University of Massachusetts Amherst

OPT 17-Month Extension Information

F-1 students are eligible for the 17-month OPT extension ONCE during their lifetime regardless of their degree level. 

 

ELIGIBILITY:

  • You have been approved for the initial 12 months of post completion OPT
  •  Your primary major/field is a STEM field: http://www.ice.gov/sevis/stemlist.htm
  • Your employer is enrolled in the E-verify program
  • You have a job or a job offer of at least 20 hr/wk that is paid

 

IMPORTANT NOTE:

Any OPT is automatically terminated when a student transfers to another school or begins study at another educational level. 

Students who timely file an application for the 17-month OPT extension will be able to continue employment while the extension application is pending, until USCIS makes a final decision on the I-765 application or for 180 days, whichever comes first.

 

APPLICATION TIME FRAME

USCIS recommends that you file for the OPT extension 90-120 days PRIOR TO YOUR CURRENT OPT END DATE.  ABSOLUTE DEADLINE: Must be received by USCIS before the current 12 month OPT end date.

 

APPLICATION PROCEDURE

1)       Complete Form I-765  – Fill out the form on-line and then print:

·         For question 16 on the I-765, enter (c) (3) (C).

·         For question 17, enter the name of the degree as shown on I-20.  Enter the Employer’s name as listed in E-verify and also the E-verify Identification number.

2)       Write a personal check for $380 payable to or Department of Homeland Security.

3)       Complete the OPT address information form with current employment information and personal contact information. 

4)       Bring a “copy of your degree”.  This should be the official/unofficial transcripts (which must include your program of study), and a copy of your diploma (which will state the degree level). 

5)       Obtain 2 photographs, per specification on M-603.  You can have your photographs taken on-campus at the UCard office (545-0197) in Room 168 Whitmore Administration Building ($10 for 2 photos). 

6)       Bring all of the above to the International Programs Office along with copies of your bio/demo page from your valid passport, current Form I-20, your EAD card and I94 (arrival and departure) card front and back. 

7)       An advisor will review your documents and provided you meet the eligibility requirements, will issue a new I-20 with the OPT extension. (send copy)

Mail the items 1, 2, 4, 5 listed above along with a copy of your 12 month OPT card,  copy of NEW OPT extension I-20 and all previously issued I-20s.  See page 10 of Form I765 for USCIS Dallas Lockbox facility address.

If your employer changes while your OPT extension is pending, send new I765 with new E-verify #, referencing your case/receipt # to the Dallas Lockbox facility address.  No fee required for this request. 

It is the student’s responsibility to report OPT participation every 6 months to IPO.  If your employer has changed, fill out the I765 and the OPT address form and send to IPO.