Common Errors to Avoid and Frequently Asked Questions when filling out the I-983
Important Note: DHS and USCIS can change its guidance and directions at any time for the: form I-983 and the directions listed on the DHS Study in the States website should be consulted as the final authority and reference when filling out the form I-983.
We have provided the guidance below as a courtesy to assist you when placing your STEM OPT Extension Request to our office and when providing us updates ONLY. The DHS site above or an immigration attorney should be consulted for any final advice or guidance when filling out the I-983. The below information DOES NOT constitute legal advice and is for guidance only.
There is always the possibility that an update to the form I-983 may change the references below and sections for questions may not match. If a reference to an item below causes uncertainties or by chance the information below becomes outdated, it is always best to consult the DHS Study in the States website or e-mail us at email@example.com if you see any inconsistencies in the sections and questions that are referenced. Student should always use the most recent form I-983 found on the DHS Study in the States website when placing a request to our office or applying to USCIS.
Please remember: A completed, updated copy of the I-983 should always be kept at the student’s place of employment. If there are any material changes to the I-983 during your time of employment and after the initial I-983 is submitted, an updated I-983 is required and can be provided to ISSS through a STEM Participation Report Request.
If you change employment at any time during the STEM OPT Extension request, USCIS processing, or approval period, YOU MUST report these changes to our office immediately and provide an updated I-983 for the new employer. Changing employers or ending employment during the ISSS request and USCIS processing phase can be problematic and exceeding unemployment days while on STEM OPT could lead to completion of your SEVIS record. It is best that you consult with our office for updated guidance, procedures, and possibilities if you should cease employment at any phase in the process.
Section 1: To be completed by the student
Q.Who is the Designated School Official and what is the contact information that I should put on the form?
A. The DSO can be listed as Diana Abraham or the individual who has signed your updated STEM Extension I-20. The contact information should always be firstname.lastname@example.org & the phone number listed as 304-293-3519.
Q. What is the STEM OPT requested period?
A. The requested period should be the requested start and end date for STEM extension. The requested start date will be the day after the post-completion OPT end date and the end date will be two years after the requested start date.
Q. What is the Qualifying Major and Classification of Instructional Programs (CIP) Code?
A. This information can be found on your STEM OPT I-20 and should match the major and code listed on the STEM OPT I-20. If the major and CIP code have changed for the STEM extension, this information should also be updated to reflect the new major and CIP code. Please contact our office at email@example.com if the information incorrect.
Q. What does "Based on a Prior Degree" mean?
A. Students can check “no” if the STEM extension is based on their recent degree used to apply for regular 12 month OPT. The question is intended for individuals who are applying for the STEM extension based on a previous degree where they did not take advantage of the STEM extension at the time.
Q. What is my Employment Authorization Number?
A. This number is found on your current EAD card under "USCIS #".
Section 2: To be completed by the student.
The student needs to print, sign, and date this section in ink. It should have fresh signatures and dates each time a STEM participation report request is completed.
Section 3: To be completed by the supervisor or employer official
This section should be completed by a supervisor and in some instances, by employer official with signatory authority with direct knowledge of your job duties, position, and training plan. They should have firsthand knowledge of the work you will be performing, so having the supervisor completing this section is recommended.
Additional information for this section can be obtained by the supervisor by contacting the company’s HR or payroll office. ISSS cannot typically provide this information for WVU employees as we are not authorized to verify this information or to keep updated employment numbers and records.
- If employed by WVU, please have your supervisor work with WVU Tax & Payroll to complete section.
Q. How should I write the Employer Name?
A. The employer name should be the same as the company’s employer name in e-Verify.
Section 4: To be completed by the supervisor or employer official
The supervisor or person with signatory authority with direct knowledge of the employment and training needs to print, sign, and date this section in ink. It should have fresh signatures and dates each time a STEM participation report request is completed. Having the supervisor complete this section is recommended.
Section 5: To be completed by both the Student and Supervisor Together
The direct supervisor must outline specifically the training plan for each section. A STEM OPT Extension requires supervised training in the qualified field of study by someone with experience and qualifications in the field to do so to advance your knowledge and experience you will gain through the STEM OPT opportunity. This can only be the supervisor who is qualified to provide the training and has done/is doing similar work.
The training plan must be completed by both the student and supervisor together in order to ensure that both have knowledge of the plan and agreed upon training.
Q.What qualifications will the supervisor filling out the form with me need to have?
A. The supervisor completing the training plan with you should be qualified in the your field of study/degree and should be the individual overseeing your training and day to day responsibilities.
Q. What address should I put on the form if my employer has multiple sites or addresses associated with the company or organization?
A. The Employer Site Information will be the actual physical location of your place of work. Do not use a company address that is headquartered elsewhere. ICE may conduct site visits and requires that you provide a physical location where you will be working. If you have multiple site locations, put the address that you most frequent and where your supervisor can also be found. If equal time is spent at both sites, choose one.
Section 6: To be completed by the supervisor
The supervisor who helped fill out Section 5 will need to print, sign, and date this section in ink. It should have fresh signatures and dates each time a STEM participation report request is completed.
It should have fresh signatures and dates each time a STEM participation report request is completed.
Evaluation on Student Progress Sections
Both parts of the evaluation should be left blank at the time the student is applying for the STEM extension I-20 and should not be updated at the 6 month or 18 month STEM Participation report.
The self-evaluation (Box 1, Page 5) should only be completed at 12-months into your STEM OPT Extension and the final evaluation (Box 2, Page 5) only at 24-months into the authorized STEM extension period. Do not fill out or update an evaluation at the 6 month or 18 month report.
By the due date for each evaluation, you must submit all pages of the I-983 with your evaluation(s) completed with ink signatures and may do so through a STEM participation report.
The first self-evaluation will be completed for the 12-month STEM participation report and will involve the student evaluating their own progress for the first half of their STEM extension. It should outline and address aspects mentioned in the evaluation's directions on the form I-983. Please be sure that it is dated close to or on the date when the evaluation is due and includes ink signatures with the names of you and your supervisor who helped develop your training plan and signed section 6.
The second self-evaluation will be completed for the 24-month STEM participation report and will involve the student evaluating their own progress for the second half of their STEM extension. It should outline and address aspects mentioned in the evaluation's directions on the form I-983 for the totality of your employment with the company/organization. Please be sure that it is dated close to or on the date when the evaluation is due and includes ink signatures with the names of you and your supervisor who completed section 6.
Other Frequently Asked Questions
Q. Should I type or hand write information on the form I-983?
A. Information on the I-983 should be typed and not handwritten for ease of review. The only part of the I-983 that should be hand signed in ink are the signatures from both student and supervisor in each section where they are required.
Q. What should I do if I change jobs while on the STEM OPT Extension after the application is processed with USCIS?
A. Changing jobs requires that you complete a new I-983 for the new job, including fresh signatures and dates from both you and your new supervisor. You will need to submit this new I-983 using a STEM Participation Report request to ISSS and also submit an OPT Employment update for the new job.
If quitting or ending your previous employment, you must also submit a separate STEM Participate Report with a completed final evaluation on the form I-983 for the employment that is ending along with an ending OPT Employment Update.
Q. What should I do if I change jobs while the STEM OPT Extension application is pending with USCIS?
A. If a student changes jobs while the STEM extension application is pending with USCIS, the student needs to submit the following as soon as possible:
A new OPT Employment Update request to report the new employment information.
A new STEM Report Participation request to provide ISSS a new I-983 for the new job.
ISSS will then need to issue a new STEM extension OPT I-20 and send this new STEM extension I-20 to the processing center responsible for handling the student’s case. After submitting the updates above, please then alert ISSS immediately by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org to make us aware that we will need to reach out to USCIS and send the updated I-983 on your behalf.