International Programs Office. OPT Work Permission for F-1 Students

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1 International Programs Office OPT Work Permission for F-1 Students

2 Eligibility for the 24-Month Extension Be a recipient of a U.S. Bachelor s, Master s or Doctoral degree in a STEM-designated degree program (Science, Technology, Engineering, or Math). Be authorized for a period of post-completion OPT and have not exceeded 90 days of unemployment. Be employed or have a job offer (directly related to your field of study) from an employer who is registered in the USCIS E-Verify Program. Employer completes and signs Form I-983. File within the required timelines. Note: A total of two 24-month STEM extensions may be granted per lifetime, based on completion of an advanced degree level.

3 Types of Allowable Employment Must be a bona fide employee of the employer completing the Form I-983. The employer signing Form I-983 must be the same entity to employ you and provide the practical training experience required by Form I-983. Multiple employer arrangements, sole proprietorships, employment through temp'' agencies, employment through consulting firm arrangements that provide labor for hire, and other relationships that do not constitute a bona fide employer-employee relationship are generally not supported. Volunteer/unpaid positions and self employment are generally not supported by the 24-month STEM OPT Extension.

4 STEM OPT: Employer Responsibilities Be enrolled in E-Verify and remain in good standing. E-Verify is a government program that verifies Social Security numbers and an employee s work eligibility. There is no master list, ask your Human Resource Department if they participate Report material changes to the STEM OPT student s employment to the DSO within 5 business days. Implement a formal training program to augment the student s academic learning through practical experience. Provide an OPT opportunity that is commensurate with those of similarly situated U.S. workers in duties, hours, and compensation. Complete the Form I-983, Training Plan for STEM OPT Students. In this form, the employer must attest that: They have enough resources and trained personnel available to appropriately train the student; The student will not replace a full- or part-time, temporary or permanent U.S. worker; and Working for the employer will help the student attain his or her training objectives.

5 Are You Eligible? Next Steps: To request an I-20 recommending the 24-month STEM extension, you MUST submit the following documents to 1) STEM Extension Request Form & Attestation ( IPO for this form) **Keep a copy of the Attestation for your records. 2) A photocopy/scan of your EAD card 3) Completed & Signed Form I-983

6 Tips on Completing Form I Name as it appears on passport Preferred address Youngstown State University Youngstown State University CLE214F Carly Devenburgh X Bachelor s/master s/phd Refer to YSU official transcript Found on EAD card Found on top of I-20 N00.. The day after 12-month OPT 24-months after OTP end date 6-digit code found on I-20 in Program of Study box, Major 1

7 2-Step Process: STEP #1: a complete STEM request to A new I-20 will be issued recommending the STEM extension. STEP #2: Submit all materials to U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) Cost: $410 Processing time: up to 90 days

8 Application Timeline USCIS must receive your complete STEM request: No more than 90 days before initial 12-month OPT ends. No later than 60 days from the date that the STEM Extension I-20 is issued. Before the end date of your 12-month EAD! Submission after initial 12-month OPT ends = DENIAL!

9 OPT I-20: The 60 Day Rule!! OPT application must be received by USCIS within 60 days of the date your OPT I-20 is issued. Be ready to file when you turn in your request! I-20 more than 60 days past issuance date = OPT DENIED!

10 While the STEM Application is Pending You may continue to work for up to 180 days while waiting on your new EAD card This is unique to the 24-Month STEM OPT

11 USCIS issues the Employment Authorization Document (EAD) You will receive a new EAD card for the STEM extension

12 What to Include in STEM Application: G-1145 form Check for $410 (payable to U.S. Department of Homeland Security) Two U.S. passport-sized photos (Do not wear glasses!) Completed, signed I-765 form Copies of all I-20s issued to you Copy of passport Copy of F-1 visa stamp Copy of I-94 record ( Copy of previous EAD(s) Official YSU transcript

13 G-1145 Form G first page of application More like 1-2 weeks Disregard form expiration date be sure to download from uscis.gov

14 Preparing Your Check mm/dd/yyyy US Department of Homeland Security Four hundred ten dollars and /100 $ OPT Application Sign Your Name Here

15 Preparing Your Check Leave the back BLANK

16 Preparing Your Application: Photos Write your name and I-94 # on back! Make sure they are the correct size! DO NOT wear eye glasses!

17 Preparing Your Application: Tips You can include your check & photos in an envelope marked with your name Attach to application with a paper clip

18 Form I Complete Online as form fillable pdf USCIS uses machine readable scanner

19 Form I-765 Check the box: Renewal of my permission to accept employment

20 Form I-765 #10: Write in I-94 # #1: Your name as it appears in your passport! #3 U.S. Mailing Address: Be careful of address! Where will you be in 90 days? No forwarding by USPS!

21 #11: Check Yes Which USCIS Office? List the appropriate USCIS Service Center, Refer to EAD code will be: EAC = Vermont SRC = Texas WAC = California LIN = Nebraska YSC = Potomac Dates: List OPT start date. Results: Granted

22 Form I-765 #12 & #13: Refer to your latest port of entry stamp in passport #14: F-1 Student #15: Student 24-month STEM code: (c)(3)(c)

23 List the degree code found on your I-20 (page 1, Program of Study box, Major 1 ) Form I-765 Sign within lines in blue ink #18, #19 Leave blank!

24 I-20 Page 2 STEM OPT Recommendation New Travel Signature

25 Preparing Your Application: Proof of Degree Proof of degree ONE of the following: Recommended! Final, official transcript You may not open the envelope. Trascript is only official in a sealed envelope. Copy of the diploma showing the level and program of study. *With questions on obtaining a transcript or your diploma, contact YSU s Penguin Service Center.

26 The Application Process Photocopies of Immigration Documents I-94 record Electronic printout: OR White I-94 card (front & back) Photo page of passport Most recent F-1 visa stamp ALL I-20s (be sure that they are signed!) Previous EAD card(s)

27 Optional Cover Letter Cover letter not required, unless something is missing or further explanation is required: Missing I-20 Check your records then contact your previous school to see if they have a copy Missing EAD No template available: Just To whom it may concern:

28 Dependents in F-2 Status F-2 dependents will receive a new I-20 F-2 documents not submitted to USCIS with OPT application F-2 travel during OPT Use new OPT I-20 Carry copies of F-1 STEM OPT I-20, EAD card, job offer letter

29 Make a Copy of STEM Application Make a copy of your complete OPT application for your records!

30 Timing of Your Application Be aware of processing times: OPT takes up to 90 days to be approved..or longer if application is returned, something is missing, etc. Cannot Expedite OPT!! Trying can slow the process! Note: You can continue to work for 180 days while your STEM OPT is being processed.

31 Mailing your Application On I-765 (#3), if you use an address in: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Washington, Wisconsin, Wyoming FedEx/UPS Recommended!!! USCIS Attn: AOS 1820 E. Skyharbor Circle S Suite 100 Phoenix, AZ U.S. Postal Service (USPS) USCIS P.O. Box Phoenix, AZ 85034

32 Mailing your Application On I-765 (#3), if you use an address in: Alabama, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, DC, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Mississippi, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia FedEx/UPS Recommended!!! USCIS Attn: AOS 2501 S. State Hwy. 121 Business Suite 400 Lewisville, TX U.S. Postal Service (USPS) USCIS P.O. Box Dallas, TX 75266

33 The Waiting Game: Next Steps You should receive from USCIS: 1. Text message or with case number (within about a week) 2. Receipt Notice (within 4 weeks) 3. Approval Notice (up to 90 days) 4. EAD card (up to 90 days)

34 Case Status Online: Case will stay in received status until approved

35 Maintaining Status During STEM Extension You must submit a STEM report EVERY 6 months First report due 6 months after STEM EAD start date. Submit report to Legal name and date of birth Residential/mailing address Employer name and address Status of current employment

36 Maintaining Status During STEM Extension 150 Days of Unemployment Rule You may not accrue more than 150 days of unemployment during STEM The start date for this unemployment clock goes back to the start of your 12-month OPT period If you accrue more than 150 days of unemployment, your OPT and F-1 status ends. Employment MUST be full-time (more than 20 hours per week) Unpaid work is not permitted during the 24-month STEM OPT.

37 Maintaining Status During STEM Extension F-1 students on STEM OPT MUST keep local (U.S.) & permanent (home country address) current Must notify IPO within 10 days of a move How? IPO at

38 Keeping Records & Maintaining Status Job must be related to level & field of study at YSU Keep documentation of employment for your records (offer letter, job description, tax records, etc.): Employer/company Employer address # hours per week Job description Supervisor contact info

39 Travel Issues on STEM OPT Always travel with: Valid passport Valid STEM OPT I-20 with travel signature Valid F-1 visa sticker *Canadian citizens exempt from visa requirement EAD Job Offer Letter Employer information reported in SEVIS

40 STEM OPT Travel Issues Continued EAD says not valid for re-entry! don t worry, this means the EAD is not valid for re-entry alone Canada, Mexico and adjacent islands? 30-day exception for expired U.S. visa *unless you apply for and are denied a new F-1 visa* Do NOT Enter as a tourist!! Doing so will end OPT! No travel after initial OPT period while STEM EAD is pending!!

41 OPT Travel Issues Continued H-1B application pending? You MUST consult your H employer! Travel questions in F status (need a new visa, etc.)? Consult IPO

42 H-1B Temporary Work Visa Private Sector: H-1B effective start date is Oct 1 st The H-1B CAP or quota available to employers April 1st 65,000 annually for those with at least a bachelor s degree 20,000 additional H-1B visas set aside for advanced degree holders (Master s & PhD) Universities not subject to Cap University employers can apply at any time for any start date

43 Cap-Gap Extension If H is timely filed (between 4/1 and end of your OPT) OPT AUTOMATICALLY extends from end of your OPT to September 30 If your employer wants new I-20 IPO will need a copy of your H approval notice and your current EAD card

44 H-1B vs. OPT OPT is based on your degree If you don t like your job, you may be able to change employers during STEM, as long as the new employer qualifies. H-1B is directly linked to your employer If you don t like your job and decide to quit, you will have no status. Once H is approved and start date reached, OPT ends and F-1 status is complete.

45 Change of Employer During 24-Month STEM Extension 1. Submit a final evaluation to for Company A. 2. Submit a new request to for Company B Form I-983 IPO STEM Request Form & Attestation Form I-765 Copy of STEM EAD card There is no fee associated with a change of employer during 24-month STEM OPT. SEVIS will be updated with your new employer and a new I-20 will be issued.

46 Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) What is considered full-time employment on the 24-month OPT STEM Extension? Students must work at least 20 hours per week for an E-Verify employer in a position directly related to the STEM degree, following the goals and objectives stated in the I- 983 training plan. I have two part-time jobs. One of the employers is enrolled in E-Verify but the other is not. Is this allowed? No, all employment during the 24-month STEM must be full-time with an E-Verify employer as outlined on the I-983. How many days of unemployment am I allowed while on the 24-month STEM Extension? Students who receive a 24-month OPT STEM extension are given an additional 60 days of unemployment for a total of 150 days over their entire post-completion OPT period. NOTE: Month Transition students with a 17-month Extension who request an additional 7 months of OPT have 120 days of unemployment until the final approval of the 24-Month Extension EAD. Once the EAD is approved, you can claim the 24-Month 150-day unemployment.

47 Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) What counts as unemployment? Each calendar day during the period when OPT authorization begins and ends that the student does not have qualifying employment counts as a day of unemployment. Can I continue to work while my 24-month STEM Extension OPT is pending? If a student s EAD expires while the STEM Extension application is pending, the student is authorized to work until USCIS makes a decision about the application, but not more than 180 days from the date the student s initial OPT EAD expires What documents should I present to my employer once my 12-month OPT expires and my OPT STEM is pending? The student should present the employer with the expired EAD card, the form I-20 recommending the student for STEM Extension, and proof of the timely filing with USCIS (Receipt Notice from USCIS).

48 Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) Can I switch employers while my OPT STEM application is pending? Yes, but we do NOT recommend this. You must submit a new OPT 24-Month STEM Request and I-983 to OIE. An advisor will update your information and you must submit an amended Form I-765 and I-20 copy to the appropriate USCIS Service Center, providing the new employer s E-Verify number and a copy of the USCIS receipt notice for the first Form I-765. A brief letter explaining the submission should also be included. There is no fee associated with submitting the amended Form I-765.

49 Visit the STEM OPT HUB on the Study in the States website Contact IPO at

50 International Programs Office Jones Hall, Room 1042 Office hours: Monday-Friday, 8:00-5:

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