When do I apply for STEM Opt?

  • You may submit materials as early as 90 days prior to the expiration of your current OPT.
  • You must apply before your Post-Completion OPT period expires.
  • All materials must be received by OGS and USCIS by the expiration date on your current EAD.


Application

Are you currently in an authorized period of OPT? Can you answer yes to all of the following questions?

  1. Do you have a degree in Science, Technology, Engineering, or Math (STEM)?
  2. Does the degree code* on page 1 of your Form I-20 make you eligible for a 24-month extension?
  3. Do you have a paid job offer directly related to your STEM area of study?
  4. Is your employer enrolled in E-Verify** and willing to complete the I-983 Training Plan and Annual Evaluation?

* STEM Designated Degree Program List (PDF) (Note: The degree upon which your STEM OPT is based must be one of the designated STEM eligible fields offered by Georgetown: Analytics; Biochemistry; Biochemistry & Molecular Biology; Biological Physics; Biology; Biology of Global Health; Biomedical Science Policy & Advocacy; Biostatistics; Biotechnology; Cell Biology; Chemistry; Communications, Culture and Technology; Computer Science; Data Science for Public Policy; Economics; Environmental Biology; Environment Metrology and Policy; Health Physics; Human Science; Math & Statistics; Mathematics; Microbiology; MPS Technology Management; Neurobiology; Neuroscience; Pharmacology; Physics; Physiology and Biophysics; Systems Medicine; or Tumor Biology.) **  

**For more information about E-Verify, check out the E-Verify website

  • Submit the following completed materials to OGS via e-mail (to Sarah.Bunker@georgetown.edu for Last Names A-P or to Sandra.Layton@georgetown.edu for Last Names Q-Z):
  • OGS will recommend the STEM OPT Extension, update SEVIS, and issue a new Form I-20 (Processing Time: 3-5 business days) to be included in the USCIS application.
  • The Form I-20 will be sent to you with STEM OPT Next Step Instructions on how to finalize the application and submit it to USCIS for processing. Sign and date the new I-20.

Form I-765 can be downloaded here.

Special Instructions for Completing Form I-765:
  • Check the Box: Renewal of my permission to accept employment
  • Question 20: Eligibility Code (c)(3)(c)
  • Question 21: List degree, employer's name, and employer's E-Verify number
  • Make sure the address you use on the I-765 Form will be accurate for at least 90 days.
Application Checklist:
  • Filing Fee: Personal check, cashier's check or money order (sample filing fee [PDF]), or debit/credit card. Paying the fee with a card requires submission of Form G-1450. USCIS only accepts Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and Discover. If the card does not have the full $410 available, your entire application will be sent back to you.
  • Two passport-style photos taken within 30 days (Passport Photos Sample (PDF))
  • Signed Form I-765 (Sample Form I-765 STEM OPT(PDF))
  • G-1145 (E-Notification of Application/Petition Acceptance)
  • Copy of new Form I-20 (with OPT STEM recommendation on page 2)
  • Copies of all previous I-20s
  • Copies of EADs (all previous)
  • Copy of passport biographic page
  • Copy of I-94 record or I-94 card (front & back)
  • Copy of F-1 Visa
  • Copy of your final transcript or diploma documenting STEM-eligible degree
  • Mail OPT Application to USCIS (DO NOT use the online application)
    • OGS recommends sending your application via FedEx or USPS Priority so that you can track your package.

Before mailing, make a copy of all application materials for your personal records (including supporting documents and payment).

*Your application must be received by USCIS within 55 days of the signature on your I-20 recommending STEM OPT.  If the application does not reach the service center in time, your request will be denied. If you think your application may not arrive within this timeframe, contact OGS for a new I-20 prior to mailing.

You should receive a receipt from USCIS at the address listed on your Form I-765 within 2-3 weeks of submitting your application. Check your receipt notice for errors – especially errors related to your name and date of birth. Please watch your mail closely and respond to any additional requests from USCIS immediately.

As long as USCIS accepts your application for processing before the expiration of your current OPT, your work status will automatically be extended for an additional 180 days or until your case is adjudicated. You can show the USCIS receipt notice to your employer as evidence of your ability to work during this period.  You can check the status of your application with USCIS Case Status Online using the number listed on the receipt.

Wait: Application Processing may take more than 90 days!

Once USCIS approves the STEM OPT Extension, you will receive a new Employment Authorized Document (EAD).

Please visit the 24-Month STEM OPT Reporting Requirements page to understand all of your reporting requirements while on STEM OPT.

Questions about the 24-Month STEM process, reporting requirement, or eligibility? View the Frequently asked questions