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24-Month OPT Extension Request

Effective: May 10, 2016

Applying for a 24-Month OPT Extension

Step #1: Application processing

Required documents for the OPT STEM extension application:
To be submitted to the VIU International Student Services Department (ISS):

To be submitted to USCIS:

  • Completed and signed Form I-765
  • Check or money order for $380.00, made payable to “Dept. of Homeland Security” (do not send cash)
  • 2 color, U.S. passport-style photographs (write name, SEVIS ID, and I-94 number on back) – Photos should measure 2 inches by 2 inches
  • Copy of the front and back of your current OPT card
  • Copy of your diploma
  • Official transcript (Request made with the Registrar Department)
  • Transcript Request Form
  • Copy of your current I-94 record
  • Copy of your Passport identity page(s), and any renewal pages (ex. Entry stamps)
  • Copy of all previous I-20s
  • Copy of new I-20 from the ISS Department, with recommendation of OPT Extension (do not send the original)
    Note: OPT recommendation I-20 will not be issued until the ISS Department receives the OPT Extension Request Form, Updated Offer Letter, 24-Month OPT Extension Policy Acknowledgement Form, and Training Plan I-983

Step #2: Submitting your OPT Application to USCIS

Students applying for extensions of their OPT should submit their applications directly to USCIS. Please make sure of the following before submitting your applications:

  1. Be sure to sign your STEM OPT I-20 form when you receive it from the ISS Department (do not send the original).
  2. Make a copy of the entire application before you submit it to USCIS.
  3. Submit the application to the USCIS Lockbox with jurisdiction over the address you list on the I-765 form. Filing jurisdiction information can be found at
    Please Note:  Make sure to use a stable address on the I-765 Form. If you move while your application is being processed, mail from USCIS will not be forwarded by the Postal Service.


  • You may submit the STEM OPT application to USCIS within 120 days of your initial OPT expiration date.
  • Students that are currently on a 17-month extension, and have at least 150 calendar days remaining on their 17-month STEM OPT extension EADs, may be eligible to apply for an additional 7-months of OPT as of May 10th, 2016 through August 8th, 2016.
  • If a student has submitted an application for a 17-month OPT extension prior to May 10, 2016, and the application is still in the process of being adjudicated, DHS will apply the requirements of the 24-month STEM extension. These students will be issued Requests for Evidence (RFEs). The RFEs will allow students to effectively amend their application to demonstrate eligibility for a 24-month extension without incurring an additional fee or having to refile their EAD application.
  • If approved, VIU requires all students to submit a copy of their new updated EAD card (front and back), and their approval notice from USCIS, immediately.