24 months stem opt application i983
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4 Problems With 24 Months STEM OPT Extension Application and Form I-983

24 Months STEM OPT Extension application process is going to be a pain in the neck for some. Could you share your concerns, problems faced in the comments section? You can find few difficult situations faced by students below.

The new rule came into effect on May 10, 2016. While it comes with additional seven more months than previous 17 months STEM OPT Extension, it also comes with the additional requirement to submit I-983 – Training Plan for STEM OPT Students.

As of May 10, 2016: 

  • If your 17 Months OPT application is pending, you will receive RFE to submit I-983 and New I-20
  • If you are applying for 24 months, you should send I-983 along with other documents.

Students are scrambling to apply for 24 Months STEM OPT Extension. I use the word “scrambling” because completing the I-983 form is a challenging task for all involved parties – students on OPT, 17 Months STEM OPT, Employer, Manager and DSO, who would have to review it.

Problem: Students

Lack of understanding of new 24 Months STEM OPT Extension Rules. The fact is most students were happy to see 17 months of STEM was extended to 24 months ignoring the details of the new rule.  With new rule now in effect, you should send time to read and understand the rule.

Hi Raghu, Thanks for your video. I am hired through an american consulting company (not a desi consulting). If according to your video I cannot apply for 24 months stem extension, Can I apply for 17 months? I am not sure. Also, Can you share the link where USCIS has mentioned about consulting firms and not being able to apply for STEM through them.

Spend time to educate yourself with new 24 months STEM OPT Extension rules and requirements.

Problem: Employer

One person said, his employer is not willing to sign the form.

Thank you for your guidance all this time we really appreciate it. I have applied for OPT extension and it pending now, i work for a consulting company,its not an Indian firm but it can be categorized a Consulting Firm. They are not willing to sign i983.

My OPT ended on May 12, how much time i got to join in a University without any status issues ,i intend to withdraw my OPT extension application?

Later while i am in university can i apply for OPT Extension (documents from previous Masters degree )if i get a full time job while i am in CPT and employer is STEM Extension eligible,i am asking because i read somewhere that its possible to request STEM extension from previous stem degree.

If you are going to have to apply for STEM Extension, then find coworkers who have already worked with your employer and their manager. Perhaps your manager can talk with another manager to learn how they crafted the training plan.

Problem: University

I head that NCSU is charging $200 to issue new I-20 for STEM OPT Extension ( and review the I-983 training plan).

Here’s an another situation from UT Arlington ( taken from a UTA Facebook Group).

i983 stem opt uta

DSO are going to have a difficult job of reviewing the Training Plan. It’s not going to be submitted with the application, but remain with the school. DSO’s are not attorney’s, and this is added job responsibility for them to review and approve your I-983 training plan. There will be inconsistency among DSO within the same school on how they approach this.

Problem: Consulting Jobs

In the final published rule, DHS added a comment about types of employment allowed.

Comments say that that, it restricts STEM OPT students working as contractors via consulting companies from requesting 24 Months STEM OPT Extension. Check the video for more details to explain this – I983, Consulting Jobs, and Self-Employment.

I know for a fact that some students on F1 don’t even make an attempt to find a full-time, direct hire job. We don’t know what would be the impact of this 24 Months STEM OPT Extension Rule if you are working as a contractor.

One DSO said that, if you have a supervisor from working for your employer ( hiring company) in the same location as your client, then they would approve the 24 months STEM OPT I-20.

But, DSO is not USCIS adjudicators. USCIS are going to follow the rule, not the approval of I-983 from DSO.

As you can see in the above example, DSO would have a varying degree of understanding about how to interpret the rule and approve new 24 Months STEM OPT Extension.


  • Students are finding it challenging to complete form I-983
  • Some employer is not agreeing to sing the I-983 form
  • DSO’s have varying degree of knowledge about reviewing I-93 form
  • Expect some bumpy road when it comes to 24 months STEM OPT Extension application

Do you have problems? Share your experience below.

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  1. Hello Everyone,

    Currently I am in 24 month STEM OPT extension. I am changing my employer. But my previous employer is not agreeing to provide me the I-983 Form (Final Evaluation) signed. How can I handle this?
    I have to report the “change of employer” to my DSO within 10 days.
    I tried convincing my previous employer but they are not agreeing to terms.


  2. Hello, I am currently on F1 STEM extension and had to fill I 983 12 month self evaluation form and submit to DSO. However I missed it and submitted it 5 months late. Does this cause any violation to my current F1 status in the US? I have my STEM OPT valid until June 2020.

    Please let me know your comments

  3. Hi,

    I have applied for stem opt extension on april 10th with my current employer. My case status says the application is received as on April 12th 2019. But meanwhile i got a job offer last week which has immediate joining date and i havent received the EAD card yet. So do i need to update USCIS regarding change of employer? Do i need to send another packet having changes? Any idea of how long does it take for EAD card processing?

    Any help would be highly appreciated !!


    1. Your DSO will give your advice. If you are starting a new job, then notify DSO for a new job, get new I-983.

  4. Hi Raghu,

    I am employed by an e-verified consulting agency and working at the client’s site in the same city. There is a supervisor present at the client’s site from the consulting company as well (although I work with a product team and don’t sit with the supervisor at all times). I have applied for my 24 month STEM OPT extension through the consulting company. Do you think there still is a cause for concern with contracting arrangement? Have you heard of people in similar situations getting their STEM extension approved? Please share your thoughts.

  5. Hello ,

    I recently got a contract job in Raleigh. And I am placed at the client site. My OPT expires on July 10th and I want to apply for OPT STEM extension. When I asked my employer to sign the I-983 form they are refusing. They say that since they are a ” STAFFING AGENCY” they do not participate in STEM program. They are my payroll employer too. Can you suggest what are the other alternatives ? I have asked my client if they can work with a new employer and they just informed me that they have some kind of contract with my employer on my work order and would not let me transfer employers.

    Kaushik C.

  6. Hi Raghu,

    I am a full time employee and a Masters graduate in computer science. Currently working on providing complex technical solutions over the network, troubleshooting computer systems and providing security for system architecture . Basically a Bachelors level of Job.
    I spoke with my lead to add more responsibilities considering future projects involving designing and developing of web apps along with few more to suit more to my level of study.
    He is very positive of making those changes to my responsibilities but will it have any impact on my opt extension incase they didnt change in time.

    Thanks for the response.

    1. Sagar, this is beyond what I can advise. You should consult with your DSO or an attorney to avoid any future RFE’s.

      1. My DSO said she is Okay adding more responsibilities or any role change in future. She did not raise any concern but just said she will update it. She also stressed sometimes its tricky to judge if the job falls in your level of category because of your responsibilities (say like it depends on companies about the weight of duties within your role).

  7. I am Srinath Iyengar, I am currently on my F-1 visa working in the US on OPT.

    I am travelling abroad in August and wanted to know if I could do so with my current EAD card. My current EAD card is valid till 11/14/2017, but have a pending application with the USCIS for the 7 month OPT extension.

    I have all the necessary travel documents from my university and employer but my only concern is the pending OPT extension application.

    Is it safe to travel and get back with my existing EAD

  8. Hello Raghu, I have a different issue. I am currently working in a company as full time engineer with my first year of OPT. Now I am ready to apply for the STEM extension and my company would fill in the required forms with a training plan.
    My question is if I quit my job after applying for extension and move to a new company do i have to submit a new application or the existing application would still work even for the new company which i am going to move to.

    Can you put some light on this issue where an individual moves out of a company after submitting the opt extension application.

  9. Hi,

    I’m currently on 17 month stem extension which expires in Jan 2017. I’m applying for additional 7 month extension now. Meanwhile, i was offered a full time (direct hire) by a client. I did not yet updated my DSO, since I already requested for an I20 with my previous employer (consulting firm) where i was full time. Will i be able to join a direct client while being on stem opt extension? Please let me know

  10. hi


    off late i have been hearing in online forums about this i983. There is some talk in other online forums about the interpretation of i983 form. Am sure that you might as well have heard about it. Can you clarify on the same

  11. Hi,

    I am currently working with a employer (small company) which is a full time opportunity, now I got a new job with more pay but a contract position.

    With the new OPT rules in effect , is it is a good idea to leave the full time opportunity and move to a contract position? Both my employers are ready to fill my I-983 form. I have my OPT valid till Feb 2017.

    Can you please suggest me.

    Thanks in advance.

  12. Hi,

    I am currently working with ABC Consulting firm as Independent Contractor at Client Location. My opt expires on 31st Jan,2017. I have to apply for Stem-Extension. I am not very sure about the new rule that was passed on 10th May,2016. Can i apply for stem extension? If yes, then what all clauses i should take care off.

    1. Hey Nidhi,

      I am also in same situation. Can u reply back here so that we can decide as to what can be done best.

      Thank You

      1. Hi Krishna,

        I am in the same dilemma. I am working for a midsize consulting company and its a full time opportunity with them. However, I am working at the client location which is in the same city. I still have time for OPT extension but wanted to be sure. My current company is ready to sign i983 form.

        Wanted to check what happened in your case.


    2. Hi Nidhi,
      I am currently in same situation as you.I want to know whether you can work as independent contractor in stem extension

  13. Hi Raghu

    My opt expired on 10th May 2016 and I go RFE for Stem opt. In the mean time my client layoffs me and my employer are not ready to sign I983 form. So is it possible that I can change my employer on pending OPT Stem of 24 months on RFE ?

    Kapil Mistry

  14. Hi Raghu,

    Currently I am on 17month OPT extension which has started on Jun 1st, 2016.

    I would like to apply for 7 month extension. I work for a desi consultant with direct client and there are no vendors as such.

    Q1) If 7month OPT extension is denied, does it affect 17month OPT period?
    Q2) Now if I go for Full Time job, 7month OPT extension will be accepted or will have any issues?

    Please respond.

  15. Hi,

    I got job through one of the desi consultancy, they made a fake resume for marketing also stating that I already have h1. They also applied for my H1 .
    The client has offered me full time position which I want to take because I am likely to be promoted here.
    As of now I have convinced them saying that I am waiting for my h1 extension as they wanted to start process for h1 transfer. I just want to know once I get my genuine H1, it is recommendable to start h1 transfer process or what should I do ?

    1. Hey Shriya, I am exactly in this situation and very worried. Can you let me know what you did, that can help me take the right step ahead. Thanks!

  16. Hi,
    Please help me.
    My OPT 12 was expired on May 9 th, I have applied for my STEM and my packet was received by USICS on April 5 th, and still it shows like “case was received”. Mailing address was mentioned as my univ address which is international center and email ID was my univ email ID.
    How will i know if knew that i got a RFE?
    Will the USCIS emails or mails the RFE?
    I think the RFE should be mailed to my univ. But i didn’t get any information from my university regarding this RFE neither i got an email from USCIS.
    How long do i have to wait for OPT?
    Now in this stage Am i safe or will i go out of status ?
    I knew like some 180 days of time will be provided.
    Can i know form when the 180 days time period starts?
    Can i change my employer at this time though i got an expired OPT EAD and the STEM extension is not yet approved?
    Please do respond and help me.
    Thank you.

  17. Hi Raghu
    My OPT extension is pending as of now and i am expecting RFE for 24 month recommendation from DSO,I got a new full time job offer,can i change my employer now,when i get a RFE i will submit i983 with new employer.
    If its possible?

    FYI-My Initial OPT ended May 12 2016.


  18. Question 1: what if my current company(where I am legit full time employee),lays me off 10 days before 12month OPT completion date. Can I apply for STEM extension without any employer, i.e if I am unemployed?

    Question 2: The way I understand is that it is very tedious process to get a STEM extension through a consulting company, hence most consultancies wont support me for STEM extension. Let me know if my understanding is correct.

    1. 1. You should consult an attorney for this.
      2. Yes, consulting is getting difficult and it depend on DSO approving your OPT.

    2. Hi Jay,

      I have a similar issue like your’s.Currently i am in initial OPT (12 month OPT) and it will expires on Jan 25th ,2018 ie; i have to apply my 24 month Stem extension by end of October 2017.Currently i am working in a company where my project end date is December 23rd,2017(End date mentioned in the offer letter).
      So, My question is
      ->can i apply the stem extension with the company where i am working now (it ends on 23rd DEC 2017) OR
      Do i need to provide or apply with another job offer stating that i have the offer later jan 25th 2018??


  19. Hello, I am being provided job by an American IT Staffing company with a good pay. They say its a W2 contract based job. They will file my h1 visa if i am on project with them till feb 2017. But i am worried what if h1 visa lottery does not accept me. My OPT expires in june 2017. So i would be having only a month to find another employer who would provide me extension of 24 month OPT. So i am confused whether i should join this American staffing company or not.

  20. Raghu,

    I’m on OPT and work for a full time employer. They’ll file for my H1B next year. Do you think it is recommendable to enroll for 401K offered by employer? They have a very good plan – company matches upto 6% of employee’s contribution.

      1. Nope I haven’t paid off the loan. And if I leave the country after 3 years, will I get the 401K investment back? It will be great if you write a blog about 401K, 403B plans in detail

        1. I’m going to create a course on this topic. New Employee’s Guide to Personal Finance, Investment and Green Card Process.

  21. Hey Raghu – I work in a legitimate Actuarial Consulting Company in the USA. They do various pieces of consulting and I am currently in Stem extension (expiring in DEC)…I cant seem to find your video about consulting jobs that are facing an issue. Please can you help shed more light on this.

  22. Hi all,
    My STEM application is pending now. Once I got the RFE, do you know how much time will you get to submit the application again?

  23. Hi Raghu,

    Thank you for regular updates regarding STEM OPT.

    Currently I am under Post opt. My Post opt will expire on July 19th 2016. I have already applied to STEM opt before May 10 2016. Currently, I am working under a desi consulting company. Due to several rule changes in STEM OPT, I have applied to Full time opportunities. Recently I got an full time opportunity which start on Jun 10th.

    My question is that If I get an RFE, Can I update I765 and I20 with new employer details?

  24. Yes ,

    As you said one of my friend who got full time with Cap Gemini facing same issue. Though it is big firm they are still not ready to sign I983 form since he works for their client.

    If big firms like Cap Gemini is thinking about I983 form we can expect the situation with people working through Desi Consultancies.

    1. There’s so much going around with I983. If audits come along for site visits, then if they find few violations, do you think company would hire any OPT students?

      1. Hello ,

        I recently got a contract job in Raleigh. And I am placed at the client site. My OPT expires on July 10th and I want to apply for OPT STEM extension. When I asked my employer to sign the I-983 form they are refusing. They say that since they are a ” STAFFING AGENCY” they do not participate in STEM program. They are my payroll employer too. Can you suggest what are the other alternatives ? I have asked my client if they can work with a new employer and they just informed me that they have some kind of contract with my employer on my work order and would not let me transfer employers.

        Kaushik C.

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