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STEM OPT. F1 International Students. UFIC International Student Services January 28, 2013. Optional Practical Training STEM OPT: 17-Month Extension NOTE: Please review the Standard OPT Presentation as it is a prerequisite of STEM OPT. PART 2: STEM Extension OPT: 17 Month Extension

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Stem opt



UFIC International Student Services

January 28, 2013

Stem opt

Optional Practical TrainingSTEM OPT: 17-Month ExtensionNOTE: Please review the Standard OPT Presentation as it is a prerequisite of STEM OPT.

  • PART 2:

    • STEM Extension OPT: 17 Month Extension

      • What is STEM Extension OPT?

      • Applying for STEM OPT

  • OPT Reporting & Travel Requirements

Stem opt

What is OPT?

  • Optional practical training is temporary employment authorization that allows F-1 students to gain practical work experience (on- or off-campus) by applying their academic knowledge to a position directly related to their area of study.

What is STEM Extension OPT?

  • A one-time 17-month extension of post-completion OPT

  • Life-time limit, NOT per degree level

Stem opt eligibility

STEM OPT Eligibility

  • Available only to students who graduated with a Bachelor, Master, or PhD degree in a major on the DHS approved STEM Degree List

  • Must be a position directly related to your major area of study

  • Employer must be registered in E-Verify, and agree to report to the ISA within 5 days of when the student is terminated or leaves employment

Stem opt eligibility continued

STEM OPT Eligibility, continued

  • The student must agree to make periodic reports to the ISA every 6 months.

  • Must be on a current authorized period of post completion OPT

  • The earliest you can apply for STEM OPT is 120 days before your standard OPT expires.

  • Begins on the day after the expiration of the standard post-completion OPT employment authorization and ends 17 months thereafter.

  • For example:

    • Standard OPT: 12/18/2012 – 12/17/2013

    • 17 Months Extension OPT: 12/18/2013 – 5/17/2015

Stem opt facts


  • Limited Periods of Unemployment to Maintain Status

    • During standard post-completion OPT, F-1 status is dependent upon employment.

    • May not exceed 90 aggregate/cummulative days of unemployment during the standard post-completion OPT

    • Students granted a 17-month OPT extension may not exceed an additional aggregate of 30 or more days of unemployment, for a total 120 days of unemployment during the total 29-month OPT period.

Applying for stem opt

Applying for STEM OPT

  • Submit the following documents(complete all forms BEFORE submission)

    • STEM OPT Questionnaire

    • Complete the STEM I-765 Application Form  TYPE in the fields (sections number 3 and 16 have already been completed for you)

  • COPIES of your most recent immigration documents:

    • I-20 for OPT Extension, I-94 Card (Front and Back), Current EAD (OPT card) (Front and Back), Passport, F1 Visa

    • Two passport-regulation photos which are less than 30 days old.

  • Proof of the Degree and Major (such as official/unofficial transcripts, or copy of your diploma)

    • A personal check, money order, or cashier’s check for $380, payable to Department of Homeland Security

      Instructions & Forms:

Applying for stem opt continued

Applying for STEM OPT, continued

  • If you LIVE IN GAINESVILLE, call 352-273-1540 or -1541 to schedule an appointment to meet with your International Student Advisor

  • If you DO NOT LIVE IN GAINESVILLE, submit only the completed 17-month OPT STEM Extension Questionnaire, the completed Form I-765, and a copy of the I-94 card either by fax or as a .pdf/.jpeg email attachment to your ISA.

  • Your ISA will verify your eligibility by

    • checking that your major is on the STEM Designated Degree List,

    • checking student records to see that you have received a Bachelor, Master, or PhD degree

    • ensuring that you are aware of your responsibilities for maintaining status while on OPT

  • Applying for stem opt continued1

    Applying for STEM OPT, continued

    • Your ISA will then input the 17-month STEM extension request in SEVIS and produce a new I-20 for you.

    • The STEM OPT I-20 will be provided to you to mail your application materials to USCIS

    • Applications for the 17-month STEM extension must be receipted byUSCISBEFORE your standard OPT card expires.

      • Students who file a timely application for the 17-month OPT extension will be able to continue employment while the extension application is pending, until a final decision on the I-765 or for 180 days, whichever comes first.

    Applying for stem opt continued2

    Applying for STEM OPT, continued

    • You are responsible for mailing your application through the USPS to:

      • USCIS Dallas LockboxPO Box 660867Dallas, TX 75266

    • Recommended to mail via “Certified Mail”

    • The receipt notice and the STEM OPT card will arrive at the UFIC, and you will be notified via your GatorLink email address as each arrive.

    Stem opt questions

    STEM OPT Questions?

    Stem opt

    Reporting, Volunteering and Travel Requirements

    while on STEM Extension OPT

    Address update

    Address Update

    • You must update your address within TEN days of moving

    • There are three things you must do:

      • Complete the ONLINE AR-11 Change of Address:

      • Update your personal info in MyUFL: (if you still have access to it)

      • Send an email to your International Student Advisor with your UFID, full name, new address and telephone number

    Employer volunteer info

    Employer / Volunteer Info

    • STEM OPT MUST be with an E-Verified Employer

    • Reporting Information

    • Employer Name

    • Employer Address

    • City, State, Zip Code

    • Date Began/Started

    • Date Ended/Stopped

    • Supervisor's Name

    • Supervisor's Email

    • Supervisor's Tel #

    Volunteering on stem opt

    *Volunteering on STEM OPT

    • USCIS is currently allowing volunteering on STEM OPT

    • Must still be related to your major.

    • Must be at least 20 hours or more weekly.

    • Obtain a “Letter of Commitment/Volunteer” for your records.

    Travel during stem opt

    Travel During STEM OPT

    • You are still on an F1 Student Visa

    • Traveling out of the US is always risky, but if you choose to do so, in order to return to the U.S. you must have

      • Valid Passport (valid at least 6 months beyond entry date)

      • Valid F1 Student Visa

      • I-20 (which has been endorsed for OPT)

      • Valid travel signature (valid for 6 months from date signed)

      • Employment Authorization Document (EAD/OPT card)

      • Letter of Employment (on employer’s letterhead, stating your name, job title, brief description of duties, OPT start date; if you have already started, a letter confirming employment and knowledge of your travel plans)

      • 2-3 recent pay stubs

        * Dependents must have their own I-20, passport, F2 visa and copy of the F1’s I-20, OPT card and employment letter

    Reporting volunteer travel questions

    Reporting/Volunteer/Travel Questions?

    Contact your international student advisor

    Contact Your International Student Advisor!

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