New I-20, Filing STEM Extension online or Mailing Application Packet to USCIS

New I-20, Filing STEM Extension online or Mailing Application Packet to USCIS

* Attention! I-765 OPT or STEM Extension OPT filing fee increase: USCIS recently announced new fee increases that will go into effect April 1, 2024. Any applications submitted to USCIS on or after April 1, 2024, will need to include the new fee amounts or they will not be accepted by USCIS - Online Filing (F-1 OPT, STEM OPT Extension) will increase from $410 to $470 & Paper Filing will increase from $410 to $520.

Option 1) Online Filing with USCIS:

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced on April 12, 2021 that F-1 students seeking Optional Practical Training (OPT) and STEM OPT 24-month extension now have the option to file their applications online. Please click here for the full announcement.

Online filing is a simpler and more convenient process than mail filing, since the system allows you to submit your application with less required documents. This means you must be careful to ensure that everything is included before submitting the online application with USCIS. Please know that you must receive STEM OPT Extension recommendeed I-20 from CISP to complete online filing with USCIS. Do not complete your online filing before receiving your STEM Extension OPT recommended I-20. The general suggestions below are not intended to be legal advice. They are simply general suggestions for how you might proceed when completing the online I-765 application.

* Recommended Steps for Completing the I765 Application Online, if you want to file via online:

The online filing option allows F-1 students to apply for the STEM OPT Extension EAD, upload supporting application documents, pay the $410 filing fee, track the status of their application, communicate with USCIS through a secure inbox, and respond to Requests for Evidence (RFE).

First: Create your online USCIS account:

Second: From the student’s myUSCIS account, under File A Form, select “Application for Employment Authorization (I-765)”. For 24 month STEM OPT Extension, choose (C)(3)(C). Please know that it is the student’s responsibility to complete the Form I-765 application fully and accurately in accordance with USCIS instructions. Students may use the guide below for additional assistance.

Third: Students must have copies of the following documents ready to upload when filing the Form I-765 through myUSCIS:

¨ Recent passport-style 2x2 color photograph (JPG, JPEG, or PNG): Must comply with U.S. Department of State passport photograph requirements
¨ Copy of OPT EAD card AND copy of passport page that includes photo, passport number and expiration date (JPG, JPEG, PDF, TIF, TIFF): Passport must be valid for at least 6 months from application date
¨ Most recent electronic Form I-94 (JPG, JPEG, PDF, TIF, TIFF)
¨ Verification of Degree/Graduation (JPG, JPEG, PDF, TIF, TIFF): A copy of official transcript OR a copy of diploma showing degree earned and program of study will fulfill this requirement
¨ Signed STEM OPT Extension Recommended I-20 (all pages) (JPG, JPEG, PDF, TIF, TIFF): Student must print I-20 and sign the Student Attestation section in ink. Student must check the expiration date of their OPT EAD and Date Issued on Page 1 of their STEM OPT Extension I-20. If their application is received by USCIS after the expiration of the OPT EAD and/or more than 60 days after Date Issued on Page 1 of the STEM OPT Extension I-20, their STEM OPT Extension will be denied.

* The document below only applicable for students applying for STEM OPT Extension based on a prior degree, not CSU degree: 

¨ Institution Accreditation (JPG, JPEG, PDF, TIF, TIFF): Most students apply for STEM OPT Extension based on their most recently obtained degree from CSU. This upload does not apply to CSU graduates. If applying for STEM OPT Extension based on a prior degree, the student must upload the supplemental documents:

  1. Letter of Explanation from Student: This letter should explain student is applying based on a previously obtained degree, and include the date, student’s name, SEVIS ID, I-94 admission number, STEM-eligible degree name with CIP code, a list of the supporting documents being included for review, and the student’s wet signature.
  2. School Accreditation Approval Letter from Your Previous School (or alternate documentation of current accreditation): The accreditation information of you school can be found on the Higher Learning Commission website. Please print the action letter. Or contact your previous academic institution to verify how to obtain evidence of school accreditation.
  3. Proof of STEM-Eligible Prior Degree: Photocopy of I-20 for Previous Degree with STEM OPT Eligible CIP Code. This may be an I-20 from a previous school other than CSU.
  4. SEVP Certification Documentation from Your School or Here (must be currently certified):

Final Step: Filing Fee—Prior to submitting the Form I-765, the student will be prompted to complete the $470 filing fee payment online. Payment can be completed by electronic bank transfer or with a credit or debit card.


Option 2) Mailing your application packet to USCIS:

When you receive new STEM OPT Extension recommended I-20 from CISP advisor:

  • Sign the new I-20 at the bottom of page 1.
  • Photocopy after signing; you will send the photocopy, not the original I-20
  • Please email for all questions regarding STEM OPT.

Gather the following documents

  • Copy of Form I-20 with your signature and STEM Extension endorsement by your DSO (CISP adviser) (must arrive at USCIS within 60 days of issuance)
  • Form I-765 (Be sure to include your employer’s name as listed in E-Verify and E-Verify Company Identification Number or valid E-Verify Client Company Identification Number)
  • Job offer letters and pay stubs (Your Form I20 is not proof of employment)
  • Copy of your transcript
  • A copy of Form I-94 (which can be obtained at
  • A copy of your current EAD card (front and back)
  • 2 passport-style photos. Lightly write your name and I-94 number on the back of each photo. (Review number C. Photographs on page 25 of the “Required Documentation” section of USCIS photo instructions)
  • $520 I-756 Filling fee paid by money order, personal check, or cashier’s check. When you pay by check, you must make your check payable to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. (see website for more infomation Form I-765 filing fee )
  • Completed G-1145 Form (optional; it signs you up for email/text message notification of your application’s arrival at USCIS)
  • Note: the I-983 Training Plan does not need to be submitted to USCIS (unless USCIS requests a copy during STEM OPT extension processing). You should keep a copy of the plan for your own records, and CISP also keeps a copy.

Mail your application to USCIS

For the applications below:


F-1 Optional Practical Training (OPT)

NOTE: Do not write (c)(3)(i) as your category on your application. Use one of the following categories instead:

(c)(3)(A), Pre-completion OPT

(c)(3)(B), Post-completion OPT

(c)(3)(C), 24-month extension for an F-1 student who has received a degree in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM) that appears on the STEM designated Degree Program List published on the SEVP website

USCIS Chicago Lockbox

U.S. Postal Service (USPS):

PO Box 805373
Chicago, IL 60680

FedEx, UPS, and DHL deliveries:

Attn: I-765 C03 (Box 805373)
131 South Dearborn - 3rd Floor
Chicago, IL 60603-5517