OPT Extension

OPT Extension Application Instructions


Please be sure to submit the following documents for your OPT Extension to the Administrative Office:

    • OPT Request Form and Filing Fee of $55
    • OPT Hiring Letter (most current employer) - Please follow the sample OPT letter. [Link to the OPT Sample Letter]
    • If you have worked for more than one employer, include the name(s) and address(es) of previous employers, and your job start dates and end dates.- $380 check or money order payable to "U.S. Department of Homeland Security" (Do not postdate your check. The date format for your - check should be as follows: month/day/year)
    • Two passport style photos (for your EAD card) - Photos must be taken recently!
    • Photocopy of Masters Degree and Official Transcript. Fill out the Transcript Request Form [Link to Transcript Request Form]
    • Photocopy of your I-94
    • Photocopy of your last EAD (front and back)
    • Photocopy of Passport
    • Photocopy of Visa Page
    • Photocopy of State Issued ID
    • Photocopy of LIN Receipt # (Mailed along with your EAD card)
    • Completed G-1145 form optional; it signs you up for email/text message notification of your application’s arrival at USCIS)

Please allow one week for processing. The Administrative Office will issue a new I-20 with a recommendation for the OPT extension.

Regulations to Maintain Status on OPT STEM Extension

For further information on SEVP Policy on OPT, please review the official policy guidelines: http://www.ice.gov/doclib/sevis/pdf/opt_policy_guidance_042010.pdf

General

  • Your OPT work authorization is automatically extended when the USCIS receives your application for extension up to 180 days.
  • You can continue working in the U.S. up to 180 days while the application is pending, even though your EAD may have expired.
  • You can change employers during the 17-month extension, but that employer must also be enrolled in E-Verify.
  • Once STEM OPT begins, you must validate your employment and address information every six months at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. AND within 10 days of any changes in order to maintain legal status.
  • Travel while your 17-month extension application is pending is not allowed. KSI advises students not to travel until STEM Extension application is approved and a new EAD card has been received.

Unemployment Allowance


Each day a student is not working during the OPT authorization period counts as a day of unemployment. The only exception is that periods of up to 10 days between the end of one job and the beginning of the next job will not be included in the calculation for time spent unemployed.

  • Students on OPT are allowed up to 90 days of unemployment. Students who receive a 17-month extension are given an additional 30 days of unemployment for a total of 120 days over their entire post-completion OPT period.
  • Travel outside of the United States while unemployed will count as unemployment against the 90/120-day limits.
  • If a student travels while employed either during a period of leave authorized by an employer or as part of their employment, the time spent outside the United States will not count as unemployment.
  • Address / Employer Updates within 10 days

The following information must be reported to The Administrative Office at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. during the STEM OPT period of authorization. You are required to update the following information within 10 days of any changes:

  • Legal Name Changes
  • A change in residential address, phone or email
  • Changes in Employer including new E-Verify Employer name and address
  • Start Date of Employment
  • Loss of employment
  • Date of exiting the U.S (if you exit the U.S. prior to the end date of your OPT with no intent to return & resume OPT)

6-Month Validation Report


In addition to reporting any changes within 10 days, students on OPT STEM must also submit a “Validation Report” every six months starting from the date the extension starts and ending when the student’s F-1 status ends or the extension ends, whichever is first. Report to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and include the address and employer information. Students must also fill out the OPT Extension Check Up Form. (include link to OPT Extension Check Up Form)

Employer’s Reporting Requirement

When your employment is terminated for any reason, the employer is required to notify the Administrative Office. You must Inform your employer of the reporting requirements at the end of your employment. Ask them to email the Office at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with the following text in the subject line of the email:
“OPT Employment Termination.” The information below must be included in the email message:

Student-employee’s name
Student’s SEVIS ID number (if available)
Start and end date of OPT employment

Link OPT Extension Form: OPT Extension Request Form and FAQs.pdf