New OPT Maintenance of Status Fee
Updated February 11, 2020
During your studies as an F-1 student at Fordham University, you received a fee $120 per year for the purposes of maintaining your status, funding programming and providing additional staffing at OIS. Once you complete your studies, such charges stop, but, as you know, if you apply for OPT after graduation you remain under our F-1 sponsorship and continually receive our services. Currently at OIS, we serve more F-1 students receiving OPT benefits than our entire current international undergraduate population.
As a consequence of this increased demand for services, starting February 18, 2020, we will introduce a new OPT Maintenance of Status Fee to enhance our staff and services responding to the great expansion of our international population and provide advising to you in a complex and dynamic regulatory environment. As of February 18, 2020, OIS will implement this OPT Maintenance of Status Fee at the following rates:
Thank you for your understanding and support.
F-1 students who have completed bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees in certain STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) fields may be eligible for an additional 24-month STEM extension of post-completion OPT (for a total eligibility of up to 36 months). The 24-month Stem Extension OPT is approved by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
If you believe your area of study is classified as a STEM field, you can contact an OIS advisor via email and OIS will verify your eligibility.
- Must currently be on post-completion OPT and working for a U.S. employer in a job related to your major area of study
- Verified completion of a degree on the STEM Designated Degree Programs List.
- Job offer must be from an E-verify employer and employment is directly related to field of study. Volunteering and self-employment will not qualify
- Must file STEM application before current OPT ends
- You agree to report to OIS any termination of your employment
Please also note that F-1 students must be in the United States to apply and submit an application for the STEM Extension.
How to Apply for STEM Extension
The earliest that students can apply is 90 days before the end of the current OPT. OIS will not honor an application submitted to our office any sooner than 90 days before the end of the current OPT.
It is recommended that the latest that students should submit their applications to OIS is no less than 30 days before the current OPT ends.
Please note that upon your submission of your application documents to OIS for processing, the entire remote STEM Extension application process from (1) your submission to us, to (2) us mailing the documents back to you, to (3) you taking action on the documents and mailing the final packet to USCIS, takes approximately three weeks. Therefore, it is important to submit your documents allowing at least three weeks for you to receive them and mail then to USCIS. Do not wait until the last minute to apply, otherwise it is not guaranteed that you will be able to submit the documents within the timeframe for STEM Extension eligibility.
Step 1: Pay the STEM Extension Maintenance of Status Fee
Before proceeding with preparing your documents, you must pay the STEM Extension Maintenance of Status Fee.
When you proceed to the respective links below for payment, please click the grey 'Sign In' button at the bottom of the payment page to sign in with your Fordham credentials. DO NOT make a new account. We suggest that you read the tutorial before paying to ensure that there are no issues with your payment process, which could be either delaying your application or cause multiple payments.
Click GBA if you are graduating from Gabelli Business School - Graduate Division.
Click Non-GBA if you are graduating from any other school at Fordham (including Gabelli School of Business - Undergraduate Division).
It is very important that you complete this step first, otherwise we will be unable to process your application for you.
Please print and keep a copy of your STEM Extension Fee Confirmation page available for reference, and bring it with you when you come to OIS for an appointment to prepare your application.
Step 2: Follow the STEM Extension Application Guidelines in the Payment Confirmation Email from OIS
Upon your payment, you should receive a Payment Confirmation email from firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line “Thank You for Paying Your STEM Extension Maintenance of Status Fee & Next Steps."
Download and read our STEM Extension application guidelines that you will receive in the Payment Confirmation email thoroughly.
Step 3: Prepare & Submit Documents via Online Remote STEM Extension Submission Portal
All OIS Appointments Cancelled In Wake of Coronavirus, Remote STEM Extension Document Submission In Effect Immediately
Updated March 11, 2020
As you may know, the university took the significant step of suspending face-to-face instruction on all Fordham’s New York-area campuses because the university wants to reduce potential pathways for community spread of COVID-19 on campus. The University will also curtail some on-campus operations and redirect specific personnel to work remotely rather than coming to campus. As of this moment, there are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 at Fordham.
Given the current situation, OIS will be moving toward the "work remotely" option and will be suspending in person appointments for the time being. However, please note that we will still be providing services remotely to meet the needs of the international students. More information from the Director will be coming forward.
If you are applying for STEM Extension, please access the online remote STEM Extension Portal for document submission here:
To access the Online Remote Portal: Please sign into your Fordham email, otherwise you will not be able to access the form. The form must verify that you are a Fordham student. Please also use private browsing or an incognito window if you have another personal Gmail account signed into your browser, since most likely, any other Gmail account that is not your Fordham email will override your permission settings for viewing the form.
OIS advisors will be reviewing and handling these cases as soon as possible.
Please note that F-1 students must be in the United States to apply and submit an application for the STEM Extension, as listed under the Eligibility Requirements for STEM Extension.
Once you apply online, and pay for the shipping option, we will notify you once your prepared OPT application package is in the mail to you, which you will send to USCIS.
Let OIS know if you have any more questions.
Please Note: If you are paying the STEM Extension Maintenance of Status Fee through a different method or are having trouble with payment, please contact OIS regarding this at email@example.com. The subject line of your email to should list “Your Family Name, Your First Name, Fordham ID Number - STEM Extension Maintenance of Status Fee Issue”.
Any additional questions regarding the STEM Extension application process can be messaged to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The employment authorization for approved STEM OPT begins on the day after the post-completion OPT expires and ends 24 months later, regardless of the date the extension is actually approved by USCIS. The authorization is in the form of an Employment Authorization Document from USCIS.
Working While the Application is Pending
A student who has filed a timely application for the STEM OPT extension may continue to work while the application is pending, until a final decision is made on the application by USCIS or it has been pending 180 days with USCIS, whichever comes first.
Travel While on STEM Extension
To re-enter the U.S. while on STEM you should have the following documents with you:
- STEM extension I-20 with page 3 endorsed for travel; signature should not be less than 6 months old
- Valid F-1 visa
- Valid passport
- STEM extension EAD card
- Job offer letter (recommended not required)
Reporting Requirements on STEM
To maintain F-1 status while on STEM extension, you agree to report to OIS within 10 days any of the following changes:
- Current job's Employer Identification Number (EIN)
- Name of current employer
- Employer's address
- Job title
- Employer end date
- You are ending your current job and want to ADD a new employer
- Current employer's name, address or phone number
You may submit these STEM OPT employment changes by going to the OIS Employment Change Alert Portal.
You also agree to validate directly to an OIS Advisor every 6 months while on STEM extension the following information: your current employer name/address and/or loss of employment, and your current local U.S address. You may submit these STEM OPT validation reports and/or evaluations by going to our STEM OPT Employment Validation Report Portal.
You must submit to OIS two self-evaluations (page 5 of the Form I-983) within 10 days of the following due dates:
12 months from STEM OPT start date (TOP part of page 5)
24 months from STEM OPT start date (BOTTOM part of Page 5 says "Final Evaluation")
Process for Changing employer when STEM already is approved (EAD received)
Past employers should complete the Final Evaluation section on Page 5 (of I-983) signed by you and employer submit to OIS.
New employers must complete a new I-983 form. Original I-983 must be submitted to OIS along with a new offer letter of employment with E-verify #listed in the letter (or on the STEM application).
You should complete and sign a new STEM application form.
Make an appointment and turn in all documents to OIS advisor. Or if you can not come to the office, you may scan all documents to an OIS advisor directly. Once documents are reviewed and OK by OIS, you will be contacted. OIS will update in SEVIS your employment end date and add the new STEM employer and print out an updated I-20 for your records. You will notified when it's ready.