USCIS Processing for STEM OPT

Processing Time

The average USCIS processing time is at least 90 days from receipt of your application. We advise you to apply as early as possible to allow about 90 days of processing time, but please note that your actual processing time could be longer or shorter.

Checking the Progress of Your STEM OPT Application

Within 2 - 3 weeks, USCIS will send you a receipt notice (Form I-797). This is proof that USCIS has received your application. Make sure to check the spelling of your name when you receive your receipt notice. If you notice an error, contact OISS. The receipt will also have your case number printed on it (YSC##########), with which you can track the progress of your application on the USCIS website.

Request for Evidence (RFE)

Occasionally, a student will receive a Request for Evidence (RFE) from USCIS. These requests are typically because the application is missing a document or new photographs are required. If you receive such a request contact your OISS adviser immediately so that you can respond to USCIS with the requested documents, as soon as possible. 

  • If you filed online, you will be able to respond to the RFE via your USCIS account.
  • If you filed by mail, when you respond to the RFE, place the original sheet on top. Be sure to make copies of these additional materials before you respond to the RFE, and send them by courier mail.

EAD Delays

If your application is outside the normal processing time posted by USCIS, you can submit an electronic request using the USCIS portal and request DHS case assistance. Check with OISS for the current normal processing time before you seek USCIS assistance.

If you do not receive your STEM OPT EAD by the end of your Post-Completion OPT, you may continue to work for up to 180 days after the end of your Post-Completion OPT. You should receive your new EAD before you reach 180 days.