Optional Practical Training (OPT) is an employment authorization benefit for F-1 students to gain practical experience in their field of study by working off-campus for a total of twelve months. The 12-month OPT can be obtained while school is in session, after completion of a degree program, and during the summer. An additional 24-month OPT extension can be applied for by students who complete a degree in a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) field.

Most students will use the After Graduation OPT Process. 

  • Pre-Completion OPT (Before Graduation)

    Pre-OPT is a work benefit opportunity to gain off-campus work experience and is requested to be used before the completion of a degree program (before graduation).

    • F-1 students are eligible for a total of 12 months of OPT per degree program (including all pre-or post-OPT time used).
    • Students must complete one full academic year (fall/spring or spring/fall) in their current degree program to be eligible to apply for pre-OPT.
    • Students must be registered at UWG for the semester they wish to pursue pre-OPT.
    • The proposed employment must be in the student’s field of study and commensurate with educational level.
    • Time requested and approved is subtracted in half from the full 12-month OPT benefit (e.g., 4 months of approved part-time pre-OPT subtracts 2 months of OPT, 2 months of approved part-time pre-OPT subtracts 1 month of OPT), except for full-time pre-OPT during the summer break.
    • Students may work up to 20 hours per week during the semester (part-time) and up to 40 hours per week during summer break (full-time).
    • A separate application and fee must be submitted for each semester.
    • Students are not authorized to work until they receive their EAD card in the mail.
    • Graduate students who have completed all course requirements (including all required thesis or dissertation hours), but will be in a continued registration course until their defense date, may apply for pre-OPT and will be authorized to work up to 40 hours per week.
    • Unemployment time is not a factor during pre-OPT. Reporting employment is not required.
    • If 12 months of full-time Curricular Practical Training (CPT) have been used, the student will not be eligible for Pre-OPT or Post-OPT
    • When to Apply for Pre-OPT
      When to Apply for Pre-OPT

      ISAP recommends applying for pre-OPT at least 104 days prior to your requested start date of employment. This will allow the ISAP 10 to 14 days to process your application and will allow USCIS their standard 90 days to process your application. 

       

    • How to Apply for Pre-OPT
      How to Apply for Pre-OPT  
      1. Fill out the OPT Application. Both sections 1 and 2 must be filled out before we can issue your new I-20. 
      2. Make an appointment with the ISAP office. We will review your OPT request form and assist you with putting together your OPT packet to mail to USCIS. 
      3. Read the Pre-OPT Appointment Section below and prepare the paperwork listed. 
    • Pre-OPT Appointment 
      Pre-OPT Appointment

      Bring the following information to your OPT appointment with the ISAP office: 

      • Complete the OPT Application 
      • Current and all previous I-20s
      • Passport
      • 2 Passport Style Photos (requirements can be found here)
      • Money order or personal check for $410.00 payable to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security
      • Previous EAD cards (if applicable)

      At your OPT appointment with the ISAP office, you will fill out two forms, receive a copy of your new I-20 with OPT recommendation, and discuss the mailing requirements to the USCIS office. 

    • Completed OPT Packets 
      Completed OPT Packets

      Before you mail off the OPT packet, and ISAP member will go over the required documents with you. Below is a list of the documents that will be included in your packet. 

      • Pre-OPT Application Checklist
      • Form G-1145
      • Form I-765 (completed in blue ink)
      • Personal check or money order for $410.00 (payable to U.S. Department of Homeland Security)
      • 2 Passport style photos (printed name and I-94 number on back)
      • Copy of most recent I-94 Record
      • Copy of OPT Recommendation I-20, signed by both DSO and student
      • Copies of all previous I-20s
      • Copy of biographical page and visa page of passport 
      • Copies of any previous EAD cards, if applicable 
    • What to Expect After Applying 
      What to Expect After Applying

      Students will receive a Notice of Action (i.e., receipt notice) from the USCIS within four weeks of filing the application. If you do not receive a receipt notice from the USCIS within four weeks, please email ISAP to follow up on your application status.

      The receipt number printed on the receipt notice will allow students to track their application progress using the USCIS website.

      • It takes approximately 90 days to process an OPT application.
      • If the application is still processing after 90 days, a case inquiry with USCIS regarding their delay in processing times can be submitted.

      The U.S. Post Office will not forward the EAD card to a new address, and will not mail the EAD card to the address on the I-765. If you have a new address, the address must be updated with the USCIS.

  • Post Completion OPT (After Graduation)

    Post-OPT is a work benefit opportunity that allows students to gain off-campus work experience and is requested to be used after the completion of a degree program.

    • F-1 students are eligible for a total of 12 months of OPT per degree program (pre- or post-OPT).
    • Post-OPT is requested after the completion of the student’s degree program.
    • The proposed employment must be in the student’s field of study and commensurate with educational level.
    • Students must work at least 20 hours per week.
    • Any approved part-time pre-OPT time will be deducted from the available post-OPT time in half if used during the semester, in full if used during the summer break.
    • Undergraduate students will use their commencement date as their degree program completion date for post-OPT.
    • Graduate students who have a determined project, thesis, or dissertation defense date will use that date as their degree program completion date for post-OPT.
    • Graduate students who have a comprehensive exam will use the comprehensive exam results date as their degree program completion date for post-OPT.
    • Students are not authorized to work until they receive their EAD card in the mail.
    • Students are allowed 90 days of cumulative unemployment during post-OPT and will lose their employment eligibility if they go beyond that amount.
    • If 12 months of full-time Curricular Practical Training (CPT) have been used, the student will not be eligible for Pre-OPT or Post-OPT.
    • When to Apply for OPT
      When to Apply for OPT

      Students can apply for OPT up to 90 days before they graduate or up to day 60 after they graduate. Applications must be received by USCIS before your 60 day grace period has ended, and your proposed OPT start date must also begin before the end of your 60 day grace period. 

       

      OPT Begin/End Dates 

      Please note that while your begin date must start before the end of your grace period, you cannot begin working until you physically have your EAD card. This means that if you receive your EAD card after your OPT start date, you are forfeiting those work days. 

      Also, the end date of your OPT cannot be extended because you receive your EAD card after the proposed start date. It is these reasons we recommend students apply for OPT early. 

    • How to Apply for Post-OPT
      How to Apply for Post-OPT
      1. Fill out the OPT Application. 
      2. Make an appointment with the ISAP office. We will review your OPT request form and assist you with putting together your OPT packet to mail to USCIS.
      3. Read the Post-OPT Appointment Section below and prepare the paperwork listed.
    • Post-OPT Appointment
      Post OPT Appointment

      Bring the following information to your OPT appointment with the ISAP office: 

      • Complete the OPT Application
      • Current and all previous I-20s
      • Passport
      • 2 Passport Style Photos (requirements can be found here)
      • Money order or personal check for $410.00 payable to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security
      • Previous EAD cards (if applicable)

      At your OPT appointment with the ISAP office, you will fill out two forms, receive a copy of your new I-20 with OPT recommendation, and discuss the mailing requirements to the USCIS office. 

    • Completed OPT Packets
      Completed OPT Packets

      Before you mail off the OPT packet, and ISAP member will go over the required documents with you. Below is a list of the documents that will be included in your packet. 

      • Post-OPT Application Checklist
      • Form G-1145
      • Form I-765 (completed in blue ink)
      • Personal check or money order for $410.00 (payable to U.S. Department of Homeland Security)
      • 2 Passport style photos (printed name and I-94 number on back)
      • Copy of most recent I-94 Record
      • Copy of OPT Recommendation I-20, signed by both DSO and student
      • Copies of all previous I-20s
      • Copy of biographical page and visa page of passport 
      • Copies of any previous EAD cards, if applicable 
    • What to Expect After Applying
      What to Expect After Applying

      Students will receive a Notice of Action (i.e., receipt notice) from USCIS within four weeks of filing the application. If a receipt notice from USCIS is not received within four weeks, please email ISAP to follow up on the matter.

      • The receipt number printed on the receipt notice will allow the student to track their application progress using the USCIS website.
      • It will take approximately 90 days to process the OPT application.
      • If the student’s application is still processing after 90 days, they may submit a case inquiry with USCIS regarding their delay in processing times.
      • The U.S. Post Office will not forward the EAD card to a new address, and will not mail the EAD card to the address on the I-765. If you have a new address, the address must be updated with USCIS.
    • Traveling While OPT is Pending
      Traveling While OPT is Pending

      Before the completion of your academic program, the usual procedures for travel still apply. After completion of your academic program, the guidance for travel is related to whether your OPT has been approved yet or not.

      If your post-completion OPT has not been approved and you do not have a job or a job offer, you may leave and then re-enter the U.S. to continue to look for employment.

      In order to have the best chance of re-entering the U.S. without problems when your post-completion OPT is pending, you should travel with the following documents:

      • Passport (valid for six months after you plan to re-enter the U.S)
      • Valid F-1 visa stamp in your passport (this requirement does not apply to Canadian citizens)
      • I-20 (with a travel signature no older than six months *)
      • I-765 receipt notice (Form I-797)
      • If you need to apply for a new F-1 visa when your post-completion OPT application is pending, you should also be sure to have your I-765 receipt notice (Form I-797) in addition to the usual documents required for a visa application.
    • Traveling After OPT is Approved 
      Traveling After OPT is Approved

      Before the completion of your academic program, the usual procedures for travel still apply. After completion of your academic program, the guidance for travel is related to whether your OPT has been approved yet or not.

      If your post-completion OPT has been approved (EAD card has been issued by USCIS) and you have a job or a job offer, you may leave and re-enter the U.S. in order to begin or resume employment. 

      After USCIS has issued an EAD card for post-completion OPT, in order to have the best chance of re-entering the U.S. without problems, you should be sure you have the following documents:

      • Passport (valid for six months after you plan to re-enter the U.S.)
      • Valid F-1 visa stamp in your passport (this requirement does not apply to Canadian citizens)
      • I-20 (with a valid travel signature no older than six months*)
      • EAD card
      • Evidence that you already have a job in the U.S. or that you have a job offer.
      • If you need to apply for a new F-1 visa, you should also be sure to have your EAD card and evidence that you already have a job in the U.S. or that you have a job offer in addition to the usual documents required for a visa application.

      * Regulations state that during post-completion OPT, the travel signature should be no older than six months. ISAP recommends while on post-completion OPT that you get a valid travel signature every six months. 

      Source: 8CFR214.2(f)(13)(ii)

      If a student who has an EAD card but does not yet have a job or a job offer leaves the US during the post-completion OPT period, OPT ends. Border officials might not allow someone in this situation to re-enter the U.S. Thus, students who do not have a U.S. job or a U.S. job offer but who plan to leave and re-enter the U.S. after their EAD card has been issued (their OPT has been approved by USCIS) are taking a risk.

    • Options After OPT
      Options After OPT

      You are allowed a 60-day grace period following your OPT expiration date to leave the U.S., change your status, transfer your F-1 to a new school, or pursue new degree program at UWG.

      Pursing an H1-B Visa 

      The H-1B visa status is a temporary, nonimmigrant, employer-specific category for professionals in specialty occupations in the USA. The H-1B employment authorization category applies to foreign workers of “distinguished merit and ability” who are brought to the United States temporarily to perform services in a “specialty occupation” which requires theoretical and practical application of a body of highly specialized knowledge.

      H1B Eligibility

      H1B visa is issued for a specialty occupation including but not limited to the fields of science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics, requires a theoretical and practical application of a body of such specialized knowledge and requires the visa holder to have a Bachelor's degree or its equivalent at a minimum. H-1B work-authorization is restricted to employment by the sponsoring employer. 

      H1B Visa Stamping & Interview

      Once the H1B petition is approved and a consequent visa interview with an applicable US consulate or embassy is successful you get the H1 visa stamp on your passport.

    • H1-B Cap Gap Extension
      H1-B Cap Gap Extension

      The H-1B cap-gap extension allows F-1 students currently on post-completion OPT to continue working if they have a timely-filed H-1B petition requesting change of status and an employment start date of October 1 (the first day of the following fiscal year). An automatic cap-gap extension of an F-1 student's duration of status also applies to the duration of status of the student's dependents in F-2 status.

      "Cap-gap" has become the common term used to refer to the "gap" in nonimmigrant status that occurs in a change of status to H-1B, when a student's current nonimmigrant status expires before the requested H-1B start date. 

      For example, an F-1 student with an post-completion OPT end date of June 30 will have duration of status for 60 days beyond that, until August 30. The gap between August 30 and October 1 is a "cap-gap." 

      Who qualifies for an H-1B cap-gap extension?

      Students must have a timely-filed H-1B petition while the student's authorized F-1 duration of status (D/S) admission was still in effect. This includes:

      1. Students working on post-completion OPT with an end date on or later than April 1 and have a timely-filed H-1B petition. Students on post-completion OPT may continue to work until 9/30 until the H1B begins on 10/1.
      2. Students who are currently in their grace period with a timely-filed H-1B petition. These students may stay in the U.S. until the H-1B begins on 10/1, but are not eligible to work during this time.

      The student must not have violated the terms or conditions of his or her F-1 status.

      Is there an application or fee for the cap-gap extension?
      No. The extension is automatically recorded on your SEVIS record.

      How do I get an updated I-20 showing the cap-gap extension?
      You may request a cap-gap extension I-20 from ISAP to present to your employer. You will be required to upload a copy of a receipt notice from USCIS showing that your application for the H1-B was filed in a timely manner and is being adjudicated. Within five business days, an international student advisor will process your request.

      Do I have to have a new I-20 showing the cap-gap extension?
      No. The cap-gap extension is automatic as long as you have timely-filed H-1B petition. However, some employers request evidence of work authorization or you may be applying for benefits (i.e. renewing a drivers license) that may require a reprint.

    • Grace Periods & Early Completion or Change of Status 
      Grace Periods & Early Completion or Change of Status 

      If you decide to leave the US before your OPT expiration date, please report to the ISAP so that we can update your record accordingly. This update will invalidate your OPT employment authorization and your OPT I-20 and EAD card will be no longer valid.
      If you change your status before your OPT expiration date, please report to the ISAP so that we can update your record accordingly.

  • STEM Extension

    The 24-Month STEM OPT Extension is an additional benefit from United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) that allows international students in F-1 status who receive a bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degree in an approved STEM field to apply for a 24-month extension of their standard 12-month Post-OPT period, twice in a lifetime. This allows international students, the opportunity to gain additional off-campus work experience in their field of study after completion of course studies.

    • F-1 student must currently be participating in a 12-month OPT, working for a U.S. employer in a job directly related to your major area of study.
    • F-1 student must have successfully completed a bachelor's, master’s, or doctoral program, or have completed all course requirements for a master’s or doctoral program but are still completing a thesis or dissertation in a STEM field included in the STEM Designated Degree Program List. To find out if your program is in the STEM list, look for the CIP code on your I-20 under the section entitled PROGRAM OF STUDY listed under MAJOR.
    • F1 student prospective employer must be registered with the eVerify Employment Verification System.
    • Students must work at least 20 hours per week.
    • With the new 24-month STEM extension ruling of May 10, 2016, volunteer, unpaid, staffing agency, labor for-hire arrangements, or self-employment positions are not eligible for STEM OPT extensions.  Read Federal Register for more information on the new ruling.  
    • Students are allowed 150 days of cumulative unemployment days during the post-OPT and STEM OPT 24-Month Extension periods. Periods of unemployment occur when students have a valid EAD card and are allowed to work but are not working. Student will lose their employment eligibility if they go beyond that amount.
    • When to Apply for STEM OPT Extension 
      When to Apply for STEM OPT Extension

      ISAP recommends applying for STEM extension at least 95 days prior to the OPT end date listed on the EAD card.  This will allow the ISAP 5 days to process and will allow USCIS their standard 90 days to process.

      • STEM extension applications must be received by USCIS before the end date listed on the EAD card or the STEM extension will be forfeited.
      • Students will be able to continue employment while the STEM extension application is pending, until a final decision on the I-765 has been made or for 180 days, whichever comes first.
    • How to Apply for a STEM OPT Extension
      How to Apply for a STEM OPT Extension

      1. Submit the following materials to the ISAP office. 

      • Form I-983 completed by both you and your employer. Use the link to the right to get a prefilled form, or input the information below: 
          • DSO Contact Name and Information: Brandy Rivera brivera@westga.edu 1601 Maple Street, Carrollton, GA 30118
          • SEVIS School Code of School Recommending STEM OPT: ATL214F00247000
      • A copy of your current passport biography page and visa (must be valid for at least 6 months into the future.)
      • Copy of your most recent I-94 record.
      • Copies of all prior Employment Authorization Document (EAD) cards, front and back. 

      2. Request official transcripts through the Registrar's Office. 

      Transcripts are processed by the Enrollment Services Center and they are available through the following ordering methods:

      • myUWG (currently enrolled students only)
      • BanWeb (currently enrolled students or former students that have attended UWG since 1998)
      • Clearinghouse (former students that have not attended UWG since 1998, any student requesting an official transcript in PDF form)

      Instructions can be found HERE

      3. Make arrangements to receive your STEM OPT I-20

      • The ISAP office will send you an email detailing any information you need to add to your application. We will also make arrangements with you on how you want to receive your new I-20 during this time. 
      • After reviewing the material listed above the International Student Admissions & Programs Office will make a recommendation for STEM OPT in SEVIS and prepare an I-20 indicating the recommendation for STEM OPT extension, located on Page 3 of I-20 form.

      4. Submit your STEM OPT Extension Application to USCIS

      • Once you receive your new I-20, submit the application to USCIS as soon as possible. USCIS must receive the application no later than 60 days after the issuance of the new I-20. Additionally, the application must also be received before the end of the 12-month OPT expiration date. See the next section for a complete list of everything that should be included for your STEM OPT Extension packet. 
      • Send a copy of your EAD card to the ISAP office. You can upload this to our website. westga.edu/isap/opt
      • Be sure not note all of the check in dates that you are required to complete. We will send a copy of your I-983 back to you for your records.
    • Completing the I-983
      Completing the I-983

      A pre-filled document is on our HERE. You can also find detailed instructions about the training plan on this website.

      Use the information below to help fill out the I-983. 

       

      UWG I-983 Form 
      I-983 Question  Input 
      Student Name  Enter your name as it appears on your I-20
      Student Email Address Enter the best email to contact you. 
      Name of School Recommending STEM OPT University of West Georgia 
      Name of School Where STEM Degree was earned University of West Georgia 
      SEVIS Code of School Recommending STEM OPT ATL214F00247000
      DSO Name and Contact Information 

      Brandy Rivera

      brivera@westga.edu

      1601 Maple Street, Carrollton, GA 30118

      Student SEVIS ID Number Located at the top of your I-20. Begins with N00
      STEM OPT Requested Period  Put the day AFTER your 12-month OPT ends. 
      Qualifying Major & Classification of Instructional Programs (CIP) Code Look in the "Program of Study" box on your I-20 to find the CIP code. 
      Level/Type of Qualifying Degree Enter your degree type: Bachelors, Masters, or PhD
      Date Awarded  Graduation Date 
      Based on Prior Degree Check "no"
      Employment Authorization Number  Enter the number on your EAD card 
      Student Certification  Read and sign 
      Employer Information (Completed by the Employer)
      Employer Name  Enter the name as it appears on eVerify 
      Address Enter mailing address
      Employer Website URL Enter website. If they do not have one, enter N/A
      Employer ID Number (EIN) Enter Employer Identification Number 
      Number of Full-Time Employees in the United States  # of full time employees currently in the USA
      North American Industry Classification System (NACIS) Code NACIS codes can be found HERE
      OPT Training Hours Per Week  Number of hours the students works per week. Must be a minimum of 20. 
      Start Date of Employment  Date the students will start the OPT STEM extension training 
      Compensation  Dollar amount the students earns and frequency of pay
      Employer Certification  Read and sign 
       
         
         

      UWG I-983 Form 

      • I-983 Question : Student Name 
        Input : Enter your name as it appears on your I-20

      • I-983 Question : Student Email Address
        Input : Enter the best email to contact you. 

      • I-983 Question : Name of School Recommending STEM OPT
        Input : University of West Georgia 

      • I-983 Question : Name of School Where STEM Degree was earned
        Input : University of West Georgia 

      • I-983 Question : SEVIS Code of School Recommending STEM OPT
        Input : ATL214F00247000

      • I-983 Question : DSO Name and Contact Information 
        Input :

        Brandy Rivera

        brivera@westga.edu

        1601 Maple Street, Carrollton, GA 30118


      • I-983 Question : Student SEVIS ID Number
        Input : Located at the top of your I-20. Begins with N00

      • I-983 Question : STEM OPT Requested Period 
        Input : Put the day AFTER your 12-month OPT ends. 

      • I-983 Question : Qualifying Major & Classification of Instructional Programs (CIP) Code
        Input : Look in the "Program of Study" box on your I-20 to find the CIP code. 

      • I-983 Question : Level/Type of Qualifying Degree
        Input : Enter your degree type: Bachelors, Masters, or PhD

      • I-983 Question : Date Awarded 
        Input : Graduation Date 

      • I-983 Question : Based on Prior Degree
        Input : Check "no"

      • I-983 Question : Employment Authorization Number 
        Input : Enter the number on your EAD card 

      • I-983 Question : Student Certification 
        Input : Read and sign 

      • I-983 Question : Employer Information (Completed by the Employer)

      • I-983 Question : Employer Name 
        Input : Enter the name as it appears on eVerify 

      • I-983 Question : Address
        Input : Enter mailing address

      • I-983 Question : Employer Website URL
        Input : Enter website. If they do not have one, enter N/A

      • I-983 Question : Employer ID Number (EIN)
        Input : Enter Employer Identification Number 

      • I-983 Question : Number of Full-Time Employees in the United States 
        Input : # of full time employees currently in the USA

      • I-983 Question : North American Industry Classification System (NACIS) Code
        Input : NACIS codes can be found HERE

      • I-983 Question : OPT Training Hours Per Week 
        Input : Number of hours the students works per week. Must be a minimum of 20. 

      • I-983 Question : Start Date of Employment 
        Input : Date the students will start the OPT STEM extension training 

      • I-983 Question : Compensation 
        Input : Dollar amount the students earns and frequency of pay

      • I-983 Question : Employer Certification 
        Input : Read and sign 

      • I-983 Question :  

      • I-983 Question :  
        Input :  

      • I-983 Question :  
        Input :  

       

    • Completed STEM OPT Extension Packets
      Completed STEM OPT Extension Packets
      • Form G-1145
      • Form I-765 (completed in blue ink)
      • Copies of current and previous I-20s (including your new STEM OPT I-20)
      • Proof of degree (official transcripts are recommended)
      • A copy of your current passport biography page and visa (must be valid for at least 6 months into the future.)
      • Copy of your most recent I-94 record.
      • Copies of all prior Employment Authorization Document (EAD) cards, front and back.
      • 2 Passport-style photos (print name and I-94 number on back in pencil)
      • Money order or check for $410, payable to U.S. Department of Homeland Security
      • Copies of all previous EAD cards
      USCIS Mailing Address and Instructions 

      If you are in one of the following states, use the address below: 

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

      US POSTAL SERVICE ADDRESS

      USCIS

      P.O. Box 660867

      Dallas, TX 75266

      EXPRESS MAIL & COURIER SERVICES 

      USCIS

      ATTN: AOS

      2501 S. State Highway 121 Business

      Suite 400

      Lewisville, TX 75067

      If the state you put on the Form I-765 is not on this list, refer to the different mailing instructions for F-1 OPT applications in the I-765 Instructions

    • What to Expect After Applying 
      What to Expect After Applying 

      Students will receive a Notice of Action (i.e., receipt notice) from USCIS within four weeks of filing the application. If a receipt notice from USCIS is not received within four weeks, please email ISAP to follow up on the matter.

      • The receipt number printed on the receipt notice will allow the student to track their application progress using the USCIS website.
      • It will take approximately 90 days to process the OPT application.
      • If the student’s application is still processing after 90 days, they may submit a case inquiry with USCIS regarding their delay in processing times.
      • Generally, USCIS will mail EAD card to the address on the I-765. If you requested the U.S. Post Office for mail forwarding, the USCIS mail including EAD card will not be forwarded to the new address.
      • If you have a new address after you submitted I-765 to USCIS, please update your new address with USCIS via https://www.uscis.gov/ar-11 and update your information with the ISAP office. 
    • Tips for STEM OPT Extensions 
      Tips for STEM OPT Extensions 
      • Sign the STEM OPT I-20 on page 1, under Student Attestation.
      • Fill out and sign the I-765 in blue ink and between two lines only (Do not touch the signature line below or words above when signing. USCIS will scan the signature to put it onto the EAD card).
        Include two passport-style, color photos with a white background taken no earlier than 30 days before submitting to USCIS (follow the instructions on the I-765).
      • Lightly print the student’s name and I-94 admission number on the back of each passport-style photo with a pencil. Do not staple them together.
      • Fill out a personal check or money order. Including the date, payable to the Department of Homeland Security and write the amount in numbers ($410.00) and words (four hundred ten dollars and 00/100), and must be signed.
      • Follow the mailing instructions and checklist provided by ISAP when picking up the STEM OPT packet.
      • If a change of address is unavoidable, you must inform the USCIS and ISAP of the new address by filing an online change of address with USCIS. Also update your address at MyUWG.

      If for any reason you receive your materials back from USCIS or the postal/shipping service, do not resend the materials. Double check the signature dates on the I-20 and contact ISAP immediately if you need a new or updated form I-20 for the resubmission of the application.

      I-765 application should be resent no later than 20 days after the ISAP signature on the I-20.

    • Maintaining F-1 Status While on STEM OPT Extension
      Maintaining F-1 Status While on STEM OPT Extension

      While on 24-Month OPT STEM Extension, students must continue to maintain F-1 status and STEM OPT complete reporting requirements by doing the following:

      • Submit a copy of the EAD card, report student information changes, and report employment status to ISAP.
      • Do not exceed the 150 day aggregate period of cumulative unemployment allowed during the post-OPT/STEM OPT
      • Extension periods (periods of unemployment occur when students have a valid EAD card and are allowed to work but are not working).
      • Report to the ISAP within 10 days any changes in name, address, employer’s name and address, and updated status or interruption of employment.
      • Update LOCAL address through MyUWG within 10 days of move.
        When changing employment while on a 24-month OPT STEM Extension, students must submit a new Form I-983 from the new employer to ISAP.
      • Report to ISAP every six months to verify current address and employment information.
      • Complete two self-evaluations during the course of their 24-Month OPT STEM Extension period, which are on page 5 of the Form I-983.
      • The first one within 12 months of the STEM OPT start date and a second at the end of the STEM OPT period. Evaluations must be signed by the student and their immediate supervisor, and then submitted to ISAP. 
      • Check MyUWG and your UWG email account on a regular basis for immigration updates.
    • Grace Periods & Early Completion or Change of Status 
      Grace Periods & Early Completion or Change of Status 

      If you decide to leave the US before your OPT expiration date, please report to the ISAP so that we can update your record accordingly. This update will invalidate your STEM OPT employment authorization and your STEM OPT I-20 and EAD card will be no longer valid.
      If you change your status before your OPT expiration date, please report to the ISAP so that we can update your record accordingly.