F-1 OPT & STEM OPT Information for KU employer
F-1 Optional Practical Training (OPT)
F-1 Option Practical Training (OPT) is normally 12 months of work authorization and is typically used by a F-1 international student who just graduated with a degree from a U.S. college or university. To begin work the employee must present a valid Employment Authorization Document (EAD) card issued by USCIS. OPT employment is required to be related to the student's degree program.
The employee should already be working with the international office from their degree granting university. It can take 3-5 months for the employee to get an EAD card from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.
This is an interesting type of work authorization in that the employer has no responsibility to maintain the employee's immigration status in the United States. The maintenance of status is performed by the employee and their degree granting institution. If the employee graduated from KU, then the International Support Services office would continue to advise the graduated student and help them maintain their immigration status. OPT employment may be paid or unpaid, full-time or part-time, and includes self-employment.
OPT Premium Processing Service
US Citizenship and Immigration Services recently started premium processing service (form I-907) for an I-765 petition to apply for Optional Practical Training (OPT).
As of April 2023, the current fee is $1,500.
Premium processing provides expedited processing on Form I-765 for an additional governmental fee. In exchange for the additional fee, USCIS guarantees that it will take some adjudicative action (approval, denial, request for evidence, notice of intent to deny) within 30 calendar days.
If the application requires the submission of additional evidence or a response to a notice of intent to deny, the 30-day premium processing period will stop and reset. A new premium processing period will begin when USCIS receives a response to the request for evidence or notice of intent to deny.
Once the I-765 petition is approved, an employment authorization document is issued by USCIS and then mailed to the applicant. It usually takes more than one week to print and mail the card.
As a reminder, Optional Practical Training is a flexible work authorization. The international student is not restricted in where they may work. If you decide to pay this fee, and OPT is approved, the student may use this work authorization to work at a different employer.
How long does the standard OPT petition take, without premium processing service?
Historically we have seen the I-765 petition take as little as 5-6 weeks to longer than 5 months. With the start of premium processing service, we are now seeing 3 - 4 months as the average processing period for I-765 petition without premium processing service. USCIS considers 3 months the standard period for this type of petition and the applicant is not able to submit an inquiry until after 4 months of processing.
Can a KU department pay this fee?
There is no mandate for KU to pay this fee. If you would like to pay this fee, then reimbursement is the recommended method. Please do not share you P-card information with a student.
F-1 STEM OPT Extension
F-1 students who hold degrees in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) may be eligible to apply for an additional 24 months of Optional Practical Training (OPT), for a total of 36 months. Only students who have completed degrees in a STEM designated field qualify for this extension. Please contact your degree granting university's international office to find out if your degree program is eligible for STEM OPT. In addition to having completed a degree in a STEM field of study, you must have a job offer or be working for an employer registered with "E-Verify," a federal employment verification system, and you and your employer must complete the Form I-983, Training Plan for STEM OPT students.
If you continue your employment at KU by using STEM OPT, then your KU Dean, Chair, Director, or supervisor should complete and sign Form I-983, Training Plan for STEM OPT students (pdf). They are referred to as the "employer" on Form I-983. The employer should complete and sign several sections of the form (section 3, section 4, and section 6). Please follow the instructions below for instructions on several fields in section 3.
University of Kansas E-Verify Number: 264014
Section 3: Employer Information
- Employer Name: The University of Kansas
- Employer Address: 1450 Jayhawk Boulevard, Lawrence, Kansas 66045
- Employer Website URL: www.ku.edu
- Employer ID Number (EIN): 48-1124839
- Number of Full-Time Employees in U.S.: 10,089
- North American Industry Classification System Code: 611310
- Start Date of Employment (or Start date of STEM OPT; whichever is later)
Please note that International Support Service staff cannot prepare or sign the Form I-983 on behalf of KU.