F-1 STEM OPT Application Forms

Below please find the documents and forms needed to apply for F-1 STEM OPT. These resources are intended for use by Harvard F-1 students only.

Documents to Submit to the HIO (Step 1):

STEM OPT Extension Request Form

For F-1 STEM eligible students to request STEM OPT application for HIO recommendation.

STEM OPT Credit Card Payment (Touchnet)

For students applying for STEM OPT who would like to pay the $300 payment to Harvard University online via credit card.

STEM OPT I-983 Instructions

Instructions to complete the I-983 for the STEM OPT application to the HIO.

STEM OPT Based on a Prior Degree Application Form

Use this form in conjunction with the STEM OPT Extension Request Form if you are requesting a STEM recommendation based on a previously earned STEM degree.

STEM OPT Change of Employer Request Form

For students on STEM OPT who are changing employment.

Instructions for STEM OPT Submission to USCIS (Step 2):

Note regarding online filing of I-765: The United States Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) has recently notified stakeholders that Forms I-765 can now be filed online via USCIS’s website for students applying for pre-completion OPT, post-completion OPT, and STEM OPT extensions. At this time, the HIO strongly discourages the use of this online I-765 filing system while we gather further information on its efficacy and functionality. The HIO encourages all students applying for pre, post and STEM OPT to follow the HIO’s guides and instructions for how to submit their paper applications to USCIS by courier mail.

As a reminder, students applying for pre, post and STEM OPT must be physically present in the U.S. to file their OPT applications with USCIS.

USCIS STEM OPT Application Checklist

A checklist of all documents needed to submit to USCIS to apply for F-1 STEM OPT.

STEM OPT I-765 Instructions

Line by line instructions to complete the Form I-765.

STEM OPT I-765 Payment Guide

A guide to the I-765 payment.

STEM OPT Mailing Instructions to USCIS

Instructions on mailing your complete application to USCIS.

After Mailing your STEM OPT Application to USCIS

Instructions on maintaining your F-1 status while on STEM OPT.

STEM OPT Reporting Resource and Worksheet

A resource to assist with the STEM OPT reporting requirements. 

The HIO provides general guidance on your OPT/STEM OPT application based on information obtained from reliable sources and reflecting our years of experience in working with students. We make every attempt to ensure that we provide you with the most up to date information available. Any advice provided to you by our office (as well as the information in this packet) does not constitute legal advice, however. The OPT application is a personal application for which you are responsible; the application preparation and USCIS case decision will vary depending on the facts at issue in your particular case. The HIO does its best to provide you with the most current guidance, but please be mindful that USCIS may change its interpretation of these policies, procedures, regulations, and eligibility requirements at any time. The HIO is not responsible for any errors or omissions, or for the results obtained from USCIS.