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; Communication, Culture and Technology; Computer Science; Data Science for Public Policy; Economics; Environmental Biology; Environment Metrology and Policy; Health Physics; Human Science; Learning and Design; 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 by email (to Sarah.Bunker@georgetown.edu for Last Names A-L or to Danielle.Valles@georgetown.edu for Last Names M-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 I-20 will be sent to you with instructions on how to finalize the application and submit it to USCIS for processing. Sign and date the new I-20.

Always download Form I-765 from the USCIS website to ensure use of the most recent version.

See OPT FAQs for general instructions and OGS Sample I-765 (PDF) for details.

Application Checklist:
  • Form G-1450 for debit/credit card payment (USCIS only accepts Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and Discover, and the card must have a US billing address. If the card does not have the full $410 available, your entire application will be sent back to you.), personal check, chashier's check, or money order (sample filing fee [PDF]).
  • Two passport-style photos (Passport Photos Sample [PDF]) taken within 30 days (Write your name and SEVIS ID Number on the back in pencil.)
  • Signed Form I-765 See OPT FAQs for general instructions and OGS Sample I-765 (PDF) for details.
  • Form 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 Form I-20s
  • Copies of EADs (all previous)
  • Copy of passport biographic page
  • Copy of I-94 Record (front & back of paper record) or automated I-94 Record
  • Copy of F-1 Visa
  • Official final transcript or copy of your diploma documenting STEM-eligible degree
    • If you did not obtain your STEM-eligible degree at Georgetown, you must include evidence that the school is currently a Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP)-certified school. Find your school on the SEVP website and print the page showing that it is SEVP-certified.
  • Copy the entire application before mailing to USCIS
  • Sign up for Informed Delivery with U.S. Postal Service (USPS) for advanced warning on when to expect the EAD card to be delivered after it has been shipped by USCIS.
  • Submit OPT Application to USCIS by mail (do not use the online form)*
    • OGS recommends sending the application via FedEx or USPS Priority so that you can track your package.

*Your application must be received by USCIS within 60 days of the IS Advisor signature on the Form I-20.  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.

Wait - application processing takes an average of 90 days! Once an application has been receipted and assigned a case number by USCIS, applicants may check the USCIS online case status for updates. 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.

USCIS will mail communications to the address listed on your Form I-765 after you have submitted your application. You should receive a receipt from USCIS within 2 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 notify your IS Advisor of any additional requests from USCIS immediately.

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

Change of Address:

USCIS encourages applicants to report a change of address within 10 days of relocation using the USCIS Change of Address Information procedures.

USCIS will destroy EAD cards returned as undeliverable by USPS after 60 business days if USCIS is not contacted by the student to correct the address. USPS is barred from forwarding USCIS mail to another address.

Students who have already submitted the OPT application to USCIS and will depart the home address used on the I-765 before the EAD card arrives should take the following actions:

  • Approved or Mailed: The EAD card should arrive within two weeks. If after two weeks you have not yet received the card, please submit a case inquiry to USCIS to verify whether it is undeliverable.
  • Returned: The EAD card is undeliverable. Please submit a case inquiry to USCIS.
    • 1. Complete the USCIS Change of Address online process, and
    • 2. Update their mailing address with USPS, as mail from DHS and/or USCIS cannot be forwarded by the post office to a new address.

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 OPT process, reporting requirements, or eligibility? View the Frequently asked questions