Do not submit your I-765 application for STEM OPT to USCIS online or by mail until you have received an updated I-20 from ISSS with the STEM recommendation. Otherwise, USCIS will deny your request for STEM OPT.
The STEM OPT Extension is a two-year extension of post-completion OPT for students who earned a STEM degree in the U.S. A student can request the STEM extension up to two times (as long as the student has completed a higher level of study, two STEM degrees at different levels of study, and was granted post-completion OPT a second time). The STEM OPT extension is a separate application filed to USCIS.
To know if you are eligible to apply for a 24-month extension of your post-completion Optional Practical Training (OPT), please search for your major's CIP code on the DHS website.
You can find your CIP code (6-digit number) on your I-20 on the first page under "Program of Study", under "Major 1" or "Major 2" if you have a double-major.
The earliest you can apply for your STEM extension is 90 days before the expiration of your current post-completion OPT period. The deadline to apply is by the expiration of your current post-completion OPT period. If USCIS receives your STEM extension application even one day after your current OPT expires, the application will be denied.
Please make sure you have reported any employment you participated in during your post-completion OPT period (the first 12 months of OPT) before applying for the STEM extension. OPT should be reported using the SEVP Portal | Student and Exchange Visitor Program Portal. Please contact ISSS (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you have any issues accessing your SEVP Portal.
Please review more details regarding the process in the sections below.