F-1 STEM OPT USCIS Application
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When preparing the STEM OPT application, print the Application Checklist as a reference for assembling the required materials.
Please Note: USCIS new fee and form changes are on hold. Students should use the I-765 Form 8/25 edition and $410 fee until further notice.
Interested in Filing Online?
As of April 2021, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) offers F-1 students seeking pre- or post-completion Optional Practical Training (OPT) or the STEM OPT extension the option to file Form I-765 electronically via the USCIS online portal. Follow the link below to learn more about the online I-765 filing process. Please note: Online filing is optional; you may still file via the paper process described on this page.
The STEM OPT Extension application must be received by the USCIS within 60 days of the date on which ISSS issues an OPT I-20. If filed with USCIS after 60 days of the STEM OPT I-20 issuance date, your application will be denied.
If you later decide not to mail your STEM OPT application (Form I-765 plus supporting documentation) to USCIS for any reason, please notify an ISSS advisor immediately so that we may timely cancel your STEM OPT recommendation in SEVIS. Failure to inform an ISSS advisor that you are not applying for STEM OPT can cause problems in the future.
While STEM OPT is pending, we strongly advise against changing the address listed on Form I-765 because your documents may be sent to the incorrect address. This will require you to file a new STEM OPT application with a new fee. We suggest you use the address of someone who can receive mail on your behalf - remember to put "c/o", followed by the person's name and address, on Line 3 of Form I-765. The US Postal Service will not forward USCIS mail.
ISSS has prepared a visual guide to help you navigate Form I-765 as an applicant for the STEM OPT Extension. Please note that this is meant as a general overview of the form and should not be taken as legal guidance.
Mail completed OPT application to USCIS using the Direct Filing Addresses for Form I-765 listed for foreign students under category for F-1 Optional Practical Training, (OPT). The current address for the Chicago lockbox is:
U.S. Postal Service (USPS)
PO Box 805373
Chicago, IL 60680
|UPS or FedEx||
eShipGlobal (UEMS) offers an option for Penn students to send OPT applications to USCIS offices at discounted rates using the carrier and delivery method of their choice. If you would like to take advantage of this option, follow these steps:
Go to study.eshipglobal.com to log in or create a free account.
Click on the “OPT Application” image or the “Send Packages to USCIS” button.
Enter your sender address and select the appropriate USCIS location as the recipient. Find the correct lockbox and the relevant address here under “Foreign Students”, category (c)(3)(i).
Select one of the Express Service options. On the Discount Code enter “PENN05” and click Apply. You will get an additional 5% discount on the already discounted price.
Print your label, attach it to the shipping envelope. You can either schedule a free pick up from your location by clicking on “Schedule Pick Up” or you can drop off your package at the nearest carrier location. If you don’t have an envelope, you can get one free of charge at the nearest shipping carrier location.
If you have any questions or concerns around this mailing option or need further assistance with shipment creation, pick up or delivery, please reach out directly to UEMS support team (firstname.lastname@example.org) for immediate assistance. Kindly do not contact ISSS for assistance on OPT shipping with UEMS.