Application Instructions

Students must request the STEM OPT Extension I-20 from OIS. Email the following documents to OPTSTEM@usc.edu. Incomplete applications will be rejected.

Students Applying Based on Current STEM Degree

Students Applying Based on a Previously Obtained STEM Degree

  • Completed Request for 24-Month STEM OPT Extension I-20
  • A photocopy of the completed Form I-983
  • Letter from employer on company letterhead that states the training opportunity/job responsibilities has a direct relationship to the student’s qualifying STEM degree
  • Copy of diploma that certifies completion of previous STEM eligible degree
  • If previous degree was on F-1 status submit a copy of the I-20
  • If previous degree was on a status other than F-1, submit a DSO letter on school letterhead (Designated School Official, located in the International Office) confirming that the previous degree is now on the STEM eligible CIP code list

Once the student receives the new I-20 from OIS, all application materials must be mailed to USCIS. Refer to the 24 Month STEM OPT Checklist and filing deadlines below.

Application Filing Period and Deadlines

  • USCIS accepts STEM OPT Applications as early as 90 days prior to the OPT EAD expiration date.
  • Students must mail the Form I-765 and supporting documents to USCIS within 60 days from the date OIS recommended the STEM OPT Extension in SEVIS.
  • USCIS must receive your application packet before your 12 month OPT EAD expires.