Application Checklist for STEM OPT Extension

Below is a checklist of the items you need to request a new I-20 and apply for an extension of your Optional Practical Training (OPT) in a Science, Technology, Engineering or Math (STEM) major field of study.

To apply for the STEM OPT Extension, you will need to initiate a STEM OPT extension request through the ISSOPortal.  Once your request has been processed and you have received your new I-20 with an OPT recommendation you can apply to USCIS for the STEM OPT extension directly to USCIS.

Preparing to Apply for STEM Extension:

Meet with your employer to complete the USCIS Form I-983 Training Plan for STEM OPT.

    • This Form must be completed and signed by you and your employer prior to requesting a recommendation from the ISSO, outlining your training plan for STEM OPT employment.
  • Without this completed form, the ISSO cannot recommend STEM OPT.
  • Further information about the Form I-983 can be found here.
  • If you are a recent graduate working at BU, your department must submit the Immigration Processing Request to the ISSO Scholar Services Team.  After this is reviewed, your Scholar Advisor will provide required details to complete your I-983 and I-765.  This means that you will need to complete this step prior to requesting a STEM OPT Extension through the ISSOPortal. Your BU employer should refer to ISSO guidelines on hiring employees in STEM OPT.

Confirm with your employer:

  • Company name as registered in E-Verify: _________________
  • E-Verify Company Identification Number: _________________

Prepare all of the following documentation in order to submit your request to ISSO and USCIS:

  • USCIS Form I-983 Training Plan for STEM OPT – completed and signed (see above)
  • USCIS Form I-765
    • Use an address in section three (3) that will be valid for at least four (4) months.
    • Clarify if you wish to apply for a Social Security Number concurrently with this OPT application.
    • Enter the correct employment code as follows: (c)(3)(C) – for STEM OPT Extension
    • Enter information related to your STEM OPT application including: Degree Level, Employer’s Name and Employer’s E-Verify Number
  • Credit card to pay the I-765 USCIS filing fee.
  • Immigration documents, including:
    • All original I-20s ever issued to you, including I-20s from other schools. USCIS only requires past I-20s that include past OPT or CPT authorizations, however ISSO recommend that all previous I-20s be included in your application.
    • Printed I-94 record or original paper I-94 stapled in passport
    • Valid passport with most recent entry stamp
    • All previous Employment Authorization Documents (EADs)
  • Photograph – size 2×2 inches and meeting USCIS/DOS specifications outlined here
  • Academic documents, including:
    • Official Boston University transcript and diploma(s) showing completion of the STEM degree.

(If applicable only) Request for STEM OPT Based on Prior Degree Additional documentation is required for this request. Students requesting STEM OPT based on a prior degree must submit a completed STEM OPT application and supporting documents to be reviewed by ISSO advisor

Steps for requesting a STEM recommendation from ISSO:

Log into the ISSOPortal to initiate the request. Follow the instructions, answer the questionnaires, upload required documentation, confirm your understanding of the process, pay the $200 ISSO STEM OPT Processing Fee and submit your request.

Track the status of your request through the ISSOPortal.

Your ISSO Advisor will review your request within 10 business days and notify you of the approval via email.

Download, print and sign the new Form I-20 with STEM OPT recommendation from the Document Center in the ISSOPortal.

Follow the instructions below to mail your completed application to the USCIS. The recommendation for your STEM OPT will expire 60 days after it is made.