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17-Month OPT STEM Extension

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Presentation on theme: "17-Month OPT STEM Extension"— Presentation transcript:

1 17-Month OPT STEM Extension
UCI International Center

2 Eligibility Requirements
Students currently on OPT who hold a STEM degree (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) are eligible to apply for a 17-month OPT extension. To find out if your degree qualifies, visit You can find your CIP code (Classification of Instructional Programs) on the third page of your I-20. The student’s employer MUST be registered in the government-sponsored E-Verify program. For more information on the E-Verify program, visit 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 your EAD card. The student agrees to report any change of name, address, or interruption of employment to the International Center. 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.

3 Application Steps Confirm that your degree qualifies for the 17-month extension. Turn in a complete application to the International Center as early as 4 months (120 days) before your current EAD card expires. Once the International Center reviews your application, a new I-20 will be generated. Without this I-20, USCIS will NOT approve your request for the extension. Mail your OPT application along with new I-20 to USCIS. Note: Your application for OPT STEM extension must be submitted BEFORE the expiration date of your EAD card. No exceptions!

4 17-Month Extension Timeline
1st Year of OPT 17-Month Extension 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 11 ½ MONTHS: Last day eligible to turn in your application to the International Center

5 Application Timeline Materials needed for OPT STEM Application:
Two U.S. passport quality sized photos OPT student agreement form (this can be found on our website) I-765 Form – use black pen or type this form Photocopy of biographical page of passport Photocopy of F-1 visa I-94 Form Photocopy of most current I-20 reflecting your initial OPT dates Photocopy of front and back of EAD card Photocopy of your UCI diploma OPT employment update form (found on our website) NOTE: Do NOT turn in an incomplete application. All the required documents above MUST be included.

6 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 days. If you are using another individual’s address, please use this format: “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

7 Completing the I-765 Form 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

8 Completing the I-765 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” Section 12: Write your date of last entry in the U.S. Refer to your I-94 Section 13: Write the airport code of the city you last entered the U.S. For example, if you entered through Los Angeles, write “LAX” Section 14: Write F-1 Student; however, if your last entry was with another visa, write that visa instead

9 Completing the I-765 Form 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

10 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.

11 Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How long does it take to get the 17-Month OPT authorization? A: Approximately days. This does not include the 7 business days of processing time at the International Center.

12 Frequently Asked Questions
Q: I am currently in Pre-Completion OPT. Do I need to apply for Post-Completion OPT and then for the 17-Month Extension? A: Yes – each OPT requires a new application. One for Pre-Completion OPT, a second for Post-Completion OPT, and a third 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. Pre- and Post-Completion OPT can be turned in 90 days prior to your graduation date. The 17-Month Extension application can be turned in as early as 120 days prior to the end date of your EAD card.

13 Frequently Asked Questions
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 in 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 International Center with your actual degree. Your I-20 should always reflect the degree you will be receiving.

14 Frequently Asked Questions
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.

15 Further Questions & Information
For questions, please the International Center staff at or call our main line at (949)

16 Thank You!

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