Online OPT STEM Application Tips

As you work to complete your OPT STEM electronic application, please review the tips, listed below, for each document included in your application.  As part of the application process, you must upload documents to support your application. Additional information can be found on the USCIS Tips for Filing Forms Online website. 


All eligible F-1 students must receive a STEM OPT Recommendation I-20 from ISSO BEFORE submitting an online or paper OPT STEM Extension application to USCIS.


Tips for Uploading Documents to your Application

  • Use a scanner or take pictures of each document.  Make sure each image you attach is clear and that all text is readable.
  • Each file must not be larger than 6MB in size.
  • Files must be in one of these formats: PDF, JPG, or JPEG.   For some forms TIF or TIFF files are accepted.
  • Do not encrypt or password protect your files
  • If your documents are in a foreign language, upload an English translation along with the original
  • Passport-size photos can be scanned or take a picture of them with your phone


Application Payment

  • Payment amount: $410.00.
  • Can be paid via credit card, debit card or checking account


Two U.S. Passport Photos

  • These should have been taken in the past 30 days.
  • The background should be white and have no shadow.
  • Check the U.S. Department of State website for more rules regarding passport photos.


Form I-765


Copy of Signed OPT STEM Recommendation I-20

  • Sign and date I-20, preferably in blue ink.
  • Check the date for accuracy (for example 2021 NOT 2020). Write the date in mm/dd/yyyy.
  • Check the educational level and major for accuracy. If not accurate, email your International Student Adviser.


Most Recent I-94

  • Check that the I94 shows your most recent entry, your status is F-1, and that you are admitted for duration of status (D/S). If information is incorrect on your I-94, email your International Student Adviser.


Copy of Passport

  • Include a copy of passport page that shows your passport number and passport expiration date.
  • If your F-1 visa is in a previous passport, include a copy of that passport page that shows your passport number and passport expiration date. 


Copy of Visa

  • Include a copy of most recently issued F-1 visa.


Copy of Previous OPT Recommendation I-20s

  • Include a copy of the OPT I-20 that shows the OPT status as “requested." 


Copy of Previous EADs from USCIS

  • Include both the front and back copy of the employment authorization document (EAD).


Copy of ISU Transcript

  • Include an official transcript. You can request a paper or PDF version in Accessplus through the Office of the Registrar.
  • If transcript does not show that your degree has been conferred, work with your department to get a letter showing completion of coursework.


Copy of Diploma (optional)

  • Include a copy of diploma, if earned.


Documentation Showing Completion of Coursework

  • If you are a graduate student who has not yet defended, work with your department to get a letter that states that you have completed all coursework for your degree program.


Letter from Employer

  • This letter should include your job title, start date, number of hours per week, E-Verify number, and any other employment detail relevant to the OPT STEM application.