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New rules on STEM OPT are in effect as of May 10, 2016.  Students who are applying for STEM extension must read all the information below to determine eligibility for a STEM OPT extension and how to apply for this benefit.

Please keep in mind that you are responsible for applying for the STEM OPT extension in a timely and complete manner.  The Department of Homeland Security has a website that provides details for students and STEM OPT employers.

OPT STEM Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Eligibility for STEM OPT

To be eligible for the STEM extension, you must:

  • have completed a degree program in one of the STEM-eligible fields.

o   NEW:  You may now qualify for a STEM extension off a prior degree in a STEM field that was earned while in the U.S.  You can determine if you are eligible for STEM OPT extension by following instructions on the DHS website.  

  • be in a period of approved post-completion OPT and maintaining F-1 status.  You must not have been unemployed for an aggregate of more than 90 days during the initial 12 month period
  • be employed in a position that is directly related to the degree for which OPT was recommended

o   Under the new STEM OPT rules, you must be in a paid position, working directly for the employer and not through a contracting agency or be self-employed, and be employed a minimum of 20 hours a week in the eligible job. 

  • have no more than one previous STEM extension, AND
  • be working for an employer who is registered with E-Verify

o   Note:  The Johns Hopkins University and Johns Hopkins Hospital are E-Verify employers.

When to File

The window for filing for a STEM OPT extension begins 90 days prior to the end of your initial OPT period, and ends on the day prior to the expiration of your initial OPT.  Your application must be received by US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) within that time frame.  There are no exceptions; if you do not file within this window of eligibility your application will be denied.

How to File an Application for the STEM OPT extension

Complete the I-983 form along with your employer and make sure it is signed in the appropriate places (see information on the I-983 form below).

Submit your STEM Extension Request to the OIS in a timely manner.  To submit your request, follow the instructions below.

If you continue to have access to JHU systems using your JHED login:

  • Go to
  • Click on the blue Login button under Full Client Services for Students & Scholars
  • Login with your JHED ID and password
  • Once logged in, click on "F-1 Practical Training" in the menu on the left, then click on "STEM OPT 24 Month Extension "

If you no longer have access to JHU systems using your JHED login:

  • Go to
  • Click Limited Services.
  • Click "Email me my limited access pin."
  • Enter your Hopkins/University ID.
  • A pin will be emailed to your email address that is on file with the OIS.
  • Once you receive the pin, log in using your Hopkins ID, date of birth and pin.
  • Once logged in, click on "F-1 Practical Training" in the menu on the left, then click on "STEM OPT 24 Month Extension "

If you have any trouble accessing iHopkins, please contact OIS at with the subject line:  “iHopkins Access.”


Upon receiving your STEM OPT Extension request through iHopkins, OIS will process your I-20 with the required STEM OPT Extension recommendation.

  • Receiving the new I-20: You will specify on the request form how you wish to receive the I-20 with your STEM recommendation.  We strongly urge you to use eShipGlobal If you choose to have the form sent to you via U.S. mail, keep in mind that you cannot track its delivery.  OIS will not be responsible for any forms that are shipped via U.S. mail or the consequences of not receiving your I-20 on time.

Mail the completed application to USCIS for processing within 60 days of the date that your STEM OPT I-20 was issued and before the expiration date of your initial OPT.  The official filing date is the date that your application is received by USCIS.  If you fail to file your application within the appropriate dates it will be denied.



Prepare and submit all the following documents to USCIS.  This information is also available as a pdf checklist.

  • Form I-765 completed and signed by the student.  The code for #27 is (C)(3)(C) a STEM extension.  Do not forget to include your employer’s name and EVerify number and to sign this application.  We recommend single sided printing for all USCIS forms. 
  • Form G-1145, for email notification that your application has been received.
  • 2 new Passport-style photographs that meet USCIS specifications found on Form I-765 instructions.
  • Copy of your current Form I-94 Arrival/Departure Record (available online at
  • Copy of pages I and 2 of the I-20 you will receive with the STEM extension.
  • Copies of the information pages (1 AND 3 OR 1 AND 2) page of ALL Form I-20s that have been issued to you by ALL SCHOOLS PREVIOUSLY ATTENDED
  • Copy of your current unexpired passport id page and visa page.
  • Payment of the USCIS processing fee.  There are two options:
    • A check or money order in the amount of $410 made payable to "U.S. Department of Homeland Security". To view a sample check please search the USCIS website for "Paying Immigration Fees".
    • Credit card payment via USCIS Form G-1450.
  • Copies of front and back of any previous work authorization cards you have EVER been issued.
  • Copy of diploma or transcript of the degree being used for the STEM extension; make sure that it indicates the field in which you received your degree.
  • DO NOT include a copy of the I-983 form.

Send application to the appropriate USCIS office, based upon the address used on the I-765.  See pdf checklist above for mailing instructions.  Be careful that the address you use on the I-765 is one at which you may receive mail.  You are advised to make a copy of your entire application.

USCIS Dallas Lockbox should be used if your address is in:

Alabama, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Mississippi, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, U.S. Virgin Islands, or West Virginia

USCIS Phoenix Lockbox should be used if your address is 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, Guan or the Northern Mariana Islands

Send your application by express mail or courier delivery:

Attn: AOS
2501 S. State Hwy.
121 Business
Suite 400
Lewisville, TX 75067

Send your application by express mail or courier delivery:

Attn: AOS
1820 E. Skyharbor Circle S
Suite 100
Phoenix, AZ 85034



Continuation of Employment while STEM OPT is Pending

Your OPT work authorization is automatically extended for 180 days if your application for the STEM OPT extension is properly and timely filed.  However, you cannot travel outside the U.S. and return until you have received the new EAD.  

Driver’s License while STEM OPT is Pending

While your STEM OPT application is pending your driver’s license might expire and it generally cannot be renewed until you receive the STEM EAD. You can check with your local DMV to see if they allow a temporary extension of your driver’s license while the STEM extension application is pending based on an I-797c receipt notice.

The I-983 Form

A training plan requirement, documented with a new form, I-983, is a new provision of STEM OPT eligibility.    An I-983 form must be completed and submitted to OIS for each OPT employer.    If you change employers or positions while on authorized STEM OPT, you must submit a new I-983 form.

DHS has provided detailed information on the I-983, including instructions on how to complete the form.  Please note that the responsibility for completing this form lies with the student in consultation with the employer.  OIS cannot assist in completing the I-983 for any student, including those who are employed at JHU.  If you have questions, please use the resources provided by SEVP on their STEM OPT website, including the specific instructions for the I-983.

When you complete the I-983, you should leave the box in section 1 that asks for the Designated School Official information blank.   OIS will need to complete that based upon which advisor reviews the form.  Note that page 5 is used for the required annual reviews, and therefore, is not completed as part of the initial application process.

SIGNATURE AUTHORITY FOR JHU DEPARTMENTS EMPLOYING STEM OPT STUDENTS:  The Training Plan requires information and certifications to be completed both by the student and the employer (i.e., JHU).  The employer information, including the content of the employer certifications (with two notable exceptions discussed below), relate primarily to information specific to the employment of the student and the supervisor's role.  Given this fact, and to align with JHU practice for signing employment agreements (which are signed by department chairs or administrative unit heads), the Vice President for Human Resources, Heidi Conway, with the advice of counsel, and the agreement of the Office of International Services (OIS) and Chief Risk Officer, has decided to delegate authority for completion and signature of the Training Plans to the STEM OPT students' supervisors. A copy of the Training Plan will be provided by each supervisor to the student for submission to the student's home institution.  The Training Plans are not submitted to ICE, but are subject to audit by ICE. DHS has provided detailed information for employers, including I-983 completion and other reporting requirements.  

I-983 Information for Employees of Johns Hopkins University and Johns Hopkins Hospital


Johns Hopkins University

Johns Hopkins Hospital

Employer ID



Everify Number






Full Time US Employees




USCIS Processing Timeline

Approximately 2-3 weeks after submitting the application, you will receive a receipt notice containing a case number. With this number, you can track your case online at When you receive this notice, it is important that you check the spelling of your name to make sure there are no errors. If you find an error, contact USCIS at the phone number provided on the notice. It may take 90 days or longer for USCIS to process your application.  This is considered your personal application for immigration benefits and OIS cannot influence USCIS processing of your application.