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Applying for 12 Months of OPT

When to Apply

Apply early!
 Allow three months for processing by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), plus additional time for obtaining your adviser's signature on the OPT Request Form, the Global Education Office's processing (one week), and mailing to USCIS. You cannot work until you receive OPT approval.

OPT Timeline

90 days
before your program end date--earliest date you can submit your I-765 application for OPT to USCIS

60 days after your program end date--latest date you can submit your I-765 application to USCIS

OPT application must arrive at the USCIS Service Center within 30 days of the OPT I-20 issue date

How to Apply

Read the following instructions carefully.  We will help where needed, but the I-765 OPT application is your application and we are not responsible if you do not follow the necessary timelines.
  1. Complete your OPT application. (See below for details.)
  2. Submit OPT application to the Global Programs Center front desk. (See below for details.)
  3. Pick up OPT application from Global Programs Center front desk and mail to USCIS. (See below for details.)
Step 1:  Complete your I-765 OPT Application

Gather these documents
  • Completed I-765 Form (Be sure the barcode appears at the bottom of the form when you print it; if it does not print, save the form as a pdf and print the pdf.)
  • (See Tips for Completing I-765 Form below)
  • Photocopy of all previously issued I-20s (pages 1 and 3)
  • Photocopy of passport identification page
  • Photocopy of F-1 visa page
  • Two 2 inch by 2 inch passport-style photos
  • Photocopy of the front and back of your I-94 card
  • Photocopy of previously issued EAD (if applicable)
  • $380 check or money order payable to "U.S. Department of Homeland Security" (Do not postdate your check. The date format for your check should be as follows: month/day/year)
  • Completed G-1145 Form (optional; it signs you up for email/text message notification of your application's arrival at USCIS)
Step 2:  Submit Completed OPT Application to the Global Programs Office

Submit your completed OPT application (without the check) to the Global Education Office front desk.  You application will be sent directly to your Advisor (Trina or Katherine). 

They will review your application, note any items missing or needing to be changed, and issue a new, updated I-20 with an OPT recommendation printed on the back page.  Allow 5 school days for processing. 

Important:  You must make an appointment with Trina, Teresa, or Katherine before submitting you application for OPT--you cannot apply on your own without seeing them first.

Step 3:  Mail OPT Application to USCIS 
  1. Review the pink checklist and your application to make sure it is complete.
  2. Sign your OPT-endorsed I-20 at the bottom of page 1 before photocopying it and mailing it to USCIS.
  3. Mail your application within 30 days of the new OPT-endorsed I-20 being issued. Late applications will be denied by USCIS. 
  4. Do not mail your original passport, I-94, or I-20.
  5. It is recommended you send your application by certified mail, return receipt requested.
  6. If your I-765 mailing address is in Washington state mail the entire application to:
  • For U.S. Postal Service (USPS) deliveries: 
    • USCIS
      PO Box 21281
      Phoenix, AZ 85036
  • For Express mail, Federal Express, UPS, and DHL deliveries: 
    • USCIS
      Attn: AOS
      1820 E. Skyharbor Circle S
      Suite 100

      Phoenix, AZ 85034
If your I-765 mailing address is outside Washington State, look at the USCIS mailing instructions to find the correct Lockbox and mailing address location.

A delayed application may result in delayed work authorization and/or loss of full OPT eligibility (12 months) due to the three-month processing time by USCIS.
After You Mail Your OPT Application to USCIS

USCIS will send you a receipt notice (I-797 Notice of Action) confirming receipt of your OPT application, and assigning a case number.  Carefully review the notice to make sure your name is spelled correctly.  If it not, notify the International Program Coordinators in the Global Education Office at either SFCC or SCC immediately.

Frequently Asked Questions

If you have further questions, look at our Frequently Asked Questions Page here.