STEM OPT Extension

Recipients of Bachelor’s, Master’s, and Doctoral degrees in certain STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) fields from accredited and SEVIS-approved US institutions of higher education may be eligible for an extension of post-completion OPT. The STEM Extension application is adjudicated by United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

NOTE: If you are currently a student or just graduated and are applying within your grace period, you cannot apply directly for the STEM OPT Extension: only those currently in their 12-month OPT authorization period, with a qualifying STEM degree, and working for an e-verified employer may apply for the STEM extension.

On March 11, 2016, The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) published the Final Rule "Improving and Expanding Training Opportunities for F-1 Nonimmigrant Students with STEM Degrees and Cap-Gap Relief for All Eligible F-1 Students" The final rule can be found here. STEM Extension regulations changed considerably on May 10, 2016. Please visit the DHS Study In The States website for additional information and to view the Transition Plan implemented with the Final Rule.

The 24-month STEM OPT regulations became effective beginning May 10, 2016.

Summary of the Final Rule

The following is a brief summary of the Final Rule "Improving and Expanding Training Opportunities for F-1 Nonimmigrant Students with STEM Degrees and Cap-Gap Relief for All Eligible F-1 Students".

The final rule can be found here.

  • The STEM Extension is lengthened from 17 months to 24 months.
  • Students may qualify for two STEM extensions per lifetime with successive higher education levels.
  • Students may base the extension application on an approved STEM degree previously earned as long as it was earned from a currently accredited and currently SEVIS-approved U.S. institution of higher learning.
  • There is a Transition Plan for pending or approved 17 month STEM extension beneficiaries.
  • There are extended reporting and training obligations for students and their employers.
  • There are additional documentation requirements.
  • The maximum number of days of unemployment for the entire 36 months is extended to 150 days (with the maximum number of days during the initial 12 months of Post-Completion OPT still 90 days).
  • The rule maintains the Cap-Gap Provision.
  • The rule maintains the minimum 20 hours per week employment safeguard.
  • Self-Employment and/or Volunteering no longer qualify under the 24 month STEM Extension.
  • The student may not be the sole-proprietor of the business you will be employed by
  • The student must be employed by the employer who will develop and supervise the training plan and who the student will be providing services to.  The employer that signs the training plan must be the same entity that employs the student and provides the practical training experience.  Agencies, and Work For Hire arrangements do not qualify.

Who is Eligible to Apply for the STEM Extension?

The F-1 student must:
  • Be in valid F-1 status
  • Be currently on an approved period of standard Post-Completion Optional Practical Training
  • Be a recipient of a Bachelor’s, Master’s, or Doctoral degree from accredited and SEVIS-approved US institutions of higher education in a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) field listed on the official STEM-Designated Degree Program List 
    • The CIP code is found on:
      • Old Format I-20s: at the top of page 3 of the I-20, next to “Primary Major”
      • New Format I-20s: on page 1 of the I-20, after the name of your major
    • Your CIP code cannot be changed, regardless of whether you think it should be considered STEM.
  • Be employed by or have an offer letter related to the student's field of study from an employer who is participating in the USCIS E-Verify program
  • Must be employed by the employer who will develop and supervise the training plan and who you will be providing services to. The employer that signs the training plan must be the same entity that employs the student and provides the practical training experience
  • Apply before the end date of your current 12-month OPT expiration date

The employer must:

  • Be enrolled in E-Verify
  • Have a Employer Identification Number
  •  Guarantee that the student will complete a minimum of 20 hours per week and provide the student with formal training and learning objectives related to the student's qualifying STEM degree
  • Agree to the terms of STEM OPT

What is E-Verify?

E-Verify is an Internet-based system that compares information from your Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, to Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Social Security Administration (SSA), and Department of State (DOS) records to confirm that you are authorized to work in the United States.

A list of employers who have self-reported participation in E-Verify is maintained by USCIS but students are advised to confirm with employers directly regarding eligibility.

Though participation in E-Verify is required of some employers, most employers participate voluntarily. It is free for employers. If your company wants to participate in E-Verify, see the DHS web site. 

When to Apply for STEM

For the 24-month STEM Extension:

Students who qualify under the OPT STEM Extension and who are currently in an initial 12 month period of Post Completion OPT should consider the following points when applying for the 24-month STEM Extension:

  • STEM OPT applications can be submitted as early as 90 days before the expiration date of the current period of OPT
  • Application materials must be submitted to Purdue ISS a minimum of one month before the expiration date of the current period of OPT
  • USCIS must receive your STEM OPT extension application before your current 12-month OPT EAD card expiration date
  • Take into consideration the length of time involved in preparing application documents yourself and with your employer, as well as giving sufficient time for mailing application documents

You may wish to use this STEM OPT Timeline Calculator to assist in  your planning. (Opens in Excel.)

How to Apply for the STEM Extension

Step 1: Determine Your Eligibility

Please see the “Who is Eligible to Apply for the STEM Extension” section above to determine your eligibility for the STEM extension.

Step 2: Review STEM OPT Extension regulations

Review the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) new STEM OPT Hub.

Review the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services’ (USCIS) Optional Practical Training Extension for STEM Students (STEM OPT).

Step 3: Update all personal and employment information

Log in to myISS and navigate to the “OPT Reporting” e-form group in the “F-1 Optional Practical Training” category.

Use this e-form group to report all changes to personal and employment information within 10 days. You must inform ISS each and every time your information changes. Also use this e-form to periodically validate information while on OPT. Use the following e-forms to report: 

Upload an OPT-Related Document

  • Receipt Notice
  • Approval Notice
  • EAD
  • Job Offer Letter

Reporting Post-Completion OPT Employment Information

(e-form appears only once on active period of OPT)

  • Starting employment with new employer
  • Employer name change
  • Work location change 
  • Supervisor change 
  • Job title and job description change 
  • Changes in full-time vs part-time employment

Report Employment End Date

(e-form appears only once on active period of OPT)

  • Report the end date of employment

REQUIRED: Personal Information on OPT

  • Legal name 
  • Living address
  • Phone number
  • Email 

Note: it is required to submit this form in order to submit the e-form group.

REQUIRED: Finalize your OPT Report

Note: to submit your request fully to ISS, you must submit this e-form. If you do not submit this e-form, ISS will not be notified of any of your update requests. You will receive an email confirmation once you have successfully submitted the e-form group. 

Note: you do not need to wait until your information is updated before proceeding to the application e-form. All e-forms will be processed at the same time.

Step 4: Submit “Apply for STEM OPT Extension” e-form

Log into myISS at https://connect.iss.purdue.edu, find the F-1 Optional Practical Training section, and select the “Apply for STEM OPT Extension” e-form.

How to Log In to myISS:

If you still have an active Purdue student account:

  1. Go to https://connect.iss.purdue.edu/
  2. Log in with "Full Client Services for Students & Scholars" by clicking the blue login button in the left box on the main page. 
  3. Enter your Purdue Career Account ID and password.
  4. Expand the appropriate section on the left-hand side of the screen.
  5. Click the appropriate link and follow instructions in the e-form.

If you are no longer enrolled or engaged in activity at Purdue:

  1. Go to https://connect.iss.purdue.edu/
  2. Log in with "Limited Services for Students & Scholars" by clicking "Limited Services" in the right box on the main page.
  3. First time users:
    • If it is your first time accessing myISS, you will need to request a PIN. Click the "E-mail me my Limited Access PIN" button.
    • Enter your PUID. USE ONLY ONE ZERO of your PUID. Do not enter dashes. You will enter a 9-digit number. Ex. 012345678
    • An email with the PIN will be sent to the email address Purdue ISS has on file for you. Be sure to check your spam folder. Contact ISS if you do not receive an email - we may not have a valid email address on file for you. Keep record of your PIN!
    • After you have received the PIN, navigate back to the Login page, enter your PUID (ONLY 9 DIGITS - DO NOT ENTER THE FIRST ZERO), your date of birth, and the PIN.
    • Expand the appropriate section on the left-hand side of the screen.
    • Click the appropriate link and follow instructions in the e-form.
  4. Returning users:
    • Enter your PUID (ONLY 9 DIGITS - DO NOT ENTER THE FIRST ZERO), your date of birth, and the PIN.
    • Expand the appropriate section on the left-hand side of the screen.
    • Click the appropriate link and follow instructions in the e-form.

Carefully read through the different Scenarios in the “Apply for STEM OPT Extension" e-form group and choose the one appropriate to your situation. Follow instructions to upload all required documents in order to request your OPT I-20.

Depending on your Scenario, you will need to upload copies of some or all of the following documents. You will receive specific instructions to your Scenario in the e-form itself:

  • I-765 form, completed and signed. Details on accessing the USCIS Instructions and a guide prepared by ISS can be found in the e-form.

  • Photocopy of passport biographical page

  •  Photocopy of front and back of I-94 OR printout of your most recent electronic I-94 (print by visiting www.cbp.gov/I94)

  • Form I-983, completed and signed

    • You can start preparing the Form I-983 Training Plan with your employer. You will need start on this with your employer well in advance of your application submission.

    • SEVIS School Code of School Recommending STEM OPT: CHI214F10460000

    • Designated School Official Name and Contact should be the name of the last person who signed your most current I-20 then indicate "or other Purdue DSO", our email address is iss@purdue.edu and our phone number is 765-494-5770.

    • Student SEVIS ID No.:  This is found on your I-20.

    • You may want to review the I-983 Training Plan instructions published by ICE. Please note that the instructions in Section 1 about the Employment Authorization Number are confusing. This refers to the USCIS # on your EAD card.

Step 5: Prepare other required documents for your STEM OPT Extension application

While ISS is processing your OPT I-20, you can begin preparing the following documents. Keep these documents in a safe place until you are ready to submit the STEM OPT Extension application. ISS does not need these documents.

  • Completed Form G-1145 (Optional, but recommended. Only when sending with USPS to Phoenix.)
  • Check or money order with current date (not a future date) made payable to: "U.S. Department of Homeland Security" (Do not sign the back of the check!) Please check here for the current fee for the I-765.
  • 2 U.S. passport-sized photos (taken within 30 days and never used for any other purpose) in a small plastic bag. Write your name, birth date, and I-94 in ballpoint pen on the back of each photo.
  • Completed original Form I-765. Make sure to sign the I-765 form. 
  • (ISS will give you a STEM OPT I-20. You must sign the original I-20, make a photocopy, then send the photocopy for your application and keep the original.)
  • Photocopy of passport biographical page
  • Photocopy of F-1 visa (all students except Canadian citizens)
  • Photocopy of front and back of I-94 OR printout of your most recent electronic I-94 (print by visiting www.cbp.gov/I94)
  • Photocopy of current Employment Authorization Document (EAD) card
  • Photocopy of university diploma showing STEM conferred degree
  • Photocopy or original of official university transcripts showing STEM degree conferred date (Does not need to be sealed. See this site for transcript requests: http://www.purdue.edu/registrar/currentStudents/students/transcripts.html)    
  • Any other documents personally recommended for you by ISS(optional)

Make a photocopy of your entire application packet before sending to USCIS

Note: You do not send your Form I-983 to USCIS. It is required only to submit to ISS, and ISS will keep it in your file.  

Step 6: Receive your I-20 from ISS

The STEM OPT Extension is recommended by ISS if eligibility requirements are met, and ISS will create a new I-20 reflecting the recommendation. Ultimately, however, the STEM OPT Extension is authorized (or denied) by USCIS in the form of an Employment Authorization Document (EAD).

When it is completed, ISS will send you an email with instructions on creating a shipping label so that we can send you your STEM OPT Extension I-20.

When you receive your I-20, make sure all the information is correct, and notify ISS if anything is incorrect or missing. Sign the I-20. Then make a photocopy of the signed I-20. You will KEEP your original I-20 and include the signed photocopy in your application packet.

Step 7: Assemble, double-check, and mail your completed application to USCIS as soon as you receive it from ISS

***Your final instructions for preparing and sending your STEM OPT Extension application packet, as well as extremely important information to remember while you are on the STEM OPT Extension will be sent in an email from ISS after your I-20 is ready. Please read the instructions carefully.***

Follow the instructions on the Final Instructions sheet for assembling all the required documents in your application packet. Double-check all documents: remember that it is your responsibility to ensure the application is correct and complete.

Do not delay in sending your application, as it is very time-sensitive. ISS recommends you send your application packet via USPS and use tracking to monitor when your packet is received by USCIS.

We highly recommend photocopying your complete application packet to keep for your records.

Important Note:

  • USCIS must receive your application within 60 days of the STEM OPT Extension recommendation date (you can find this date next to the ISS staff signature on the first page).

What Happens After I Apply for the STEM Extension?

According to regulation 274a.12(b)(6)(iv), you may continue to work while your Extension application is pending for up to 180 days, or until the final decision from USCIS on the application, whichever comes first, if you meet the following conditions:

  • You are currently in a period of post-completion OPT;
  • You properly filed your application for the STEM extension with USCIS in a timely manner;

  • You meet all other requirements for employment under the STEM Extension.

New STEM extension EAD cards begin the day after the expiration of the 12 month EAD card and ends 24 months later, no matter the date of adjudication.

Employment Requirements on STEM

In order to qualify as employment for the STEM extension:

  • The position must be directly related to your major field of study. It must also be appropriate to your degree level.
  • You must work a minimum of 20 hours per week.
  • Employment must be paid.
  • The company must be registered with the U.S. Government E-Verify employment verification system.
  • The employer must acknowledge and adhere to requirements published on form I-983 in conjunction with the new Rule.
  • You must be employed by the entity that provides the supervised practical training experience. Employment relationships such as Work For Hire, Self-Employment, Employment Agencies, and owning a business as a sole-proprietor do not qualify.

The type of employment can vary:

  • Employment with one or more employers - as long as all employment is directly related to your major field of study under which you qualify for a STEM extension. and each employer is enrolled in E-Verify, and each employer executes and abides by the training plan.

Unemployment on STEM

90-days of unemployment were allowed on your initial 12-month period of OPT. If you have not exceeded this number, additional unemployment days will be available to you while on the STEM extension.

  • On 24-month STEM: An additional 60 days of unemployment time will be available during the extension, combined with the 90 days granted during initial 12-month.  The aggregate total allowed is 150 days during the possible 36 months.

This means that beginning on the OPT start date printed on your original EAD card and continuing through the end date on your EAD for your STEM Extension, each day that you do not have a job counts toward unemployment. This includes weekends and holidays, as well as days spent outside the United States. If you are employed (i.e. on payroll) and taking a temporary break or vacation from a current job, this does not count as unemployment, as long as you remain in active paid status with your employer.

If you are getting close to your unemployment limit, before that date you should:

  • Prepare to exit the U.S.
  • Change visa categories
  • Apply to continue your education at Purdue or transfer to another SEVP certified school

You are responsible for counting the number of days of unemployment you have accrued while on OPT, so it is important to keep track of start and end dates of each job you have. You may be denied future immigration benefits if USCIS determines that you exceeded the limitations on unemployment.

NOTE: SEVIS records may be automatically terminated for students who have no reported employment for 150 days. It is important to accurately report all periods of employment through myISS

Reporting Requirements on STEM

Updates While STEM OPT is Pending:

Employment Information:

You are only able to report employment information for employment during your currently authorized period of post-completion OPT. You will not be able to report change on STEM OPT until you are on your approved period of STEM OPT. However, if the employer with which you are applying for the STEM OPT application changes, it is vital that you contact ISS immediately to discuss the implications of this. Your STEM OPT application is partially dependent on the employer, so you will likely need to make updates to your application.


OPT-Related Documents:

You may wish to upload copies of your receipt notice, approval notice, EAD card, or job offer letter. The "Upload an OPT-Related Document" will be available to you while your OPT application is pending and also once you are on your approved period of OPT. Note that this e-form is NOT meant for you to upload any OPT application documents, Social Security cards, or credit cards.


Respond to a Request for Evidence:

If USCIS sends you a Request for Evidence (RFE), you may upload it in the "Respond to a Request for Evidence" e-form so that ISS may assist you with it. This e-form will be available to you while your OPT application is pending and also once you are on your approved period of OPT.

 

Updates While on Approved Period of STEM OPT:

Once you are on your approved period of STEM OPT, you will use the OPT Reporting e-form group in the “F-1 Optional Practical Training” category to report any changes to personal and employment information within 10 days of the change. You must inform ISS each and every time your information changes. Also use this e-form to periodically validate information while on OPT. This e-form may also be used to request a new travel signature or reprinted I-20 while on STEM OPT. 

There are 5 e-forms in the OPT Reporting e-form group. Regardless of what you need to report, you must go through each one sequentially so that ISS can collect enough data to fully submit a report. Use the following e-forms to report: 

 

Report OPT Employment Information 

  • Starting employment with new employer
  • Employer name change
  • Work location change 
  • Supervisor change 
  • Job title and job description change 
  • Changes in full-time vs part-time employment
  • Reduction in compensation

Report Employment End Date

  • Report the end date of employment

Travel Signature/Reprint Request on OPT

  • Indicate if you would like an I-20 printed after filling out e-forms to update information
  • And/or to request a travel signature
    • NOTE: when requesting a travel signature, please ensure that you have already reported your employment information here. If in doubt, please report the information again, and we will check your record to ensure up-to-date information. 

Personal Information on OPT

  • Legal name 
  • Living address
  • Phone number
  • Email 

Submit your OPT Report to ISS

  • To submit your request fully to ISS, you must submit this last e-form in the group. If you do not submit this e-form, ISS will not be notified of any of your update requests. You will receive an email confirmation once you have successfully submitted the e-form group. 

 

Note on Address Updates:

Please note that updating your residential address has no connection to the EAD card mailing address. If you need to update the EAD card mailing address, contact ISS directly instead of the USCIS National Service Center. To avoid unnecessary complications and problems, ISS recommends you file your OPT application with a requested EAD card mailing address that will remain valid for at least four months.

 

 

When to Report a STEM OPT Update with a New I-983 Form:

Using the "OPT Reporting" e-form group as described above, you must report changes to any of the following information, and you must upload a new I-983.

Report within 10 days of any changes to the following areas:

  • Employer name, EIN, or address
  • Any reduction in compensation that is not tied to a reduction in number of hours worked
  • Reduction in number of hours worked to less than 20 hours per week
  • Changes to the employer's commitments or student's learning objectives
  • Change in employment
    • Important Note: If you change employers, you and your old employer will need to update your existing I-983 form by filling out the final evaluation, and you and your new employer must complete a new I-983 form and submit to ISS.

Report within 12 months:

You and employer together must complete the first "Evaluation of Student Progress" portion of the Form I-983 within 12 months of the listed STEM OPT start date. You must submit this to Purdue ISS.

Report at the completion of the 24 month STEM OPT Extension, or at the conclusion of employment, whichever comes first:

You and your employer together must complete the "Final Evaluation of Student Progress" portion of the Form I-983 at the completion of the 24 month STEM OPT Extension or at the conclusion of employment, whichever comes first. You must submit this to Purdue ISS within 10 days of the required date.

 

Updates if Ending STEM OPT:

Use the "Report No Longer on OPT" e-form if you are ending your period of OPT for any reason, including changes of visa status, transferring to a new school, starting a new degree program, or departing the U.S. before the end of your OPT.

 

Report No Longer On OPT

  • Change in visa status, including approval of H1-B petition, other approval of adjustment of status, or any other change in immigration status. You must submit proof of approval for any change in status.
  • Transfer to another school to start a new degree program
  • Change to a new degree program at Purdue University
  • Permanent departure from the U.S. before the end of your OPT if you decide to end your work early and forfeit the remainder of your OPT

 

How to Log In to myISS:

If you still have an active Purdue student account:

  1. Go to https://connect.iss.purdue.edu/
  2. Log in with "Full Client Services for Students & Scholars" by clicking the blue login button in the left box on the main page. 
  3. Enter your Purdue Career Account ID and password.
  4. Expand the appropriate section on the left-hand side of the screen.
  5. Click the appropriate link and follow instructions in the e-form.

If you are no longer enrolled or engaged in activity at Purdue:

  1. Go to https://connect.iss.purdue.edu/
  2. Log in with "Limited Services for Students & Scholars" by clicking "Limited Services" in the right box on the main page.
  3. First time users:
    • If it is your first time accessing myISS, you will need to request a PIN. Click the "E-mail me my Limited Access PIN" button.
    • Enter your PUID. USE ONLY ONE OF THE LEADING ZEROS. Do not enter dashes. You will enter a 9-digit number. Ex. 012345678
    • An email with the PIN will be sent to the email address Purdue ISS has on file for you. Be sure to check your spam folder. Contact ISS if you do not receive an email - we may not have a valid email address on file for you. Keep record of your PIN!
    • After you have received the PIN, navigate back to the Login page, enter your PUID (ONLY 9 DIGITS - DO NOT ENTER THE FIRST ZERO), your date of birth, and the PIN.
    • Expand the appropriate section on the left-hand side of the screen.
    • Click the appropriate link and follow instructions in the e-form.
  4. Returning users:
    • Enter your PUID (ONLY 9 DIGITS - DO NOT ENTER THE FIRST ZERO), your date of birth, and the PIN.
    • Expand the appropriate section on the left-hand side of the screen.
    • Click the appropriate link and follow instructions in the e-form.


Travel on STEM Extension

If STEM Extension Application is Pending

Travel is NOT allowed after the 12 month OPT has expired and while the STEM Extension EAD is pending.

Travel is permitted if you have a valid 12 month EAD card for re-entry along with the documents listed below.

If STEM Extension is Approved

  • Valid passport
  • Valid F-1 visa stamp in your passport
  • I-20 with travel signature dated within six months of your reentry to the U.S.
  • Valid EAD
  • A job offer letter from a prospective employer or a job letter from a current employer

Travel Signature

Travel signatures while on STEM OPT are good for six months. Please look at your I-20 to check if your last travel signature will be less than six months old on the date of your return to the U.S. You will also want to ensure that your I-20 is completely up to date when you travel. (Ex. If your current I-20 says “STEM OPT Requested” and your STEM OPT has since been approved, you will want to request a new I-20 with travel signature.  If you need a travel signature while on STEM OPT, please log in to myISS and navigate to the “F-1 Optional Practical Training” category, and then to the “OPT Reporting” e-form group. In this e-form group, you can verify that you have reported all personal and employment information, as well as request a travel signature.

Getting an F-1 Visa Stamp on OPT

If your F-1 visa has expired and you wish to travel outside of the U.S., a new F-1 visa must be obtained before re-entering the U.S. If you need to apply for a new visa, please consult the Immigration Counselor who assisted you with your OPT application prior to travel to discuss the visa application process and possible risks. Also see this guide: http://www.iss.purdue.edu/Resources/Docs/Immigration/RenewingYourStudentVisa.pdf

If a petition has been filed on your behalf, such as for an H1-B, you should consult with legal counsel in regards to traveling with a pending petition.

H-1B Cap Gap Extension

Overview of H-1B Cap-Gap

H-1B is a work visa that is sponsored by an employer. The H-1B cap is the limit on the number of H-1Bs allowed each year. The cap does not apply to all H-1B visas. You must discuss with your employer and/or immigration attorney whether your H-1B petition is subject to the cap.

The period of time when an F-1 student’s status and work authorization expire through the start date of their approved H-1B employment period is known as the "cap-gap”. The H-1B cap-gap extension allows certain students with pending or approved cap-subject H-1B petitions to remain in the U.S. in F-1 status until the start date of their approved H-1B employment period, even if the OPT authorization and/or F-1 grace period would have otherwise expired before October 1.

Who is Eligible for the H-1B Cap Gap Extension

You are eligible for the cap gap extension if both:

  • Your employer files a cap-subject H-1B petition for you on or after April 1 and requests a change of status to H-1B to begin October 1.
  • You are within your OPT authorization period or 60-day grace period following the OPT expiration when your employer submits the H-1B petition on your behalf.

If your OPT authorization is still valid when your employer submits your cap-subject H-1B petition to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), your OPT authorization will be extended. You can continue working in F-1 status through the extension date.

If your OPT authorization is expired but you are in your 60-day grace period when your employer submits your H-1B petition to USCIS, your F-1 status is extended. You cannot work but you can remain in the U.S. through the extension date.

Extension Dates

The length of your extension depends on the status of your H-1B application:

  • Filed: If your H-1B petition is properly filed (but not yet receipted or approved), your OPT authorization is extended to June 1. If your OPT authorization already expired but you were in your 60-day grace period at the time of filing, your F-1 status is extended to June 1.
  • Selected for receipting: If your H-1B petition is selected for receipting, your OPT authorization is extended to September 30. If your OPT authorization already expired but you were in your 60-day grace period at the time of filing, your F-1 status is extended to September 30.
  • Approved: If your H-1B petition is approved, your OPT authorization is extended to September 30. If your OPT authorization already expired but you were in your 60-day grace period at the time of filing, your F-1 status is extended to September 30. 

How to Request the H-1B Cap-Gap Extension

The cap gap extension of F-1 status automatically begins when your employer submits the H-1B petition to USCIS.

Important note: ISS cannot and will not check your SEVIS record for H1-B application updates. Only your employer can provide accurate, official updates regarding your H1-B application.

Students are strongly encouraged to stay in close communication with their petitioning employer during the cap-gap extension period for status updates on the H-1B petition processing. 

To obtain your Cap-Gap I-20:

  1. Log into myISS at https://connect.iss.purdue.edu/. Read the instructions for how to log in.
  2. Click on the F-1 Optional Practical Training section.
  3. Update any information you need to in the "OPT Reporting" e-form groups.
  4. After you've updated your information, click on the "Request H-1B Cap-Gap Extension I-20" e-form. Follow the instructions in the form to select the situation that applies to you and upload the required documentation (see below).

If your H-1B petition is:

  • Filed:
    • If your original OPT authorization is valid through June 1, do not request a new I-20 based on H-1B filing only: wait instead for the receipt or approval notice.
    • If your original OPT will expire before June 1, submit a copy of the petition and FedEx, UPS, or USPS Express/certified mail receipt to ISS.
  • Selected for receipting:
    • Submit a copy of the I-797 Notice of Action Receipt Notice to ISS.
  • Approved:
    • Submit a copy of your I-797 Approval Notice to ISS.

ISS will print an I-20 for you that indicates the extension of your F-1 status and (if eligible) extension of your OPT employment authorization. The cap-gap extension benefit is automatic, so you can continue working (if eligible) and remain in the U.S. while waiting for your new I-20.

Travel during H-1B Cap-Gap Extension

After an H-1B petition for a change of status is filed, consult your employer's immigration attorney about all international travel, whether or not your EAD is expired.

  • If your EAD is expired, you will not be able to re-enter the U.S. in F-1 status.
  • You must consult your employer's attorney about whether and when you may be eligible to re-enter the U.S. in H-1B status.

Denied H-1B Petitions

If USCIS denies, rejects, or revokes an H-1B petition filed on behalf of an F-1 student covered by the automatic cap-gap extension, the student will have the standard 60-day grace period (from the notification date of the denial, rejection, or revocation of the petition) before he or she is required to depart the U.S., change degree level, transfer to another SEVIS approved school, or change status as long as the student has not otherwise violated status. The student cannot (1) leave and re-enter the U.S. during this time and (2) cannot work.

For denied cases: It should be noted that the 60-day grace period does not apply to an F-1 student whose accompanying change of status request is denied due to discovery of a status violation. Such a student in any event is not eligible for the automatic cap-gap extension. Similarly, the 60-day grace period would not apply to the case of a student whose petition was revoked based on a finding of fraud or misrepresentation discovered following approval. In both of these instances, the student would be required to leave the United States immediately.

Purdue Specific I-983 Information

Below you will find information you will need if you are completing a Form I-983 and Purdue University, West Lafayette is the employer. 

Page 2, Section 3

Employer Name:  Purdue University

Street Address:  601 Purdue Mall, West Lafayette, Indiana, or your campus street address

Employer Website URL:  www.purdue.edu

Employer ID Number:  35-6002041

Number of Full-Time Employees in U.S.:  Approximately 15,700

NAICS Code: 611310

FAQs

Q: How do I submit my documents for the 24-month OPT STEM Extension application?

A: ISS has just implemented an online application system. Please see the "How to Apply for the STEM Extension" section above for full instructions.

 

Q: How do I fill out the Form I-983?

 A: You need to fill this form out together with your employer. Please see the section above titled "How to Apply for the STEM Extension" Step 4, and the section titled "Purdue Specific I-983 Information" if you are employed by Purdue. You may also want to refer to the I-983 instructions published by ICE.

 


 

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