How and When to Apply for STEM OPT

To apply for STEM OPT, you must

  • hold a degree from the STEM Designated Degree Program List,
  • have been offered a job by an E-Verify employer (the job must be a paid job for at least 20 hours per week), and
  • be on regular post-completion OPT.

Your first step will be to complete and submit STEM OPT forms to OIS via STEM OPT Upload Center (login under your NCSU Gmail account). OIS will review the forms and issue a new I-20 for your STEM OPT application. The second step will be to prepare and mail your STEM OPT application to USCIS.  

Please visit our STEM OPT page to review the application process in more detail.

USCIS must receive your application before your current EAD expires, but no sooner than 90 days before it expires. Also, the date of your new I-20 with the STEM OPT request must be within 60 days at the time when USCIS receives your application.

If USCIS receives your STEM OPT application on time and your regular post-completion OPT expires while your application is pending, USCIS will automatically extend your employment authorization for 180 days. Your expired EAD presented with the new I-20 and the Receipt Notice from USCIS will serve as proof of your employment authorization until your new EAD arrives.