Graduate International Student Admissions

17-Month OPT Extension

The 17-Month OPT Extension is sometimes called STEM Extension OPT. It is an additional 17 months of employment authorization that students currently authorized for post-completion OPT may apply for if they meet the eligibility criteria.


  • No previous 17-month extension on any educational level
  • Currently on initial OPT
  • Within 120 days of current post-completion OPT expiration date
  • Graduated with a degree from a designated Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) program
  • Employed by employer registered with federal E-Verify system
  • Employed in a position related to the STEM degree


E-Verify is a federal, Internet-based system that allows businesses to determine the eligibility of their employees to work in the US. Learn more about the program at the E-Verify page of the USCIS website. Students can access a list of E-Verify employers by visiting the Going Global database of jobs and internships through their PatriotJobs accounts.

Eligible Degrees

Current eligible UT Tyler STEM graduate degree programs are:

Form I-20 Major Description

CIP Code

Biology/Biological Sciences, General


Civil Engineering, General


Computer Science


Electrical and Electronics Engineering


Engineering/Industrial Management


Mathematics, General


Mechanical Engineering


Important Information before Applying

  • USCIS must receive your application before your post-completion OPT authorization expires.
  • The earliest date you can apply is 120 days prior to your post-completion OPT expiration date.
  • The USCIS I-765 application processing time is approximately 3 months.
  • Employment authorization will extend up to 180 days past your post-completion OPT expiration date if your 17-Month OPT Extension application is still pending by that date. However, during that time you must meet the job requirements of the extension, such as working for an E-Verify employer.

Application Process

Applying for 17-Month OPT extension is similar to applying for post-completion OPT; you submit an application to UT Tyler Graduate International Student Admissions, a new Form I-20 is issued and you mail a copy of that Form I-20 with other documents to a USCIS Service Center. Follow these steps.

  1. Confirm you are eligible to apply for 17-Month OPT Extension by reviewing the eligibility criteria and the list of eligible UT Tyler STEM graduate degree programs above.
  2. Submit the following to Graduate Admissions by email at, in person, or by mail:
  • Within 3-5 business days the graduate international student advisor will issue your 17-Month OPT Extension Form I-20 and notify you by email when it is available. Delivery options will be included in the email.
  • When you receive your 17-month OPT Extension Form I-20, you will review it for accuracy, sign and date it, email a scanned copy to, and make a photocopy to include in your 17-month OPT Extension application packet.
  • You will mail your 17-month OPT Extension application packet to the USCIS. The USCIS I-765 application processing time is approximately 3 months.
  • If your application is approved, USCIS will mail your Employment Authorization Card to the address listed on your Form I-765.
  • Application Package

    • G-1145, E-Notification of Application/Petition Acceptance (Optional)
    • Two passport photos
    • Check or money order for $380, made payable to Department of Homeland Security (Tip: Print your I-94 number on the memo line of your check. Staple your check in the middle of the left side of your Form I-765; staple the envelope containing your photos to the top corner of the left side.)
    • Original signed Form I-765
    • Copy of signed OPT Extension I-20, pages 1 and 3
    • Copy of passport ID page showing picture and expiration date
    • Copy of I-94 card (front and back), stamp or print-out
    • Copy of visa showing expiry date (F-1)
    • Copy of current OPT Employment Authorization Card
    • Copy of your diploma or UT Tyler transcript showing your degree was conferred
    • Copy of your job offer letter

    Mailing the Application

    According to the USCIS website, the application mailing address is determined by the address listed on the Form I-765.

    Mail to the Dallas Lockbox if your I-765 address is to one of these states: Alabama, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Mississippi, New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, US Virgin Islands or West Virginia.

    Dallas Lockbox:

    For US Postal Service (USPS) deliveries:


    PO Box 660867

    Dallas, TX 75266

    For express mail and courier deliveries:


    Attn: AOS

    2501 S. State Hwy. 121 Business Suite 400

    Lewisville, TX 75067

    Mail to the Phoenix Lockbox if the address listed on your I-765 is to any other US state.

    Phoenix Lockbox:

    For US Postal Service (USPS) deliveries:


    PO Box 21281

    Phoenix, AZ 85036

    For express mail and courier deliveries:


    Attn: AOS

    1820 E. Skyharbor Circle S, Suite 100

    Phoenix, AZ 85034

    Limits on Unemployment

    Students approved for 17-Month OPT extension receive an additional 30 days of unemployment allowance. Therefore, students should limit unemployment to an aggregate of no more than 120 days for the entire 29-month period of Post-Completion/17-Month Extension OPT.

    Reporting Requirements

    Students on 17-Month Extension OPT have general as well as special reporting requirements.

    • Any changes to legal name and residential or mailing address within 10 days of the changes
    • Any changes to employer, employer address, and/or start and end of employment within 10 days of the changes
    • Two additional validation reports
      • Validation report at 6 months after the start of the extension
      • Validation report at 12 months after the start of the extension
      • Reports must include the student’s full name, current mailing and residential address, name and address of current employer, and the student’s employment start date for current employer.

    The Department of Homeland Security has indicated that OPT students who do not fulfill the validation report requirements may lose their F-1 status.

    Validation reports should be submitted no sooner than 15 days before and no later than 31 days after each due date.

    Example of Validation Reporting Schedule:

    17-Month Extension OPT Period: 6/1/2013 – 12/1/2014

    Validation Due Dates

    • 6 months after start date – 12/1/2013
    • 12 months after start date – 6/1/2014

    Submission Window (15 days before to 31 after)

    • 6 months - between 11/16/2013 and 1/1/2014
    • 12 months - between 5/17/2014 and 7/2/2014

    How to Report

    Please note that updating your address through your myUTTyler account does not update your address in the SEVIS system. To ensure your address is updated in SEVIS, notify the graduate international student advisor at

    For more information about 17-Month Extension OPT, contact the graduate international student advisor.