International Student and Scholar Services

24-month STEM Extension

A STEM Extension is an additional 24 months of post-completion Optional Practical Training granted to certain government-designated degree-holders in a science, technology, engineering or mathematics (STEM) field.

Eligibility

Students who:

  • Are participating in post-completion Optional Practical Training.
  • Are working for a U.S. employer in a paid job (at least 20 hours per week) directly related to the student’s major area of study.
  • Have completed a degree in a field on the STEM-Designated Degree Program list from an accredited, SEVP-certified, U.S. institution of higher education, or have completed all course requirements but still is completing a thesis, dissertation, starred paper or capstone.
  • Are working for a company that is registered with the E-Verify employment verification system and has an IRS Employer Identification Number.

A student may use a prior STEM degree from an accredited SEVP-certified school if:

  • They have received their most recent degree (does not need to be a STEM-Designated Degree Program) from an SEVP-certified school that is currently accredited.
  • They have received their prior, qualifying STEM degree (at the bachelor’s level or higher) within 10 years preceding the date of application for the STEM Optional Practical Training extension with USCIS.

A student cannot apply for a STEM Extension if the student:

  • Has finished their post-completion optional practical training period.
  • Has an optional practical training assignment that is end-dated.
  • Has received a STEM extension of any duration at the same level as the student now wants to apply.  A student must earn a second qualifying degree to seek a second STEM extension.
  • Has exceeded 90 days of unemployment during their post-completion optional practical training period.

Application

The student must first submit the following to the Center for International Studies:

I-983

  • We require that you download the form, type in the required information and print the form because USCIS scanners often misread handwritten forms, which could delay processing. The scanners do not read information that is grayed out, highlighted or corrected with correction fluid or tape.
  • Tips for filling out the form:
    Item Important information
    Student email address
    Enter your personal email address
    Name of school where STEM degree was earned
    Enter St. Cloud State University unless the STEM application is based on a degree program from a previous SEVIS-certified, accredited school. Then enter that school name.
    SEVIS School Code of school recommending STEM
    OPT
    SCSU Main Campus = SPM214F00271000
    SCSU Twin Cities Campus = SPM214F00271
    Designated school official
    This will be completed by Center for International Studies upon submission.
    Qualifying major and classification of instructional programs (CIP) code
    This can be found on the 1st page on your I-20 under “Program of Study” or under #5 on the old I-20. CIP
    code is in this form: XX.XXXX.
    Level/Type of Qualifying Degree
    Undergraduate, graduate or doctoral
    Date Awarded
    This is the date that your degree was conferred (see your official transcript).
    Employment Authorization Number
    This is the “A” number on your optional practical training employment authorization document card.
    Sections 3 and 4
    These sections are to be completed by the student’s employer.
    Section 5
    This section is to be completed by the student and the employer.
    Section 6
    This section is to be completed by the student’s employer.
    Evaluation on student progress
    This section is to be completed by the student and employer at the student’s 12-month date of the STEM extension.
    Final Evaluation on student progress
    This section is to be completed by the student and employer at the student’s 24-month date of the STEM extension.

I-765

  • We require that you download the form, type in the required information and print the form because USCIS scanners often misread handwritten forms, which could delay processing. The scanners do not read information that is grayed out, highlighted or corrected with correction fluid or tape.
  • Tips for filling out the form: 
    Item Important information
    I am applying for ... Check “Renewal of my permission to accept employment.”
    1. Full name Type your name in the appropriate boxes.  If your name does not fit in the box, please attach a "continuation sheet" with your name and I-94 Number on it and indicate the Part and item number to which your answer reflects and date/sign it.
    3. U.S. Mailing Address Please use your personal address.
    9a/b. Social Security Number

    Since you already have a Social Security Number then select "Yes" then you must also enter your Social Security Number 9b.

    14. Form I-94 Number Please enter your 11 digit I-95 number found on the I-94 print out screen.
    15. Have you ever before applied for employment authorization from USCIS? Select "Yes" and enter the USCIS office that approved your employment, the dates of employment as listed on your previous EAD card, and the results.
    16-19. Last entry and current status Obtain this information from your current I-94.
    20. Eligibility The eligibility code for OPT is “(C)(3)(C).”
    21. Eligiblity Enter the level of your degree (i.e. BA, BS, MA, MS, etc.), your Employer's name exactly as it is in E-Verify, and your Employer's E-Verify number.  REQUIRED
  • G-1145
    • We require that you download the form, type in the required information and print the form because USCIS scanners often misread handwritten forms, which could delay processing. The scanners do not read information that is grayed out, highlighted or corrected with correction fluid or tape.
  • Official transcript showing your degree conferral or letter from your academic advisor if your degree is not yet conferred.
  • Letter from your employer on letterhead that includes:
    • Employer's name as listed in E-Verify.
    • Employer's E-Verify company identification number.
    • Explanation of job responsibilities/duties.
    • Pay.
    • Location of the company.
    • Part-time or full-time+.

An advisor at the Center for International Studies will:

  • Review the the application and request the STEM extension in SEVIS and issue a new I-20.
  • Notify the student by email that their new I-20 has been issued. The student must then gather these documents to complete their USCIS packet:
    • Copies of current and previous I-20s (pages 1 and 3 on old I-20s; pages 1 and 2 on current I-20).
    • Two copies of the new I-20s signed in blue ink (one to keep).
    • Two U.S.-style passport photos taken with a white background within 30 days of filing your application.
      • Write your name and I-94 card number on the back in pencil
      • Submit them in the envelope/folder from where they were taken. Include the receipt, if possible.
    • A copy of your I-94 Information screen.
    • $410 application fee in the form of a money order payable to U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
      • Do not sign the back of the money order.
    • Color copy of your valid passport with biographical and extension pages.
    • Color copies of all previous employment authorization documents (front and back, if applicable), including the OPT EAD card.

The student is responsible for mailing their application packet.

  • For U.S. Postal Service
    USCIS
    P.O. Box 21281
    Phoenix, AZ 85036
  • For Express mail and courier services:
    USCIS
    Attn: AOS
    1820 East Skyharbor Circle S
    Suite 100
    Phoenix, AZ 85036

Key Points

  • File your STEM Extension packet up to 90 days before your post-completion Optional Practical Training end date.
  • The application packet must be sent to USCIS within 60 days from when Center for International Studies issues the new I-20.
  • Graduation from St. Cloud State University must be conferred to submit an application packet to USCIS or the student must provide a letter from their academic advisor explaining why the degree has not yet been conferred and state when it will be.
  • The application packet must be received by USCIS before their post-completion Optional Practical Training end date or it will be automatically denied.
  • While the STEM extension application is pending, the student’s post-completion Optional Practical Training is automatically extended until the extension is approved or for 180 days, whichever is earlier.
  • Changes in name, address, employer or employment status must be reported to Center for International Studies within 10 days.
  • STEM employment must be validated to Center for International Studies at 6, 12, and 18-month intervals.  Failure will trigger automatic SEVIS termination.
  • Students are allowed 150 days of employment (Optional Practical Training and STEM Extension).

Reporting STEM Extension employment