STEM OPT FAQs Address Issues, EAD Issues, IPO Mail

What if I move while my STEM OPT is pending at USCIS?

The U.S. Postal Service WILL NOT forward mail from the USCIS!  It is extremely important that the address you put on the I-765 application form be valid for the next several months. You can consider using a friend or relative’s address if your name is on their mailbox. You can also consider using the IPO address: C/O IPO, UMass Amherst, 70 Butterfield Terrace, Amherst, MA 01003 (please note that IPO is not responsible for mailing errors/delays that are not the fault of the IPO).

If you need to change your address while your application is pending you must do so directly with USCIS. You should also update your address in SPIRE.

I used the IPO as my mailing address with USCIS. How do I get my EAD and approval document?

Once the IPO actually has received your EAD and approval documents you will receive an email notification from us. Please be mindful that while tracking may say it’s delivered, that doesn’t mean the IPO has it in our possession yet. Please wait until we contact you with next steps. You may either pick it up from the IPO (by appointment only) or set up an eShip so we can mail it to you.

I lost my EAD, can I continue to work?

You may continue to work as your employment authorization is not impacted until the expiration of the lost/stolen EAD. You must apply for a replacement EAD as soon as possible.  A replacement EAD takes 3-4 months and requires the USCIS fee. You must file a replacement application, with a new I-765 and filing fee plus the documents noted in the STEM OPT I-20 Request Process above (you do not need to do submit the STEM OPT I-20 E-Form or I-983 again).

If you need to change employers while waiting for a replacement, you will need to show different documentation during your I-9 process since you don’t have your EAD. Work directly with your employer’s Human Resources as there are documents they can temporarily accept in lieu of an EAD.

My EAD never arrived in the mail, can I work when my start date arrives with my receipt notice?

You may NOT begin working until you have the physical EAD in hand, even if the start date has passed. In rare cases, a card can be lost in the mail. Note that USCIS does not make a duplicate of your EAD card so the one mailed to you is the only copy. If your card shows as delivered but you do not have it, check with your local post office, your landlord, roommates, neighbors, etc., to make sure the card is really lost and not delivered to the wrong person or returned to the post office. Submit a lost card notice to USCIS and they will determine if it was returned to them already and sent to their Undeliverable Mail Office.

If the card was not returned to USCIS or found by the local post office, etc. the only way to get another EAD is to file a replacement application, with a new I-765 and filing fee plus the documents noted in the STEM OPT I-20 Request Process above (you do not need to do the STEM OPT I-20 E-form or I-983 again). While waiting for a replacement, you will need to show different documentation during your I-9 process since you don’t have your EAD. Work directly with your employer’s Human Resources as there are documents they can temporarily accept in lieu of an EAD.

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