Online OPT application guide

Online OPT application guide

Read through this guide as you prepare to submit your online OPT application.

Submitting a complete application is your responsibility, and USCIS will make the decision to approve or deny your request. Remember that you need to have your OPT I-20 recommendation from OIS before you submit anything to USCIS. You will request your OPT I-20 by completing the OPT Checklist (Submitting Online Application) in the F-1 Practical Training menu in Atlas

If you are applying for OPT via mail, please use our paper OPT application guide.

STEP 1: Assemble the items on the checklist below.

You will need to upload the following materials for your OPT application:

  • A signed, dated copy of pages 1 and 2 of your new OPT I-20

  • Passport-style photograph

  • Copy of the name & photo page of your passport (including expiration date and any extension pages)

  • Copy of any previous Employment Authorization Documents/OPT cards (front and back)

  • Copy of your most recent I-94 document. This should be one of the following:
    • Print-out of an electronic I-94
      • Download your electronic I-94. (Please note: do not print the “get travel history” page.)  If there are any mistakes or omissions on your I-94, contact OIS before submitting your application.
    • Paper I-94 card (front and back)
    • Your I-797 Approval Notice (front and back), if you changed your immigration status inside the U.S. and have not departed since that time.

  • Payment via the USCIS online system in the form of your credit card or U.S. bank account. The current filing fee is $410. You can find the filing fee at your time of application on the USCIS website. Do not yet pay the application fee to submit the application if you wish to move forward with this optional OIS review of your documents prior to applying for OPT with USCIS. 

  • If Applicable: Documentation of previous periods of CPT. An OIS advisor will provide this to you with your OPT I-20, if applicable in your situation. 

STEP 2: Create a myUSCIS online account (if you do not already have one) to file online the I-765 Application for Employment Authorization.

STEP 3:  If you would like to briefly review your application with an advisor after assembling the items on the checklist below, you will need to complete the Request Advisor Review: OPT Application Documents e-form.  You will need to generate the PDF of your I-765 application by clicking “View draft snapshot” to upload in Atlas. Meeting with an advisor is optional. If you would like to meet with an advisor, after your documents are uploaded, call OIS at 812-855-9086 to schedule a 10 minute OPT Quick Review Appointment.

STEP 4: Submit your OPT application online.

STEP 5: Upload your receipt notice for your OPT application in your OPT Checklist. Wait 2-5 months for your OPT Card, and after it is received, upload your EAD in the OPT Checklist. Processing times may vary and can be longer than estimated timeframes.

STEP 6:  Follow your case status through the USCIS “Check Your Case Status” tool or through your USCIS online account.

Completing the I-765

It’s important that you complete your I-765 correctly. Read the below information to see how to answer certain questions. You can view further instructions on completing the I-765 on the USCIS website.

Getting started

  • What is your eligibility category? (c)(3)(B)
  • What is your reason for applying? Initial permission to accept employment
  • Have you previously filed Form I-765? If you have ever previously applied for OPT, Severe Economic Hardship, J-2 work authorization, or submitted an I-765 as part of a different application such as Permanent Residency application, indicate “Yes.”
  • Is someone assisting you with completing this application? Only indicate “Yes” if you have used an interpreter or if someone prepared your application for you.

About you

  • What is your current legal name? Enter Family Name, Given Name, and Middle Name (If any)
    • If you do not have a Middle Name, you can leave this field blank. Do not put 'N/A' in this field.
    • Your name on the I-765, your most recent I-20, and your passport should be the same. If not, notify OIS.

  • Have you used any other names since birth?: Check “Yes” if you have had previous legal names or names you are commonly called.

  • How may we contact you? Enter your U.S. telephone number and email address

  • What is your current U.S. mailing address? This is the address to which your receipt notice and OPT card will be sent. Remember to put an address that will be valid for at least 5 months. If you move, you may change your mailing address with USCIS.
    • If you move before you receipt notice or OPT card are delivered, the document will not be forwarded to you if you do not update your address with USCIS
    • If you use a family member or friends address, be sure to write their name in the “in care of name” field

  • Is your current mailing address the same as your physical address? If your mailing address is different than your physical address, check “no”

  • What is your gender? Enter your current legal gender as indicated on your immigration documents

  • What is your marital status? Enter your current legal marital status

  • What is your city, town, or village of birth? Enter your city, town, or village of birth

  • What is your state or province of birth? Enter your state or province of birth

  • What is your country of birth? Enter your country of birth

  • What is your date of birth? Enter your date of birth (mm/dd/yyyy format)

  • What is your country of citizenship or nationality? Enter your country (or countries) of citizenship

  • What is your I-94 Arrival-Departure Record Number? Enter information from your most recent I-94 document
    • If you have an electronic I-94 document, enter all 11 characters of the Admission (I-94) Record Number.
      • Please look at the sample electronic I-94 on Additional Application Materials, page 11. If your electronic I-94 is missing any of this information or there are other errors, please contact OIS before sending your application.
    • If you have a paper I-94 card, enter all 11 characters of the Departure Number at the top left corner of the card.
    • If you changed status within the U.S. and have only an I-797 Approval Notice confirming your F-1 status, enter all 11 characters of the I-94 number on the bottom right of the I-797.
  • When did you last arrive in the United States?
    • Date of arrival: Enter the date you last entered the U.S.
    • Place of arrival: Select the city where you cleared U.S. Customs
    • Status at last arrival: Enter the immigration status you held when you last entered the U.S. and the immigration status you currently hold. If the status you currently hold is not “F-1 - Student” please contact OIS to make an appointment with an International Student Advisor.

  • What is the passport number of your most recently issued passport? Enter your passport number

  • What is your travel document number (if any)? This space should only be completed if you do not have a passport.

  • What is the expiration date of your passport or travel document? Enter the expiration date (mm/dd/yyyy format)

  • What country issued your passport or travel document? Select the country that issued your passport

  • What is your current immigration status or category? Select “F-1 – Student.” If this is not “F-1 - Student” please contact OIS to make an appointment with an International Student Advisor

  • What is your Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) Number? Enter your SEVIS Number. This can be found on your I-20

  • What is your A-Number? If you have an A-Number, enter it here. If not, select “I do not have or know my A-Number”

  • What is your USCIS Online Account Number? If you have a USCIS Online Account Number, enter it here. If not, select “I do not have or know my USCIS Online Account Number”

  • Has the Social Security Administration ever officially issued a Social Security card to you?: If you have a Social Security Number, select “Yes”
  • What is your Social Security Number? Enter your Social Security Number

  • Do you want the SSA to issue you a Social Security Card? Select “no” if you have a Social Security Number. Select “yes” if you wish to be issued a Social Security Number

  • Consent For Disclosure: If you have selected “yes” for the SSA to issue you a Social Security Number, select “yes” and provide the requested information


You can get passport-style photos taken at FedEx, the U.S. Post Office, some private shipping companies, and some banks.

  • You will need to upload a recent, color photograph of yourself.
  • The photos must be in color with a full face, frontal view, on a white to off-white background.
  • Your head must be bare unless you are wearing headwear as required by a religious denomination of which you are a member.
  • If you need help understanding the requirements, you can use the Department of State’s photo composition tool.

Please do not submit your application before contacting OIS if:

  • Your personal information / date of entry / class of information (immigration status) is incorrect in any way, OR
  • You are missing the “D/S” notation

Your I-94 may need to be corrected by CBP, and this correction should take place before submitting the OPT application.


(Please note: do not upload the page that appears when you click "Get Travel History")

  • If you were previously issued an Employment Authorization Document (EAD), upload the front and back of the document here.

  • If you have not previous been issued an EAD, you must upload a copy of a government-issued identity document (such as a passport)

If you have participated in CPT at this current degree level, you will need to include the copy of the SEVIS screenshot showing your previous CPT (this will be provided to you by the OIS with your OPT I-20).

  • Upload a copy of the OPT I-20 provided to you by OIS
    • Be sure you have signed and dated page one of the I-20

Additional information (SEVIS Number)

If you have had a previous SEVIS number, add a response to additional information as follows:

  • Section: About You
  • Page: Your immigration information
  • Question: What is your Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) Number?
  • Additional Information: Enter previous SEVIS Number