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).


As you make your travel plans, please remember to keep travel restrictions, quarantines, negative test/vaccine documentation, airline obligations, and visa requirements in mind. You should also note the visa appointment availability due to consulate backlogs and closings prior to making any travel decision (if your visa is expiring soon/expired).

STEM OPT USCIS Application Submission by Mail

Per I-765 instructions, you must be physically in the U.S. at the time you submit your application to USCIS. If you choose to travel after this, please review our STEM OPT Travel information below. Updated immigration and reopening info are available here.

Step 1. Receive the STEM OPT I-20 from the IPO. Follow the STEM OPT I-20 Request Process above.

Step 2. Prepare your application documents

STEM OPT Considerations

  • USCIS must receipt your STEM OPT application no later than 60-days from the issuance of your STEM OPT I-20 form AND before your 12-month OPT expires. If your application is returned to you, consult with an IPO advisor to determine if you need a new I-20.
  • STEM OPT applications generally take 3-5 months to approve. You are eligible to work for 180 days when your STEM is pending from the 12-month OPT expiration date as long your application was received by the 12-month OPT expiration date.


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