24-Month OPT Extension

Eligible F-1 nonimmigrant students with STEM degrees may apply for a 24-month STEM OPT extension. Interested F-1 students must first apply for and receive an I-20 requesting the extension, and then apply for and receive the Employment Authorization Document (EAD) from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

Student Eligibility

  • F-1 students with a STEM degree who have been granted 12 months of post-completion OPT may apply for a 24-month extension of their period of practical training
  • The STEM degree must be awarded by an accredited U.S. college or university
  • The extension may be based upon your most recent STEM degree or upon a STEM degree that was conferred within the 10 years preceding the date the ISSO issues your STEM Extension I-20 (If you are applying based on a previous degree, you must meet additional eligibility criteria).
  • You may apply for the extension based upon a dual degree program or double major as long as one of the programs is STEM eligible.
  • The student may be eligible for up to two 24-month extensions based upon two separate STEM degrees at different educational levels moving up.

Application Process

  • Step 1: Apply for the UT Dallas STEM OPT Extension I-20.
    1. Pay the $100 Practical Training Fee
    2. Submit to the International Student Services Office (ISSO):
      • STEM OPT Request Form
      • Completed Form I-765
      • Completed Form I-983 (view the I-983 Sample Video)
      • Current EAD card
      • Transcripts (if applying based on STEM degree granted prior to the most current degree. If you have a BS and an MS degree, and are applying based on the BS)
      • Previous I-20(s) (if applying based on STEM degree granted prior to the most current degree)
    3. Once your application has been processed, you will be sent an email that the STEM OPT I-20 is ready for pickup. Your application packet from ISSO will include:
      • STEM OPT Extension I-20
      • Corrected I-765 copy, only if there were corrections to the I-765 copy you submitted for review. (if there were no corrections, then you will not receive a corrected copy)
      • Letter confirming that if your file your STEM OPT application before the deadline, you may continue working for up to 180 while your application is pending.
      • Application assembly and mailing instructions
  • Step 2: Apply for the STEM OPT Extension Work Authorization.
    1. Compile the application, make a copy for your personal file and mail the application to USCIS.
      • Form G-1145 (Optional). Authorizes USCIS to send you application processing updates via email/text. If this is desired, paperclip completed form on top of application packet>
      • Original Form I-765.
      • 2 U.S. size passport photos. No Glasses Allowed. Lightly write name and I-94 number on back of each photo. Attach photos to top, left corner of Form I-765 (a plastic bag is supplied for your convenience)
      • $410 check or money order. Or use Form G-1450 for Credit Card Transactions.. Make payable to “Department of Homeland Security,” write I-94 number at top. Staple check midway down the left edge of Form I-765. Print I-94 number at top of check or money order
      • Copy of OPT Extension I-20. Pages 1 and 2. I-20 must be less than 60 days old, signed by you and an ISSO advisor
      • Copy of passport ID page. Showing picture and expiration date.
      • Copy of I-94. Front and back or electronic I-94 print out
      • Copy of F-1 visa. Most recently issued visa, valid or expired or I-797 F-1 approval notice.
      • Copies of any former OPT EADs
      • Copy of diploma. Related to this period of STEM OPT, or UT Dallas official or unofficial transcript showing degree conferred
      • Copy of your job offer letter, or other proof of current employment.
    2. USCIS must receive your application before your period of initial OPT ends.
    3. If you are in a period of post completion OPT your authorization will extend up to 180 days past the OPT expiration date while the extension application is pending. However, during that time you must meet the job requirements of the extension, such as working for an E-Verify employer.
    4. If approved, an OPT extension Employment Authorization Document (EAD) will be mailed to the address listed on the submitted I-765 showing 24  months of OPT.

Reporting Requirements

In order to maintain your F-1 status while you are on STEM OPT, you must regularly check in with the ISSO to validate your information in SEVIS and report changes. There are several reporting obligations:

  1. Validating SEVIS Information:

    Every six months submit the OPT STEM Reporting Form, select “Validation Report” in Section C and include your current employment information and current residential address. Submit your validation within 10 days of due date. The due date is exactly 6, 12, and 18 months from the start date of your STEM OPT EAD authorization.

  2. Annual Self Evaluation:

    Submit an annual self-evaluation in the I-983 to report about the progress of your STEM OPT Training experience

  3. Material Changes to your Existing Form I-983:

    Report to ISSO any material changes to, or material deviations from, your I-983 training plan by submitting a modified I-983. These include, but are not limited to:

    • Any change of the employer’s EIN.
    • Any reduction in student compensation that is not tied to a reduction in hours worked.
    • Any significant decrease in hours per week that a student engages in a STEM training opportunity.
    • Changes to the employer’s commitments or student’s learning objectives as documented on the Form I-983
  4. Report changes to your name or address:
    • Option #1: OPT Reporting Form

      For changes in your name or residential address submit an OPT STEM Reporting Form via email or in person to the UT Dallas ISSO. The ISSO will report your changes to Homeland Security.

    • Option #2: SEVP Portal and OPT STEM Reporting Form

      You may report some changes to SEVIS via the SEVP Portal. Updating the SEVIS Portal does not eliminate the need for you to report to ISSO. To meet your reporting obligations, you must also complete and submit an OPT STEM Reporting Formindicating that you have made updates in the SEVP Portal. You may also request ISSO to print an updated I-20 for you via the Reporting Form.

  5. Report changes to your employer or employment:

    If you are reporting changes to your employer/employment including:

    • Moving from unemployment to employment or from employment to unemployment
    • Ending employment at end of EAD authorization.
    • Changing employers

Submit both the OPT STEM Reporting Form and the I-983 (for both previous and new employer as needed). Report changes in your employment status to the ISSO within 10 days of the change.

Unemployment Limit

  • Students on the 24-month STEM OPT extension are able to access unused days of employment from the initial OPT period plus an additional 60 days of unemployment for a maximum period of 150 days of unemployment.

SEVP Portal

Effective March 23, 2018, the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) is launching a portal that will help SEVIS Active F-1 alumni on Post Completion OPT and STEM OPT meet some immigration reporting requirements. The SEVP Portal shares information with the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS), but does not give you direct access to SEVIS. The SEVP Portal also does NOT remove the need for F-1 alumni to report changes to the ISSO.

SEVP Portal Account Instructions:

  1. SEVP Portal: How to Create an Account
    1. If your OPT or STEM OPT has been approved and is active, check your utdallas.edu email inbox for an email notice that includes a link to the SEVP Portal registration pages. You can recognize the email by the sender and subject lines:

      • Sender: [email protected]
      • Subject Line: Optional Practical Training Approval – the next step. Create an SEVP Portal account
    2. The email contains a link you must use to create the account. The link is unique to you.You can only use the link once. If you are unable to start the registration process, ask the ISSO to have SEVP send you the email notice again. Email [email protected] or call to speak with the Express Advisors on Tuesday and Thursdays from 9 am – 12 noon to request ISSO to unlock your account and/or request a password reset. Response times for email requests is approximately 2 business days.

    3. Click the link. The initial Register page in the SEVP Portal registration process opens.
    4. Enter your SEVIS ID. Click submit. The next Register page opens to create your password.
    5. Enter a password. The password must meet the criteria on the page.
    6. Confirm the password.
    7. Click “Create Account”. The Portal opens the Log in page and displays a success message.
  2. SEVP Portal: How to Log In and Navigate After You Have Created Your Account
    • Visit https://sevp.ice.gov/opt/#/login
    • Enter your UT Dallas email address and password on the login screen.
    • On the Attestation page, click “Continue” to access the SEVP Portal. Clicking “Continue” signifies that you agree to the terms and conditions outlined on the page. If you do not agree, do not proceed into the SEVP Portal.
    • To log out of the portal, click the log out link in the upper right hand corner of the header.
  3. General Information:
    • Expand/Collapse Options: Expand to view information or collapse to hide
    • Colors: The colors of the action buttons in the portal tell you whether they can take that action. If an action is available for you to take, the button will appear bright blue with white text. If an action is unavailable for you to take, the button will appear grey with black text
    • Error/Success Messages: The portal uses different messages and visual aids to help you enter data correctly. If you submit data incorrectly or submit incomplete information, the portal displays light pink error messages at the top of the page. If you submit data correctly, the portal displays light green success messages at the top of the screen to reflect a successful submission.
    • Idle Time: After 20 minutes of inactivity, the portal will ask you to confirm that they want to remain logged into the system. You must click OK to remain logged in. If too much time has passed and you do not respond to the prompt, the system will log you out.
    • Locked Account: The SEVP Portal will lock your account if you do not log in to the portal for 90 days or after three failed attempts to log in to the system. Email [email protected] or call to speak with the Express Advisors on Tuesday and Thursdays from 9 am – 12 noon to unlock your account and/or request a password reset. Response times for email requests is approximately 2 business days.
    View History:
    • Click ‘View History’ in the top navigation bar to view a history of changes that have happened in your portal record.
    • Click the plus (+) sign to the right of the event to expand its information. The event will indicate which field(s) changed and the old and new values for the field(s).
    Address Validation:

    The portal will validate the physical and mailing addresses that you enter, meaning it will check to see if the address given is a valid one. If the system does not recognize an address, you will get an error message at the top of the page only, telling you that changes failed to save.

SEVP Portal FAQs

  1. How do I create an SEVP Portal Password?

    If you have been approved for Post Completion (OPT) you will receive an invitation to create an account in the SEVP Portal. This email will be sent to your UT Dallas email address. Once you receive the link to create your SEVP Portal account, you will be required to create a password. Instructions for creating the password are included in the email.

  2. I didn’t get an invitation to create an account for the SEVP Portal?

    If you are an F-1 alumni, you will only obtain an invitation for the SEVP Portal if all of the following conditions have been met:

    • You SEVIS record reflects that you have been approved for Post Completion OPT and/or STEM OPT and
    • The start date for your period of Post Completion OPT iseither today, or is in the past, and
    • Your SEVIS F-1 immigration record is ‘Active’

    If you believe that you meet all of these conditions and you have not received an invitation for the portal to your UT Dallas email account:

    • Check your spam or junk mail folder
    • Email [email protected] or call to speak with the Express Advisors on Tuesday and Thursdays from 9 am – 12 noon.
  3. What can I do and see in the SEVP Portal?

    F-1 alumni on Post Completion OPT will be able to:

    • View, add and edit phone number.
    • View, add and edit mailing and physical residential address.
    • View, add and edit OPT employer information.

    F-1 alumni on STEM OPT will be able to:

    • View, add and edit phone number.
    • View, add and edit mailing and physical residential address.
    • View and edit employer information (cannot add).
  4. I’ve been locked out of my SEVP Portal. How do I request a password reset?

    Email [email protected] or call to speak with the Express Advisors on Tuesday and Thursdays from 9 am – 12 noon to request a password reset.

  5. May I change the email address used for the SEVP Portal?

    No. The SEVP requires the ISSO to report a valid email address for each active F-1 student or alumni. Your utdallas.edu email account has been reactivated to ensure the security and privacy of the communications. If you need assistance in accessing your UTD email account contact the UT Dallas Help Desk at [email protected] or 972.883.2911. You are welcome to forward your utdallas.edu email to a personal email account

  6. I edited data via the SEVP Portal. Will I get a new I-20? How will I get a new I-20?

    Maybe. The I-20 does print certain information regarding your employment. If you edit your employment information you may request an updated I-20 from the ISSO. Your I-20 does not print information regarding your address, and phone number; therefore, you will not need a new I-20 based on these changes.

    This ISSO is not notified directly when you make an update through the SEVP Portal. If you need an updated I-20 based on your edits please submit a request by submitting an OPT Reporting Form or STEM OPT Reporting Form to the ISSO. Processing times are approximately 3-5 business days. >

  7. May I print an I-20 directly from the SEVP Portal after I make edits?

    No. The SEVP Portal does not allow you to print an I-20, only the ISSO can print and sign I-20s for you. You will need to submit an OPT Reporting Form to the ISSO in order to obtain an updated I-20. Processing times are approximately 3-5 business days.

  8. I updated my information in the SEVP Portal. Do I still need to fill out an OPT Reporting Form?

    Yes. Updating the SEVIS Portal does not eliminate the need for you to report to ISSO. To meet your reporting obligations, complete and submit an OPT Reporting Form or STEM OPT Reporting Form indicating that you have made updates in the SEVP Portal. You may also request ISSO to print an updated I-20 for you via the Reporting Form.

  9. Will logging into the SEVP allow me to access my SEVIS record?

    No. The SEVP Portal does not provide access to your SEVIS record, it only allows you to view and edit phone, address and employer information.

  10. If I update my information via the SEVP Portal, is it immediately available in SEVIS?

    The information you enter in the portal should be sent immediately to SEVIS to update your record.

  11. How soon after information is updated in SEVIS will it be available in the SEVP Portal?

    Information is sent from SEVIS to the SEVP portal once a day. Therefore, if there is a change made in SEVIS you should expect to see it in the SEVP Portal by the next day.

  12. Am I required to use the SEVP Portal to edit my information?

    No. At this point, you are not required to use the SEVP Portal. If you report via the SEVP Portal, you must also submit an OPT Reporting Form indicating that you met your reporting obligations via the SEVP Portal. Processing times are approximately 3-5 business days.

  13. Is there a cost or fee associated with using the SEVP Portal.

    No. There is no additional cost associated with creating an account or accessing the SEVP Portal. Do not pay any money to use the SEVP Portal.