Pre- & Post-Completion OPT Application to USCIS Checklist
Since April 2021, USCIS has allowed OPT applications to be filed online. You have the option to submit your application via regular mail OR file online. Do not submit two applications. The documents below are required for your OPT application, whether you file online or via regular mail (unless otherwise noted). If applying by mail, you should make copies of documents; do not send originals. If applying online, the online application will ask that you upload these documents to the online application. In both cases, make sure documents are clear and readable. If filing online, please review the Questions and Answers of online filing.
MAILED APPLICATION ONLY - G-1145. (This must be at the top of your application)
Filing Fee $410
MAILED APPLICATION - Can be paid by personal check, money order, or U.S. credit card. If paying by U.S. credit card, complete Form G-1450, Authorization for Credit Card Transactions. Make check or money order payable to U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
ONLINE APPLICATION – The system will direct you to Pay.gov, a U.S. government payment site, to pay the fee. You will be able to pay the fee using a U.S. credit/debit card or through an ACH transfer (direct withdrawal) from your U.S. checking account (have your bank account number and bank’s ABA routing number available).
Properly executed Form I-765. Please see the Sample I-765.
NOTE: ONLINE APPLICATION – the same questions will be asked on the online application; use the sample as a guide
Passport-style photos that meet U.S. passport photo standards and taken within the last 30 days.
MAILED APPLICATION – 2 photos are required
ONLINE APPLICATION – Digital passport photo
Copy of your new I-20 with OPT recommendation**
Sign and date the “Student Attestation” section on page 1 of your I-20
Copy of your passport identification page(s).
Copy of your most recent F-1 visa.
Electronic Form I-94 Arrival-Departure Record (save a copy as a pdf for printing/uploading)
Students with F-2 dependent(s): include the Form I-20s for your dependent(s).
Students who changed to F-1 status: include your I-797 Approval Notice from USCIS and an official transcript.
Students with previous EAD(s): Include the front and back of each EAD card.
**USCIS must receive your application within 30 days of when the recommendation was made in SEVIS.
For timely filing, please ensure that USCIS receives your application within 25 days of your OPT I-20’s issue date. This date can be found next to the Immigration Advisor’s signature on Page 1 of your Form I-20. For ONLINE FILING, if you file your application prior to having the OPT I-20 from ISSS, your application will be denied!
Submit your application to the appropriate USCIS Lockbox.
If using United States Postal Service (USPS), send the application using certified mail with return receipt.
If using a courier service, such as FedEx, DHL, or UPS, retain the tracking number for your records.
Follow the instructions on the USCIS I-765 webpage and on ISSS's Online Filing Webpage
Please review the travel section of our website before making any arrangements to depart the country
You may only begin employment once you have your EAD card in hand and the start date has arrived.
If you receive any requests for evidence (RFEs) for this application, email [email protected] for assistance.
Use the Employer Update form or update in the SEVP Portal to report employment within 10 days of starting any job on OPT.