handbook EMPLOYMENT OPTIONS FOR INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS
OPT APPLICATION WANT TO WORK AFTER GRADUATION? FIND OUT HOW!
ON CAMPUS EMPLOYMENT CURRICULAR PRACTICAL TRAINING
INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS CAN WORK ON CAMPUS
INTERNSHIP GUIDELINES FOR INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS
STEM EXTENSION SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY,, ENGINEERING, & MATH
TABLE OF CONTENTS On Campus Employment
Curricular Practical Training
Pre-Completion Optional Practical Training
Post- Completion Optional Practical Training
Severe Economic Hardship
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ON-CAMPUS EMPLOYMENT INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS ARE ALLOWED TO WORK ON-CAMPUS. IF YOU ARE SPONSORED STUDENT (F-1 OR J-1), PLEASE CONSULT WITH YOUR SPONSOR REGARDING THE NUMBER OF HOURS PER WEEK YOU ARE ALLOWED TO WORK. ELIGIBILITY To be eligible for on-campus employment, students must: • maintain immigration status and valid immigration documents. • enroll full-time for the semester that you are going to work on-campus. • enroll full-time for the next semester prior to be able to work on-campus in summer or winter break. If summer is your last semester, you must enroll in summer session classes. International students are eligible for work done and paid by University of West Georgia and for work done and paid by Dine West and UWG Bookstore. This includes: • Hourly jobs, Research Assistant (RA) and Teaching Assistant (TA) positions. • Stipend jobs however cannot work more than number of hours per week allowed. • Not eligible for Work-Study (federal subsidized program).
REQUIREMENTS • Employment must not interfere with full-time study (no work during class time). • Work only a total of 20 hours per week during the semester and 40 hours per week combined during the
• Up to 20 hours- while classes are in session during the
• Must be a student.
• Cannot work beyond your degree completion date
• Up to 40 hours- during class breaks (fall break, winter
(undergraduate: commencement date, graduate: date of
break, thanksgiving break, spring break) and during
final academic activity)
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FINDING A JOB • Search UWG Student Employment for hourly positions. • Ask your academic unit for assistantship positions. • Search jobs with Dine West and UWG Bookstore. • Go to UWG Career Services for assistance with resume writing and interview skills.
STARTING YOUR NEW JOB New and Transfer Students (first semester at UWG) First, be sure you have completed your SEVIS check in with the ISAP office. F-1 Students • Apply for a social security number (if you don't already have one). • Complete your New Hire Packet from UWG Human Resources or any required paperwork from your department. • Make sure to file your U.S. Tax Return (April 15th) by the deadline each year you work. J-1 Students DS-2019 issued by UWG: Government sponsored students: • Complete and submit J-1 On-campus Employment Authorization Form to the ISAP • Resubmit the form again in the future if change or extend the end date of the on-campus employment. • Make sure to file your U.S. Tax Return (April 15th) by the deadline each year you work. DS-2019 not issued by UWG: • Contact your J-1 program sponsor to receive permission to engage in on-campus employment. • Submit the on-campus employment authorization letter to the UWG, so that we can keep it on your record. • Make sure to file your U.S. Tax Return (April 15th) by the deadline each year you work.
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CURRICULAR PRACTICAL TRAINING (CPT) WHAT IS CPT Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is a type of offcampus employment authorization for F-1 students who must complete an internship course in order to graduate from their current degree program. • Employment starts at the beginning of the semester or summer session and completes at end of the semester or summer session. • The use of CPT does not impact eligibility for Optional Practical Training (OPT) unless your use more than 12 months of full-time CPT. When you use 12 month of full-time CPT, you will not be eligible for OPT.
CPT ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS You must have been enrolled in school full-time for one year on valid F-1 status (except for graduate students where the program requires immediate CPT) The CPT employment must be an integral part of your degree program or requirement for a course for which you receive academic credit You must have received a job offer that qualifies before you submit your CPT authorization request Your job offer must be in your major or field of study
WHEN TO APPLY You can apply once you enroll in the internship class as well as other necessary classes and have all the necessary documents. There is no deadline, but we are not able to guarantee processing of your application before your employment start day if the application is submitted at the last minute. ISAP processing time is 10-14 business days.
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HOW TO APPLY Enroll in the internship course. In the fall and the spring semester, enroll in other necessary classes. Register full-time (9 for graduate students and 12 for undergraduate students). Classes cannot be taken through online or distance education. Submit your CPT application.
HOUR RESTRICTIONS • Up to 20 hours per week during Fall and Spring Semesters • Up to 40 hours per week during Summer Sessions Regardless of whether you are approved for full or part-time on CPT, there is no limit to how long you can work. However, if you work full-time on CPT for 12 months or more, you are not eligible for OPT. If you work part-time on CPT, or full-time on CPT for less than 12 months, you are still eligible for all of your allowable OPT. So make sure you watch the dates and hours closely – don’t jeopardize your OPT!
CPT I-20 APPLICATION Submit your CPT application to ISAP. Your application should include: • Academic advisor or departmental letter (if applicable), printed on official letterhead (use this template or department form, if applicable). • Employer letter, printed on official letterhead. • Photocopy of your passport valid for at least six months into the future. • Photocopy of recent I-94 arrival record. Students will either have a paper I-94 card or will have an electronic I-94 record. If you have an electronic I-94 record, you can find it at i94.cbp.dhs.gov/. CPT applications are reviewed on a case-by-case basis. You may receive an email or call from the ISAP for additional requirements or immigration advisement. • Complete documents will be adjudicated within 10-14 working days. Requesting additional documentation or advising appointments will add more days to the processing time. • You will receive an email notification from ISAP to pick up the processed CPT application. CPT applications must be picked up in-person as you will need to sign the CPT agreement form.
CPT EMPLOYMENT 1. You should begin employment on the CPT start date on your I-20. Your employer will likely request certain documents from you, including your CPT I-20, passport, I-94 and social security card. Every employer has their own policies, so please follow their instructions. 2. Apply for a Social Security Number (if you do not already have one) • You will be able to apply for a Social Security Number (SSN) after your CPT is approved and you have received your CPT I20. • You will not be able to apply for a SSN more than 30 days prior to the employment start date listed on your I-20. • You will need to apply for a SSN through the social security card center. Bring the following information to a social security card center: Original offer letter from your employer Completed SSN application form Passport I-94 CPT I-20 Visit ssa.gov for more information. If you need a ride to the local Social Security office, contact the ISAP office for help.
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OPTIONAL PRACTICAL TRAINING
WHAT IS PRE-COMPLETION OPT? Pre-OPT is a work benefit opportunity to gain off-campus work experience and is requested to be used before the completion of a degree program. • F-1 students are eligible for a total of 12 months of OPT per degree program (pre- or post-OPT). • Students must complete one full academic year (fall/spring or spring/fall) in their current degree program to be eligible to apply for pre-OPT. • Students must be registered at UWG for the semester they wish to pursue pre-OPT. • The proposed employment must be in the student’s field of study and commensurate with educational level. • Time requested and approved is subtracted in half from the full 12-month OPT benefit (e.g., 4 months of approved part-time pre-OPT subtracts 2 months of OPT, 2 months of approved part-time pre-OPT subtracts 1 month of OPT), except for full-time pre-OPT during the summer break. • Students may work up to 20 hours per week during the semester (part-time) and up to 40 hours per week during summer break (full-time). • A separate application and fee must be submitted for each semester. • Students are not authorized to work until they receive their EAD card in the mail. • Graduate students who have completed all course requirements (including all required thesis or dissertation hours), but will be in a continued registration course until their defense date, may apply for pre-OPT and will be authorized to work up to 40 hours per week. • Unemployment time is not a factor during pre-OPT. Reporting employment is not required. If 12 months of full-time Curricular Practical Training (CPT) have been used, the student will not be eligible for Pre-OPT or Post-OPT.
WHEN TO APPLY FOR PRE-OPT ISAP recommends applying for pre-OPT at least 104 days prior to your requested start date of employment. This will allow the ISAP 10 to 14 days to process your application and will allow USCIS their standard 90 days to process your application.
HOW TO APPLY FOR PRE-OPT Fill out the OPT Application. Both sections 1 and 2 must be filled out before we can issue your new I-20. Make an appointment with the ISAP office. We will review your OPT request form and assist you with putting together your OPT packet to mail to USCIS. Read the Pre-OPT Appointment Section below and prepare the paperwork listed.
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PRE-OPT APPOINTMENT Bring the following information to your OPT appointment with the ISAP office: Complete the OPT Application Current and all previous I-20s Passport 2 Passport Style Photos (requirements can be found here) Money order or personal check for $410.00 payable to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Previous EAD cards (if applicable) At your OPT appointment with the ISAP office, you will fill out two forms, receive a copy of your new I-20 with OPT recommendation, and discuss the mailing requirements to the USCIS office.
COMPLETED OPT PACKETS Before you mail off the OPT packet, and ISAP member will go over the required documents with you. Below is a list of the documents that will be included in your packet. Pre-OPT Application Checklist Form G-1145 Form I-765 (completed in blue ink) Personal check or money order for $410.00 (payable to U.S. Department of Homeland Security) 2 Passport style photos (printed name and I-94 number on back) Copy of most recent I-94 Record Copy of OPT Recommendation I-20, signed by both DSO and student Copies of all previous I-20s Copy of biographical page and visa page of passport Copies of any previous EAD cards, if applicable
WHAT TO EXPECT AFTER APPLYING Students will receive a Notice of Action (i.e., receipt notice) from the USCIS within four weeks of filing the application. If you do not receive a receipt notice from the USCIS within four weeks, please email ISAP to follow up on your application status. The receipt number printed on the receipt notice will allow students to track their application progress using the USCIS website. It takes approximately 90 days to process an OPT application. If the application is still processing after 90 days, a case inquiry with USCIS regarding their delay in processing times can be submitted. The U.S. Post Office will not forward the EAD card to a new address, and will not mail the EAD card to the address on the I-765. If you have a new address, the address must be updated with the USCIS.
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OPTIONAL PRACTICAL TRAINING WHAT IS POST OPT? Post-OPT is a work benefit opportunity that allows students to gain off-campus work experience and is requested to be used after the completion of a degree program. F-1 students are eligible for a total of 12 months of OPT per degree program (pre- or post-OPT). Post-OPT is requested after the completion of the student’s degree program. The proposed employment must be in the student’s field of study and commensurate with educational level. Students must work at least 20 hours per week. Any approved part-time pre-OPT time will be deducted from the available post-OPT time in half if used during the semester, in full if used during the summer break. Undergraduate students will use their commencement date as their degree program completion date for post-OPT. Graduate students who have a determined project, thesis, or dissertation defense date will use that date as their degree program completion date for post-OPT. Graduate students who have a comprehensive exam will use the comprehensive exam results date as their degree program completion date for post-OPT. Students are not authorized to work until they receive their EAD card in the mail. Students are allowed 90 days of cumulative unemployment during post-OPT and will lose their employment eligibility if they go beyond that amount. If 12 months of full-time Curricular Practical Training (CPT) have been used, the student will not be eligible for Pre-OPT or PostOPT.
WHEN TO APPLY FOR OPT Students can apply for OPT up to 90 days before they graduate or up to day 60 after they graduate. Applications must be received by USCIS before your 60 day grace period has ended, and your proposed OPT start date must also begin before the end of your 60 day grace period.
WHEN TO APPLY FOR OPT Students can apply for OPT up to 90 days before they graduate or up to day 60 after they graduate. Applications must be received by USCIS before your 60 day grace period has ended, and your proposed OPT start date must also begin before the end of your 60 day grace period.
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HOW TO APPLY FOR OPT 1
FILL OUT THE OPT APPLICATION
MAKE AN OPT APPOINTMENT WITH THE ISAP OFFICE
READ THE POST-OPT APPOINTMENT SECTION AND PREPARE THE PAPERWORK LISTED
BRING THE FOLLOWING TO YOUR OPT APPOINTMENT Complete the OPT Application Current and all previous I-20s Passport 2 Passport Style Photos (requirements can be found here) Money order or personal check for $410.00 payable to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Previous EAD cards (if applicable)
COMPLETED OPT PACKETS Post-OPT Application Checklist Form G-1145 Form I-765 (completed in blue ink) Personal check or money order for $410.00 (payable to U.S. Department of Homeland Security) 2 Passport style photos (printed name and I-94 number on back) Copy of most recent I-94 Record Copy of OPT Recommendation I-20, signed by both DSO and student Copies of all previous I-20s Copy of biographical page and visa page of passport Copies of any previous EAD cards, if applicable
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WHAT TO EXPECT AFTER APPLYING Students will receive a Notice of Action (i.e., receipt notice) from USCIS within four weeks of filing the application. If a receipt notice from USCIS is not received within four weeks, please email ISAP to follow up on the matter. The receipt number printed on the receipt notice will allow the student to track their application progress using the USCIS website. It will take approximately 90 days to process the OPT application. If the studentâ€™s application is still processing after 90 days, they may submit a case inquiry with USCIS regarding their delay in processing times. The U.S. Post Office will not forward the EAD card to a new address, and will not mail the EAD card to the address on the I765. If you have a new address, the address must be updated with USCIS.
TRAVELING WHILE OPT IS PENDINGÂ Before the completion of your academic program, the usual procedures for travel still apply. After completion of your academic program, the guidance for travel is related to whether your OPT has been approved yet or not. If your post-completion OPT has not been approved and you do not have a job or a job offer, you may leave and then re-enter the U.S. to continue to look for employment. In order to have the best chance of re-entering the U.S. without problems when your post-completion OPT is pending, you should travel with the following documents: Passport (valid for six months after you plan to re-enter the U.S) Valid F-1 visa stamp in your passport (this requirement does not apply to Canadian citizens) I-20 (with a travel signature no older than six months *) I-765 receipt notice (Form I-797) If you need to apply for a new F-1 visa when your post-completion OPT application is pending, you should also be sure to have your I-765 receipt notice (Form I-797) in addition to the usual documents required for a visa application.
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TRAVELING AFTER OPT IS APPROVED Before the completion of your academic program, the usual procedures for travel still apply. After completion of your academic program, the guidance for travel is related to whether your OPT has been approved yet or not. If your post-completion OPT has been approved (EAD card has been issued by USCIS) and you have a job or a job offer, you may leave and re-enter the U.S. in order to begin or resume employment. After USCIS has issued an EAD card for post-completion OPT, in order to have the best chance of re-entering the U.S. without problems, you should be sure you have the following documents: Passport (valid for six months after you plan to re-enter the U.S.) Valid F-1 visa stamp in your passport (this requirement does not apply to Canadian citizens) I-20 (with a valid travel signature no older than six months*) EAD card Evidence that you already have a job in the U.S. or that you have a job offer. If you need to apply for a new F-1 visa, you should also be sure to have your EAD card and evidence that you already have a job in the U.S. or that you have a job offer in addition to the usual documents required for a visa application. * Regulations state that during post-completion OPT, the travel signature should be no older than six months. ISAP recommends while on post-completion OPT that you get a valid travel signature every six months. Source: 8CFR214.2(f)(13)(ii) If a student who has an EAD card but does not yet have a job or a job offer leaves the US during the post-completion OPT period, OPT ends. Border officials might not allow someone in this situation to re-enter the U.S. Thus, students who do not have a U.S. job or a U.S. job offer but who plan to leave and re-enter the U.S. after their EAD card has been issued (their OPT has been approved by USCIS) are taking a risk.
OPTIONS AFTER OPT You are allowed a 60-day grace period following your OPT expiration date to leave the U.S., change your status, transfer your F1 to a new school, or pursue new degree program at UWG. Pursing an H1-B Visa The H-1B visa status is a temporary, nonimmigrant, employer-specific category for professionals in specialty occupations in the USA. The H-1B employment authorization category applies to foreign workers of “distinguished merit and ability” who are brought to the United States temporarily to perform services in a “specialty occupation” which requires theoretical and practical application of a body of highly specialized knowledge. H1B Eligibility H1B visa is issued for a specialty occupation including but not limited to the fields of science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics, requires a theoretical and practical application of a body of such specialized knowledge and requires the visa holder to have a Bachelor's degree or its equivalent at a minimum. H-1B work-authorization is restricted to employment by the sponsoring employer. H1B Visa Stamping & Interview Once the H1B petition is approved and a consequent visa interview with an applicable US consulate or embassy is successful you get the H1 visa stamp on your passport.
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H1B CAP GAP EXTENSIONÂ The H-1B cap-gap extension allows F-1 students currently on post-completion OPT to continue working if they have a timelyfiled H-1B petition requesting change of status and an employment start date of October 1 (the first day of the following fiscal year). An automatic cap-gap extension of an F-1 student's duration of status also applies to the duration of status of the student's dependents in F-2 status. "Cap-gap" has become the common term used to refer to the "gap" in nonimmigrant status that occurs in a change of status to H-1B, when a student's current nonimmigrant status expires before the requested H-1B start date. For example, an F-1 student with an post-completion OPT end date of June 30 will have duration of status for 60 days beyond that, until August 30. The gap between August 30 and October 1 is a "cap-gap." Who qualifies for an H-1B cap-gap extension? Students must have a timely-filed H-1B petition while the student's authorized F-1 duration of status (D/S) admission was still in effect. This includes: Students working on post-completion OPT with an end date on or later than April 1 and have a timely-filed H-1B petition. Students on post-completion OPT may continue to work until 9/30 until the H1B begins on 10/1. Students who are currently in their grace period with a timely-filed H-1B petition. These students may stay in the U.S. until the H-1B begins on 10/1, but are not eligible to work during this time. The student must not have violated the terms or conditions of his or her F-1 status. Is there an application or fee for the cap-gap extension? No. The extension is automatically recorded on your SEVIS record. How do I get an updated I-20 showing the cap-gap extension? You may request a cap-gap extension I-20 from ISAP to present to your employer. You will be required to upload a copy of a receipt notice from USCIS showing that your application for the H1-B was filed in a timely manner and is being adjudicated. Within five business days, an international student advisor will process your request. Do I have to have a new I-20 showing the cap-gap extension? No. The cap-gap extension is automatic as long as you have timely-filed H-1B petition. However, some employers request evidence of work authorization or you may be applying for benefits (i.e. renewing a drivers license) that may require a reprint.
GRACE PERIODS & EARLY COMPLETION OR CHANGE OF STATUSÂ If you decide to leave the US before your OPT expiration date, please report to the ISAP so that we can update your record accordingly. This update will invalidate your OPT employment authorization and your OPT I-20 and EAD card will be no longer valid. If you change your status before your OPT expiration date, please report to the ISAP so that we can update your record accordingly.
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STEM EXTENSION (SCIENCE, ENGINEERING,
TECHNOLOGY AND MATH) WHAT IS THE STEM EXTENSION? The 24-Month STEM OPT Extension is an additional benefit from United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) that allows international students in F-1 status who receive a bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degree in an approved STEM field to apply for a 24-month extension of their standard 12-month Post-OPT period, twice in a lifetime. This allows international students, the opportunity to gain additional offcampus work experience in their field of study after completion of course studies. F-1 student must currently be participating in a 12month OPT, working for a U.S. employer in a job directly related to your major area of study. F-1 student must have successfully completed a bachelor's, master’s, or doctoral program, or have completed all course requirements for a master’s or doctoral program but are still completing a thesis or dissertation in a STEM field included in the STEM Designated Degree Program List. To find out if your program is in the STEM list, look for the CIP code on your I-20 under the section entitled PROGRAM OF STUDY listed under MAJOR. F1 student prospective employer must be registered with the eVerify Employment Verification System. Students must work at least 20 hours per week. With the new 24-month STEM extension ruling of May 10, 2016, volunteer, unpaid, staffing agency, labor for-hire arrangements, or self-employment positions are not eligible for STEM OPT extensions. Read Federal Register for more information on the new ruling. Students are allowed 150 days of cumulative unemployment days during the post-OPT and STEM OPT 24-Month Extension periods. Periods of unemployment occur when students have a valid EAD card and are allowed to work but are not working. Student will lose their employment eligibility if they go beyond that amount.
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HOW TO APPLY STEM EXTENSION 1
SUBMIT THE FOLLOWING MATERIALS TO THE ISAP OFFICE Form I-983 completed by both you and your employer. Use the link to the right to get a prefilled form, or input the information below: DSO Contact Name and Information: Brandy Rivera firstname.lastname@example.org 1601 Maple Street, Carrollton, GA 30118 SEVIS School Code of School Recommending STEM OPT: ATL214F00247000 A copy of your current passport biography page and visa (must be valid for at least 6 months into the future.) Copy of your most recent I-94 record. Copies of all prior Employment Authorization Document (EAD) cards, front and back.
REQUEST OFFICIAL TRANSCRIPTS FROM THE REGISTRAR'S OFFICE Transcripts are processed by the Enrollment Services Center and they are available through the following ordering methods: myUWG (currently enrolled students only) BanWeb (currently enrolled students or former students that have attended UWG since 1998) Clearinghouse (former students that have not attended UWG since 1998, any student requesting an official transcript in PDF form) Instructions can be found on the Registrar's website (westga.edu/registrar)
MAKE ARRANGEMENTS TO GET YOUR STEM OPT I-20 The ISAP office will send you an email detailing any information you need to add to your application. We will also make arrangements with you on how you want to receive your new I-20 during this time. After reviewing the material listed above the International Student Admissions & Programs Office will make a recommendation for STEM OPT in SEVIS and prepare an I-20 indicating the recommendation for STEM OPT extension, located on Page 3 of I-20 form.
SUBMIT YOUR STEM EXTENSION APPLICATION TO USCIS Once you receive your new I-20, submit the application to USCIS as soon as possible. USCIS must receive the application no later than 60 days after the issuance of the new I-20. Additionally, the application must also be received before the end of the 12-month OPT expiration date. See the next section for a complete list of everything that should be included for your STEM OPT Extension packet. Send a copy of your EAD card to the ISAP office. You can upload this to our website. westga.edu/isap/opt Be sure not note all of the check in dates that you are required to complete. We will send a copy of your I-983 back to you for your records.
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COMPLETED STEM OPT EXTENSION PACKETS Form G-1145 Form I-765 (completed in blue ink) Copies of current and previous I-20s (including your new STEM OPT I-20) Proof of degree (official transcripts are recommended) A copy of your current passport biography page and visa (must be valid for at least 6 months into the future.) Copy of your most recent I-94 record. Copies of all prior Employment Authorization Document (EAD) cards, front and back. 2 Passport-style photos (print name and I-94 number on back in pencil) Money order or check for $410, payable to U.S. Department of Homeland Security Copies of all previous EAD cards USCIS Mailing Address and Instructions If you are in one of the following states, use the address below: Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Alabama, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Mississippi, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, U.S. Virgin Islands, or West Virginia. If the state you put on the Form I-765 is not on this list, refer to the different mailing instructions for F-1 OPT applications in the I-765 Instructions.
US POSTAL SERVICE ADDRESS
EXPRESS MAIL & COURIER SERVICES
P.O. Box 660867
Dallas, TX 75266
2501 S. State Highway 121 Business Suite 400 Lewisville, TX 75067
WHAT TO EXPECT AFTER APPLYING Students will receive a Notice of Action (i.e., receipt notice) from USCIS within four weeks of filing the application. If a receipt notice from USCIS is not received within four weeks, please email ISAP to follow up on the matter. The receipt number printed on the receipt notice will allow the student to track their application progress using the USCIS website. It will take approximately 90 days to process the OPT application. If the student’s application is still processing after 90 days, they may submit a case inquiry with USCIS regarding their delay in processing times. Generally, USCIS will mail EAD card to the address on the I-765. If you requested the U.S. Post Office for mail forwarding, the USCIS mail including EAD card will not be forwarded to the new address. If you have a new address after you submitted I-765 to USCIS, please update your new address with USCIS via https://www.uscis.gov/ar-11 and update your information with the ISAP office.
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TIPS FOR STEM OPT EXTENSIONS Sign the STEM OPT I-20 on page 1, under Student Attestation. Fill out and sign the I-765 in blue ink and between two lines only (Do not touch the signature line below or words above when signing. USCIS will scan the signature to put it onto the EAD card). Include two passport-style, color photos with a white background taken no earlier than 30 days before submitting to USCIS (follow the instructions on the I-765). Lightly print the student’s name and I-94 admission number on the back of each passport-style photo with a pencil. Do not staple them together. Fill out a personal check or money order. Including the date, payable to the Department of Homeland Security and write the amount in numbers ($410.00) and words (four hundred ten dollars and 00/100), and must be signed. Follow the mailing instructions and checklist provided by ISAP when picking up the STEM OPT packet. If a change of address is unavoidable, you must inform the USCIS and ISAP of the new address by filing an online change of address with USCIS. Also update your address at MyUWG. If for any reason you receive your materials back from USCIS or the postal/shipping service, do not resend the materials. Double check the signature dates on the I-20 and contact ISAP immediately if you need a new or updated form I-20 for the resubmission of the application. I-765 application should be resent no later than 20 days after the ISAP signature on the I-20.
MAINTAINING F-1 STATUS WHILE ON STEM OPT EXTENSION While on 24-Month OPT STEM Extension, students must continue to maintain F-1 status and STEM OPT complete reporting requirements by doing the following: Submit a copy of the EAD card, report student information changes, and report employment status to ISAP. Do not exceed the 150 day aggregate period of cumulative unemployment allowed during the post-OPT/STEM OPT Extension periods (periods of unemployment occur when students have a valid EAD card and are allowed to work but are not working). Report to the ISAP within 10 days any changes in name, address, employer’s name and address, and updated status or interruption of employment. Update LOCAL address through MyUWG within 10 days of move. When changing employment while on a 24-month OPT STEM Extension, students must submit a new Form I-983 from the new employer to ISAP. Report to ISAP every six months to verify current address and employment information. Complete two self-evaluations during the course of their 24-Month OPT STEM Extension period, which are on page 5 of the Form I-983. The first one within 12 months of the STEM OPT start date and a second at the end of the STEM OPT period. Evaluations must be signed by the student and their immediate supervisor, and then submitted to ISAP. Check MyUWG and your UWG email account on a regular basis for immigration updates.
GRACE PERIODS & EARLY COMPLETION OR CHANGE OF STATUS If you decide to leave the US before your OPT expiration date, please report to the ISAP so that we can update your record accordingly. This update will invalidate your STEM OPT employment authorization and your STEM OPT I-20 and EAD card will be no longer valid. If you change your status before your OPT expiration date, please report to the ISAP so that we can update your record accordingly.
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WHAT IS SEVERE ECONOMIC HARDSHIP? If other employment opportunities are not available or are otherwise insufficient, an eligible F-1 student may request employment authorization based on severe economic hardship caused by unforeseen circumstances beyond the student's control. These circumstances may include a loss of financial aid or on-campus employment without fault on the part of the student, substantial fluctuations in the value of currency or exchange rate, inordinate increases in tuition and /or living costs, or unexpected changes in the financial condition of the student's source of support, medical bills, or other substantial and unexpected expenses.
ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA You have been in F-1 status for one full academic year You are in good academic standing and are taking a full course load Employment will not interfere with your studies You can demonstrate that the employment is necessary to avoid severe economic hardship due to unforeseen economic circumstances beyond your control
DOCUMENTATION NEEDED TO APPLY FOR ECONOMIC HARDSHIP A completed and signed Severe Economic Hardship Request Form. A personal statement describing the unforeseen hardship situation and, if possible, attach backup documentation; for example, news articles, a letter from home telling of a change in family circumstances or proof of a currency devaluation in your country, etc. Completed Form I-765, using the code (C)(3)(iii) at item 16. Do not date the form until you are ready to send the application to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Copies of your current and previous I-20s Copy of paper or print-out of electronic Form I-94 Copy of your F-1 visa page (except Canadians) or I-797 (approval of change of status to F-1), if applicable Copy of your unofficial transcript available from MyUWG
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HOW TO APPLY FOR SEVERE ECONOMIC HARDSHIP 1
SCHEDULE AN APPOINTMENT WITH THE ISAP OFFICE, AND BRING THE DOCUMENTS LISTED IN "DOCUMENTS NEEDED TO APPLY" TO YOUR APPOINTMENT.
ISAP ADVISORS WILL REVIEW YOUR DOCUMENTS WITH YOU AND DISCUSS YOUR CIRCUMSTANCES AND OPTIONS
THE ISAP ADVISOR WILL SEND YOUR REQUEST TO SEVIS ELECTRONICALLY, AND GENERATE AT NEW SEVIS I-20. THE RECOMMENDATION WILL BE WRITTEN ON PAGE 2 OF YOUR NEW I-20.
SIGN YOUR NAME ON THE I-20
SEND YOUR REQUEST TO USCIS. REFER TO SUBMITTING THE APPLICATION BELOW.
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SUBMITTING YOUR SEVERE ECONOMIC HARDSHIP APPLICATION TO USCISÂ Once you have requested a Severe Economic Hardship Employment recommendation and received your new I-20 from ISAP, you will need to prepare and submit the following list of items to USCIS: A copy of the new I-20 with employment recommendation Copies of your previous I-20(s) Copy of paper or print-out of electronic Form I-94 Copy of your passport page showing your biographical information and the expiration date Copy of your F-1 visa page (except Canadians) or I-797 (approval of change of status to F-1), if applicable Form I-765 and the base fee Two full-face passport style photos. The photos must be identical and in color with a plain background. They must be no more than 30 days old when the I-765 is filed to USCIS. Photos can be obtained at U-M Photo Services . Put photos in an envelope. You should attach the fee and the photo envelope on top of the entire application (on the upper left-hand corner). Please do not staple the fee and the photos. The personal statement along with any other supporting documents, if available.
MAILING TO USCIS Send your complete request to USCIS at the following location: USCIS Service Center P.O. Box 87765 Lincoln, NE 68501-7765 NOTE: The U.S. Postal Service is the only service that delivers to a P.O. Box address. You may want to send your application via express (next day) mail.
EMPLOYMENT AUTHORIZATION CARD (EAD) If the application is approved, USCIS will issue an EAD (Employment Authorization Document) to you. If the application is denied, you will be notified by USCIS in writing. You may not begin employment until you have received the EAD and the dates are valid. Authorization is granted in one-year intervals up to the expected date of completion of studies. You may work part time while school is in session and full time during official university holidays.
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