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File for your OPT application online
USCIS has made it clear that only the following students seeking Optional Practical Training (OPT) are eligible to file their Form I-765 online:
Students applying for Pre-completion OPT – (C)(3)(A) eligibility category;
Students applying for Post-completion OPT – (C)(3)(B) eligibility category; or
Students applying for a 24-month extension with their STEM (science technology, engineering, or mathematics) degrees – (C)(3)(C) eligibility category.
Individuals applying for all other eligibility categories must submit a physical application to file their Form I-765.
What do you need to apply for your OPT online?
Although USCIS has offered an online application for certain OPT applicants, the document checklist remains unchanged – you must have the following documents ready to be submitted with your online application:
Any previously issued EAD Card, if applicable
Passport ID pages
F-1 Visa page
All previous I-20s with CPT or OPT information
2 digital US passport-style photographs
OPT I-20 issued by your university’s Designated School Official (DSO)
However, it’s important to note that you no longer need to obtain a money order – USCIS accepts ACH and debit/credit card payments directly through the online application. You also avoid the burden of physically going to a USPS/UPS/FedEx to ship your physical OPT application to USCIS’ lockbox facility!
How do I get started?
Please visit this website to learn how to get started and create an online account with USCIS – the process to create a USCIS online account is broken down step-by-step and USCIS has provided a video to help you understand the process.
Once you have an account created, you will be able to file your Form I-765 online and apply for your work authorization without any paperwork hassle!
If you ever get stuck filling out your application, the online form gives you the flexibility to come back later and pick up from where you left off to continue filing your OPT application!
As soon as you’ve paid the $410 USCIS application fee and submitted your application online, you will receive an OPT Receipt Number and be able to view your case status. You will also receive an email with your OPT Receipt Number and a payment confirmation email for the $410 USCIS application fee. Feel free to use this OPT Receipt Number to track your case status online. Please see below a screenshot of the online account’s dashboard that appears once you’ve submitted and paid for the OPT application.