USCIS OPT Application Tips for Writing a Check or Money Order

General Recommendations

  • If you would like to use a check, make sure it has your name and address pre-printed in the top left corner. If there is no address printed, you should use a money order instead.
  • Do not use checks or money orders from a foreign bank.
  • Your check or money order should be included with your other OPT application materials. Do not send them separately! 
Writing a Check

You must generally have a checking account at a U.S. bank to either write a personal check or request a cashier’s check. Be sure to have 100% of the I-765 filing fee in your account when you mail your application. If you do not have sufficient funds in your account, USCIS will reject your application!

Please refer to the annotated image and instructions below to learn how to fill out a check for your OPT application. 

Example Check
  1. Make sure to enter the date (MM/DD/YYYY).
  2. Make the check payable to: U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Do not abbreviate this.
  3. Make sure to write the amount of payment in words as above. Include the number of cents (00/100).
  4. In the Memo or "For" section, write “USCIS I-765” and your SEVIS ID number, found in the in the upper left-hand corner of your I-20.
  5. Make sure to sign the check in the bottom right-hand corner. Do not sign the back of the check.

Note: If you are using a family member’s check or a friend’s check, they will need to sign the check. You will also need to to enter your name in the “Memo” or “For” area next to your SEVIS ID number.

Writing a Money Order

To purchase a money order, you can go to any United States Post Office location. They can also be found at pharmacies across Philadelphia and other U.S. cities such as CVS and Walgreens, as well as at many convenience stores like 7-Eleven. You may also be able to get a money order at your bank. You will pay for the money order itself (generally under $2.00) in addition to the I-765 filing fee.

Refer to the below instructions to learn how to prepare a money order for your OPT application. The below is an example of a money order from the US Postal Service; other money orders may look different. To view an example of a money order from CVS, click here. To view an example of a money order from Western Union, click here.  

Please note: The $1.00 amount listed on the example below is for demonstration purposes only.  Please confirm the current filing fee rate, and this is the amount you will want to request for the money order. 

Money Order
  1. Make the money order payable to U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Do not abbreviate this.
  2. If Money Order asks for the recipient’s address, list the appropriate USCIS address listed at
  3. If the Money Order asks for Purchaser’s or Sender’s address, list the address you included on item #5 of Form I-765.
  4. In the Memo or Payment For Section write “USCIS I-765” and your “SEVIS number, found in the in the upper left-hand corner of your I-20. Do not sign the back of the money order. 

Important: Keep a copy of the receipt for your records and so that you can track the payment. A sample receipt for a United States Post Office money order can be found below. 

money order receipt USPS