F-1 OPT USCIS Application
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When preparing the OPT application, download 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.
REMINDER: The OPT application must be received by USCIS within 30 days of the date on which ISSS issues an OPT I-20. If filed with USCIS after 30 days of the OPT I-20 issuance date, your application will be denied.
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.
You must be physically present in the U.S. until after USCIS receives your application for processing. Keep delivery confirmation whenever possible. We strongly recommend you discuss travel plans with ISSS before filing OPT to avoid rejection or denial.
If you decide NOT to mail your OPT application (Form I-765 plus supporting documentation) to USCIS for any reason, you must notify an ISSS advisor immediately so we can timely cancel your OPT recommendation in SEVIS. Failure to inform us can cause problems in the future.
If you have not received an I-797 Receipt Notice (with a case number from USCIS) within 2-6 weeks from the date your OPT application was received at USCIS meet with an ISSS advisor and bring a copy of delivery confirmation.
While OPT is pending, we strongly advise against changing the address listed on Form I-765. USClS has not been able to process change of address notifications properly. Changing your address while OPT is pending may result in being required to file a new OPT application with a new fee if your documents are lost. 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.
If you receive a Request for Evidence (RFE), please consult an ISSS advisor immediately
Your OPT will be automatically terminated when you begin study at another educational level or transfer to another school
If you find any errors by USCIS on your OPT EAD card, please inform ISSS immediately
Immediately inform ISSS of any immigration status change.
ISSS has prepared a visual guide to help you navigate Form I-765. 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.