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Filing the Form I-765 Online
This page provides detailed instructions on how to fill out the I-765 for OPT if you are applying online. If you instead wish to file the I-765 by mail, we have a separate resource for that.
The following instructions are provided as a service solely to the international students of Stony Brook University who are applying for OPT. Due to frequent government updates, VIS may make additions, deletions, or modifications to the contents on this page at any time without prior notice.
These directions are meant to help you in completing your application but should not be considered legal advice. The US Citizenship and Immigration Services ultimately provides the decision on your OPT application. It is your responsibility, as the applicant, to ensure that your application is accurate and complete before you submit it to the US government. Incomplete applications could result in a delay in processing time or denial. Stony Brook University in no event shall be held liable for any delay, denial, or mistake on your OPT application.
- Important Reminders
- Do not submit an online application if you have already filed by mail. Duplicate applications may be denied by USCIS.
- You may only file Form I-765 online from within the U.S. You are not eligible to apply for OPT from outside the country.
- While filing Form I-765 online may be quicker and easier than filing by mail, it does not speed up the time required for USCIS to adjudicate your application.See the USCIS website for current processing times.
- Do not file the Form I-765 online until you have received your updated Form I-20 recommending OPT.
- Once you submit your application, you cannot go back to edit or change information. Please contact your VIS advisor immediately if you believe you have provided incorrect or incomplete information when filing Form I-765. Failing to do so can result in Requests for Evidence (RFEs), processing delays, or the denial of your application by USCIS.
- USCIS has the discretion to require biometrics appointmentson a case-by-case basis.
- How to Apply
How to ApplyStep 1: Gather your supporting documents
It is best to have digital versions of all required documents ready in a folder to drag and drop into the USCIS system. Make sure the files are clear and readable, not encrypted or passport-protected, in English, and in one of the following accepted file formats: JPG, JPEG, PDF, TIF, or TIFF.
To complete the I-765, you must have these documents:
Step 2: Create an online account
- Passport Style Photograph: Photos must be taken within the last 30 days and cannot have previously been used for a passport, visa, or other US government-related application. See Department of State’s guidelines.
- Form I-94: Download your electronic I-94 from CBP's website.
- Previously issued Employment Authorization Document (EAD): Scans of both the front and back.
- I-20 Recommending OPT: Be sure you have signed and dated page 1 using blue ink. This is the OPT-recommended I-20 that you recently received from Stony Brook.
- All previously issued I-20s: Provide copies of all Form I-20s ever issued to you (no larger than 6MB per file).
Create an online account at USCIS. You will be required to provide a valid phone number where you can receive a verification code for two-factor authentication, which will be required every time you log in.
Go to “File a Form” to get started and select I-765. Read through the information carefully.
Please note: Your responses on the online I-765 will be automatically saved. If you log out, you may log back in and resume where you left off last time.Step 3: Begin filing out your application
Click here for help filling out your Form I-765 online. The only items from the Form I-765 that are listed on this this page are those that students commonly have questions on or are confused about. Please review each item carefully to ensure your I-765 is filled out correctly.Step 4: Review, submit, and pay fee
Once you review your application and no errors or incomplete fields pop up, you can submit, confirm you can read and understand English, and then digitally sign. You will then be taken to pay the fee through pay.gov. You can pay with credit card, debit card, or U.S. checking or savings account.Step 4: Track the status of your application
Once you receive your receipt notice in the mail, log in to accessVIS to return to your OPT request. Complete and submit the I-797 Receipt Notice form, uploading a copy of your receipt notice issued by USCIS.
You can track the status of your I-765 application using your receipt number here.
Contact VIS immediately if you receive a Request for Evidence (RFE) from USCIS, as an updated Form I-20 may be necessary.
Traveling outside of the U.S. is not recommended while your Request for OPT is pending with USCIS.Step 5: Report the approval of your OPT
Once your request for OPT has been approved by USCIS, AND you have received your Employment Authorization Document (EAD), please log in to accessVIS and submit the Employment Authorization Document (EAD) Form within the Pre or Post-Completion OPT request.
If you notice any mistakes on your EAD please contact your VIS Advisor immediately so we can assist you in getting the card corrected.
FAQsHow do I apply online?
Go to USCIS's website and select I-765. Make a myUSCIS account.Do I need to upload all I-20s ever issued?
Applicants should upload any previously issued Form I-20s under the “Additional Information” section AND must upload their current Form I-20 endorsed by the DSO, under the “Form I-20” section before filing Form I-765. To upload documents into the USCIS online account, the documents must be scanned, and the files must be:
Where do I upload my previously issued I-20s for CPT, OPT or previous SEVIS ID numbers?
- Clear and readable;
- In an acceptable file format: JPG, JPEG, PDF, TIF, or TIFF;
- Not encrypted or password-protected;
- Written in acceptable characters: English letters, numbers, spaces, periods, hyphens, underscores, and parentheses;
- If originally written in a foreign language, each document must be accompanied by a full English translation and translator’s certification; and
- No larger than 6MB per file.
In the Additional Information section.When do I pay the fee?
Payment is the last step after you check the Applicant Statement and electronically sign your name.What type of payment is acceptable?
You can pay by debit card, credit card, U.S. checking account or savings account.Can I save a draft of the application?
Answers will automatically save as you go and you can access your application by logging into your myUSCIS account. Drafts save for 30 days.What format and what size should documents be in?
Acceptable formats for documents are JPG, JPEG, PDF, TIF and TIFF. Acceptable formats for pictures are JPG, JPEG, and PNG. Maximum size is 6 MB per file.When do I get my receipt number and notice?
Immediately. Once you successfully submit your case, you can go to 'My Cases' in your myUSCIS account where you can retrieve your receipt notice.Can I file my I-765 online while I am outside the U.S.?
No, you still need to be physically present in the U.S. to apply for OPT.What can I use my USCIS online account for after I have submitted my application?
You can: view your receipt notice, view biometircs notices (if applicable), review and respond to Request for Evidence (RFEs), view your cases status, view a PDF of the completed Form I-765, and view your decision letter.Does requesting a Social Security Number (SSN) delay the processing of the Form I-765? Willthe Social Security card be sent together to us with the employment authorization card?
No, requesting a Social Security Number does not delay adjudication of Form I-765. If you indicate on the Form I-765 that you want a Social Security card, USCIS transmits your request to the Social Security Administration (SSA). SSA is responsible for issuing your Social Security card. USCIS focuses
on adjudicating your Form I-765.I am applying for the STEM Extension, for question 1, do I select initial permission to accept employment or renewal of permission?
You should select initial permission because according to USCIS instructions (https://www.uscis.gov/sites/default/files/document/forms/i-765instr.pdf) this option should be selected when it is your first time applying under that specific category.Do I need to upload an Institution Accreditation Document?
You only have to upload this if you are applying for STEM based on a prior degree (meaning a degree completed prior to the degree listed on your current I-20).
- Reporting Requirements
Understand Your Reporting Requirements
Students on OPT are required to report any and all changes to employment, address, name, status, etc. within 10 days, and are required to complete scheduled participation reports and evaluations at specific points throughout the extension period.
Click here for more information.