STEM Extension Reporting
There are significantly more reporting requirements for F-1 students while on STEM OPT Extension. Use OIS’ STEM OPT CALCULATOR to calculate your validation/evaluation reporting timeline. All other reporting must take place within 10 days of a change. Please read through all requirements listed below, as some changes may require multiple ‘reports.’
- Contact Information. Just like during the 12-month post-completion OPT, F-1 students on STEM OPT Extension are required to update any changes to contact information. The following should be updated in MyPack (for addresses, make sure to update “SEVIS Local” for U.S. address and “SEVIS Foreign” if your address abroad changes). Please also make sure to update this information in your SEVP Portal account.
- Residential address
- Phone number
- Personal Information. You must report changes to the following information by emailing email@example.com:
- Legal name
- Email address
- Immigration status (for example, change to H-1B or F-2)
- Departure from the U.S. (early completion of STEM OPT Extension)
- Transfer to another school (early completion of STEM OPT Extension)
DHS requires STEM OPT Extension students to verify their employment information (validation) and evaluate their training progress (evaluation) regularly throughout the STEM OPT Extension period. Please keep in mind that at the 12 and 24 month marks, these requirements overlap and both reports are due. Use OIS’ STEM OPT CALCULATOR to calculate your validation and evaluation timeline.
- Data Validation (every 6 months). Every six months STEM OPT Extension students are required to confirm their employment and address information. You must report to OIS 6 months, 12 months,18 months, and 24 months after the start of your STEM OPT Extension
- Your Data Validation must be submitted through OIS’ OPT Validation Form.
- The window for reporting a 6-month data validation opens 30 days before the reporting date (i.e. the 6-month mark from your EAD start date) and is due no later than 10 days from then.
- If you are unemployed at the time your report is due, still submit the OPT Validation form with your most recent employment information and email firstname.lastname@example.org confirming your unemployment status.
- Annual Evaluations (every 12 months). Every 12 months STEM OPT Extension students are required to submit a self-evaluation (page 5 of Form I-983) on the progress of your training experience, which must be signed by you and your employer.
- Your annual evaluation must be submitted through the STEM OPT Upload Center
- Please attach page 5 of Form I-983 with your completed self-evaluation to your most recently completed Form I-983 (pages 1 – 4) for this employer and save as one file. No need to complete pages 1 – 4 of Form I-983 again, unless there has been a material change to your training plan (see below).
- The evaluations can be submitted as early as 30 days prior to the reporting date and are due within 10 days of the reporting date.
- Changing Employers or Adding a New Employer. You must notify OIS of changing employers or adding a new employer by submitting the following documents through the STEM OPT Upload Center (please select “Report change of STEM OPT employer” as the reason of submission):
- New Employer form
- New I-983 (pages 1-4) completed and signed by you and your new employer
- Final self-evaluation of your performance with the previous employer on page 5 of Form I-983 signed by you and your previous employer. If you continue to work with this employer (i.e. you just need to add another employer), you don’t need to submit the final self-evaluation. If your work with the previous employer had ended before the start date of your STEM OPT extension, you don’t need to submit the final self-evaluation either. After we receive your documents, we will update your SEVIS record accordingly and issue a new I-20 for you. We will send you an email when your new I-20 is ready. If your STEM OPT application is pending at the time you change employers, we will also send an electronic notification to USCIS about the change. No additional action will be required from you.
- Ending Employment. You must notify OIS when ending a job. This includes unemployment due to being fired, furloughed, laid-off, resigning, or the otherwise being unemployed. You are also required to complete a final evaluation (page 5 of I-983) at the end of each STEM OPT employment. Please notify OIS about the end of your employment by sending an email to email@example.com with the subject line: “End of STEM OPT Employment.” In the email, please specify the name of the employer and the end date of your employment. Please submit the final evaluation via the STEM OPT Upload Center.
- STEM OPT Extension students are allowed up to 150 days of unemployment over the entire OPT period (post-completion and STEM Extension combined). See more details below.
- Changing Continuing Employment. You must notify OIS of any material changes to, or material deviations from, your formal training plan as documented on the I-983. Notify OIS of any of these material changes by submitting an updated I-983 through the STEM OPT Upload Center:
- Change in employer address
- 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.
Students who are granted the 24-month STEM extension of OPT can have up to 150 cumulative days of unemployment during the 36-month OPT period (the original 12-month OPT plus the 24-month STEM OPT extension). Not more than 90 days of unemployment can be used during the initial 12-month OPT, and an additional 60 days of unemployment are granted for STEM OPT. If, for example, you used 50 days of unemployment during your initial 12-month OPT, you will have 100 days of unemployment left for your STEM OPT extension.