4 Two-Step Process Submit Online Request Mail Application Submit on-line OPT request in Axess.Within 5-10 days, you will be notified your OPT endorsed I-20 is ready for pick up.Mail ApplicationPrepare and mail OPT application with all supporting documents to USCIS. (Do not E-file!)USCIS sends a Notice of Action (receipt notice) to confirm the receipt of your application.Within 90 days, USCIS issues the EAD for you to begin working.
5 E-FilingSubmitting the OPT application electronically (E-filing) is strongly discouraged.E-filing is not necessarily a faster process and instead, has caused significant delays and complications for students.E-filing is only recommended if there is not enough time for USCIS to receive your OPT application before your grace period is over.See an advisor if you are considering E-filing.
6 Application Timeline & Duration of Status I-Center provides endorsed I-20DepartureBack to school/CDLTransfer OutChange of statusEAD received from USCIS14 monthsUSCIS processing time 90 days60 days60 days2 weeksDegree Conferral Date12 monthsSubmit req. docs to I-CenterSubmit new I-20* + other docs to USCIS *I-20 < 30 days old.2 w.Start OPT (EAD)EAD expiration dateNotice of Action WAC #
8 OPT Application Instructions: Step 1 Submit online OPT requestLogin to AXESS at with your SUNET ID and password.Click on the “Student” tabAt the bottom of the Student Center page, under the Employment subheading:Select Create Practical Training Application Request and a menu of available F-1 employment types will be displayed.Select Post-Completion OPT and carefully read through the list of Student Eligibility Conditions that you must confirm before selecting “I agree to the above” and “Continue”.Your personal details will auto populate. You may edit your address and under Education Details, select your “Academic Program” if you have multiple active programs.Training Details – Enter your requested start and end dates for OPT. (Choose your dates carefully as it may not be possible to make changes later.) Enter in Describe the Proposed Employment for Practical Training: Employment in the field of study of [name of your major].Employer Details – This field is optional and can be left blank. The employer details will be printed on the I-20 upon issuance of the OPT I-20. Note: A new I-20 will not be printed every time you report a change in employment.Previously authorized employment for Practical Training – A list of your previously endorsed employment will be displayed in this section. If you have any previous Practical Training (i.e. from another school) that is not indicated in this section, please enter the missing information in Comment section at the bottom of the form.Once the form is complete and you certify all the information is correct, you can Submit the form for the I-Center to process. Or, you can Save the form and complete later.
9 OPT Application Instructions: Step 2 Prepare and mail applicationCover letter (see example in next slide)G-1145 E-Notification of Application/Petition Acceptance – (Optional) Submit this one page form to receive an electronic confirmation via and/or text message that USCIS has received your application. The benefit is that you will receive your receipt number upon the receipt of your application in order to track it in the event your Receipt Notice is lost. There is no additional fee. Download and complete the Form G-1145 and clip it to the first page of your application.I-765 (see example in following slides)Fee* – Check or Money OrderVisit USCIS website for current I-765 filing fees. Make sure you enter the exact amount or your application will be returned.Make payment payable to U.S. Department of Homeland SecurityInclude your I-94# (and your name and address if you are using a payment that does not have that information already printed on it).2 Passport photos*Two identical full-frontal color passport photos following US passport photo requirements.Photos must be recent, no more than 30 days old.Photos can be taken at the I-Center’s Overseas Resource Center or at any other location offering passport photo services.Print your name and I-94# on the back of both photos and on the envelope the photos will be placed in.*Attach both the fee and the envelope containing the photos to the I-765 form using paperclips
10 OPT Application Instructions: Step 2 Prepare and mail applicationPhotocopy of passport and visa stamp (if applicable)Staple copy of the biographical page of your valid passport with your latest F-1 visa stamp (if you haveone).If your visa stamp is in your expired passport, only include a copy of the visa page, do not include a copy of the expired passport.Write your I-94# on the first page of this section.Photocopies of all your previous I-20sGather all your previously issued I-20s to make photocopies. If you do not have all your previous I-20s, make a note of which ones you’re missing (especially if they were CPT/OPT I-20s) and list them on your cover page.Staple the photocopies of page one and three of each I-20 together and paperclip all the I-20s together.Write your I-94# across the top of page one of the first photocopied I-20.Photocopy (front and back) of your paper I-94 or printout of your electronic I-94 recordNote: Even if you obtain a new I-94 through travel, you do not need to update it with USCIS.Photocopy of previously issued EAD card(s) (if applicable)Staple both photocopies together and write “Photocopy of front and back of previous EAD based on [degree level]” on page one.Photocopy of any previous USCIS-approved employment authorizations (if applicable)Write your I-94# on the first page of each previous USCIS-approved employment authorization.
11 OPT Application Instructions: I-765 FormDownload the I-765 form :from the USCIS website.Make sure the form is the most current edition by downloading directly from USCIS right before you submit your application.We recommend for you to complete the PDF using Adobe Reader, but the form can be completed by hand (write legibly).Mac Users: We recommend for you to use Safari to open the file, complete the form and print. If you use Firefox, first download the PDF form to your desktop (or ‘Downloads’ folder), then open it with Acrobat Reader 9 or higher (NOT Preview). You cannot open the PDF form from the ‘Download’ window of Firefox.Check the appropriate box for “I am applying for:”Check ONLY one box.Permission to accept employment – if you are a new applicant.Replacement – if you lost your EAD card.Renewal of my permission to accept employment – if you are applying for a STEM extension.Failure to check the appropriate box will result in the application being returned.Download I-765 Form
12 OPT Application Instructions: I-765 Form(SECT 1: NAME) CAPITALIZE your family name only (not your first name).(SECT 3 : ADDRESS) Enter a mailing address where you want your EAD card to be sent (as noted on the cover letter). This should be an address where you can receive mail for at least the next 90 days (we recommend 6 months)*.All correspondence related to your application, including your EAD card, will be sent to this address.Any changes to the mailing address while the OPT application is pending may result in significant delays. Either a Request for Evidence (RFE) from USCIS (which requires your timely response) or the EAD may be lost in the mail. (Even if the OPT is approved, you may not begin working until you receive the EAD).If sending to your friend’s address, please indicate “in care of” by entering c/o [your friend’s name]*If you will be moving within the next days, we recommend that you have your card sent to either your P.O. Box or a friend’s address (somewhere in California). Typical processing times can be up to 90 days or longer!Change in I-765 Address While Application is Pending: You must file an online Form AR-11 within 10 days of the change to notify USCIS: USCIS Online Change of Address,https://egov.uscis.gov/crisgwi/go?action=coa. You should also send an to the I-Center , so we can follow up with USCIS on your behalf.Don’t forget that any changes to your residential address (independent of your I-765 mailing address) requires you to update your address in Axess within 10 days of moving (as required by law).Download I-765 Form
13 OPT Application Instructions: I-765 Form(SECT 9: SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER) Enter your SSN if you have one. Otherwise, leave blank.(SECT 10: ALIEN REGISTRATION NUMBER OR I-94#) Enter the 11 digit # on your I-94 card/record.If you receive a new I-94 while your OPT application is pending, it will not impact your application and you do not need to update this information later.(SECT 11: EMPLOYMENT AUTHORIZATION FROM USCIS?) Only enter “Yes” for previous OPT applications or any other work authorization applications through USCIS. If you have only previously applied for CPT, enter “No”.If you enter “Yes”:Which USCIS Office? This is the Service Center location: California Service Center, Vermont Service Center, Nebraska Service Center, Texas Service Center. Date: Enter the “Received Date” from the Notice of Action (I-797C).Results (Granted, Denied, or Pending) Enter the result of your prior application(s) to USCIS and be sure to include all documentation of it with your application. If you are missing this information, make a note regarding the missing documentation (what you are missing and the information pertaining to it) in your cover letter. If you have a currently pending Pre-OPT application, enter the 13-character Receipt Number beginning with three letters such as EAC, WAC, LIN, or SRC.(11 digit # on the I-94 card)Download I-765 Form
14 OPT Application Instructions: I-765 Form(SECT 13: PLACE OF LAST ENTRY INTO THE U.S.) Enter the city and state of your last entry point into the US. If you flew into the SFO airport as your US port of entry, enter San Francisco, CA.(SECT 16: ELIGIBILITY CATEGORY) Enter the correct OPT eligibility code for Post-OPT. Failure to mark the appropriate category will result in the application being returned.(CERTIFICATION: SIGNING THE I-765) Sign the document correctly using black ink and be extremely careful to sign in between the two signature lines. Your signature is digitized and placed on your EAD card. If your signature even touches the line, you will be asked to resubmit a new signature, delaying your application.C BA : Pre-OPTB: Post-OPTC: OPT Extension
15 Mailing Your Application F-1 OPT applications should be sent to one of the USCIS Lockbox facilities in Phoenix or Dallas depending on the mailing address you entered on the I-765. You can locate the lockbox address information at the bottom of the USCIS page, Direct Filing Addresses for Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization,We strongly advise that you mail the application by “certified mail with return receipt” or by courier service/express mail (e.g. FedEx) to have proof that your application was received.Please make a photocopy of your application before mailing to USCIS for your record.
17 After Mailing in Your Application Notice of Action – You will receive a receipt notice within 2 weeks to confirm USCIS received your OPT application. The Notice of Action will have the following important information:Receipt number preceded by 3 letters (e.g. WAC , if it is being processed by the California Service Center (CSC)). You can use your receipt number to track your application online,https://egov.uscis.gov/cris/Dashboard.do.Received date - This is the date USCIS acknowledges receiving your application to determine how long your application has been pending. The I-Center can submit an inquiry with USCIS if your application has been pending for at least 75 days from the received date.If no Notice of Action is received 2 weeks after the application has been received, then contact the CSC at: and request that a Notice be sent to you.
18 Security Checks During OPT Processing OPT application may be subject to security check procedures and this may delay the processing time of your OPT application.Applications subject to security check procedures may be sent to Washington D.C. for further review.A security check can delay your application by 4-8 weeks, and sometimes longer.A security check can not be expedited.We have seen some students from Iran and China (in sensitive fields) who have had delays in obtaining their EAD card in a timely manner.There is no way of knowing who will be subject to a security check.You could be subject if you are:Studying in a field listed in the “Technology Alert List”National or citizen of a country considered high risk to the U.S.
19 OPT Traveling & Reentry: After Degree Conferral Required documents to reenter the US while on OPT after your degree conferral date:Valid PassportValid VisaI-20 endorsed for OPTI-20 with signature on P.3 no more than 6 months oldEAD cardProof of EmploymentProof of funding (salary)Visa RenewalYou are eligible to apply for a new F-1 visa with the required OPT travel documents.Note: The F-1 is a non-immigrant visa, so you will still have to demonstrate ties to your home country.NOTE: Traveling with a pending OPT application after your degree conferral date.Being outside the US after your degree conferral date while your OPT application is pending is NOT recommended.If there are any problems with your application (i.e. USCIS sends you a request to submit additional information), it may be difficult for you to comply while outside the US.In the event your OPT is denied/returned, your OPT is forfeited. You are not eligible to apply for OPT if you are outside the US after your degree conferral date.If you have to depart the US, make arrangements for someone to check your mail and forward the EAD to you. USCIS will not mail EADs to a foreign address.
20 Additional OPT Resources I-Center Resources:Axess OPT Submission Instructions,step-by-step instructions on completing the online OPT request in AxessFAQ for F-1 Practical Training,EAD Card Pending for More Than 75 Days,Change of Address while OPT Application is PendingGovernment Resources:USCIS My Case Status – To check the status of your OPT application with USCIShttps://egov.uscis.gov/cris/Dashboard.doSEVP Policy Guidance for OPT Regulations