (or the I-20 will be included in the email, if you requested a digital original copy) as well as instructions to file your I-765 online to USCIS. Please note:

  • USCIS must receive your STEM OPT application within 30 days of the date that ISSS prints your STEM OPT Request I-20. If it is not received in time, you will need to redo your application.
  • USCIS must receive your STEM OPT application before your OPT EAD card expires. If you do not apply for STEM OPT before the OPT EAD expires, you will not be eligible for the STEM OPT extension.
  • If you apply for the STEM OPT extension in a timely manner and your OPT EAD card expires, you may continue to work up to 180 days beyond the expiration date while your STEM OPT application is pending. The start date on your STEM OPT EAD card will be the day following your existing OPT EAD card's expiration date.

After STEM OPT Approval

Once you receive a response/approval from USCIS, review the FAQs section STEM OPT Student Responsibilities & FAQs to make sure that you are following F-1 visa regulations for students on STEM OPT and reporting updates to ISSS. You are not required to email a copy of your EAD card to ISSS, but here is a summary of changes that must be reported (complete information is in the FAQs above) within 10 days of a change:

  • Address Change: Email ISSS to report a new living address.
  • STEM OPT Employment Update Form [PDF]: Report new Employment, end of employment, or changes to existing employment; include required supplemental documents as described on the form.
  • Six-Month Validation Form [PDF]: Submit every six months during STEM OPT authorization along with self-evaluation at 1-year and 2-year marks (described on form).