How to Apply for OPT by Mail

Reminder: OPT I-20 Required; Do not submit your OPT application to USCIS without first obtaining an OPT recommendation I-20 from PDSO Shelley Palmer.

Preparing Your OPT Application Materials for Filing by Mail

Please note that these resources are intended for general informational purposes only and are not legal advice. It is your responsibility to review and follow all official instructions provided by USCIS.

 

Remember: For Post-Completion OPT, USCIS must receive your OPT application no more than 30 days after your OPT recommendation I-20 was issued. For STEM OPT, USCIS must receive your OPT application no more than 60 days after the OPT recommendation I-20 was issued.

After receiving your OPT recommendation I-20 from PDSO, Shelley Palmer, mail your complete application to the correct USCIS mailing address. Be sure to ship your OPT application to USCIS via a shipping method with tracking, so that you can monitor the delivery of your OPT application. We strongly recommend UPS courier service.

Your OPT application should include (in this order):

  • Payment of $410 (select one payment option and provide the below):
    • Check or money order for $410 made payable to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, with SEVIS ID number written in Memo section, OR
    • Completed G-1450 for $410 credit card payment

Note: The application fee for OPT is currently $410.

USCIS adjusts their filing fees from time to time. Before filing your application it’s a good idea to confirm the fee for the form I-765 Request for Employment Authorization here:

https://www.uscis.gov/sites/default/files/document/forms/g-1055.pdf

  • Two U.S. passport-style photos (must be taken within the last 30 days, cannot have been used for any other immigration applications, and should measure 2”x2”). Write on the back of each photo in pencil:
    • Full Name
    •  Date of Birth (MM/DD/YYYY)
    •  SEVIS ID Number
    • I-94 Number
  • Completed G-1145
  • Completed and signed I-765 (original) Please see the I-765 Supplemental Instruction Guide
  • Copy of newly issued OPT recommendation I-20 (issued no more than 30 days ago for Post-completion OPT applications, and no more than 60 days ago for STEM applications)
  • Copy of passport bio page (passport should not be expiring within the next six months)
  • Copy of most recent I-94 record
  • Copy of F-1 visa stamp (except for citizens of Canada and Bermuda)
  • Copies of previous EAD cards (if you have been on OPT before, or have otherwise been issued an EAD in the past)
  • Copies of any OPT I-20s and CPT I-20s (if you have been authorized for OPT and/or CPT in the past)
  • Official transcript for the degree upon which your STEM extension application is based (must be original, copies are not acceptable) This is for STEM OPT applications only

Lockbox mailing addresses frequently change. Before mailing your OPT application to USCIS, check the Direct Filing Addresses for Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization page for the most up-to-date destination address.  To avoid common OPT application mailing errors, read this USCIS Lockbox Tip Sheet.

Please note that these resources are intended for general informational purposes only and are not legal advice. It is your responsibility to review and follow all official instructions provided by USCIS.