Submit to USCIS and USCIS Processing

Submitting Your Application to USCIS

Once you receive your new STEM OPT I-20 from ISSO, you are ready to mail your application to USCIS.

  • You must first sign page one of the new I-20 then include a copy of this new I-20 with the rest of your OPT application that you submit to USCIS.
  • Make a copy of all application materials for your records and attach them using a paper clip.
  • Make sure to send your application via certified mail with a return receipt or tracking number.
  • Your OPT application must be received by USCIS within 60 days of the issuance of your new STEM OPT I-20.

The application and all of the required documentation must be sent to the appropriate USCIS Service Center Lockbox facility in Dallas, TX. or Phoenix, AZ.  Students must visit the USCIS website for the appropriate Lockbox facility address where they currently reside. 

USCIS Processing

Checking the Progress of Your OPT Application

Within 2 - 3 weeks, USCIS will send you a receipt notice (Form I-797). This is proof that USCIS has received your application. Make sure to check the spelling of your name. If you notice an error, notify USCIS National Customer Service Center immediately at the telephone number listed on the receipt notice. The receipt will also have your case number printed on it with which you can track the progress of your application on the USCIS website.

Request for Additional Documentation

Occasionally, a student will receive a Request for Further Evidence (RFE) from USCIS. These requests are typically because the application is missing a document or new photographs are required. If you receive such a request, reply immediately to USCIS with the requested documents. Be sure to make copies of your materials before you mail them, and send the reply by courier mail. If you do not understand the RFE or require assistance, please contact ISSO Adviser immediately.

EAD Delays

If you do not receive your EAD card within 90 days from the date immigration received your application, contact ISSO and we can check the status of your application. If you have applied to USCIS for your 24-month STEM extension and you have not received your new EAD by the end of your Post-Completion OPT, you may continue to work for up to 180 days after the end of your Post-Completion OPT. You should receive your new EAD before you reach 180 days.