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How F-1 Students Seeking Optional Practical Training Can Avoid Form I-765 Delays

If you are an F-1 student seeking optional practical training (OPT), here are tips to help you avoid U.S.
Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) processing delays with your Form I-765, Application for
Employment Authorization.
Check USCIS’ website for updates before you submit Form I-765. USCIS sometimes updates its
forms, filing guidance, fees, or filing locations. Checking the USCIS website will allow you to see the most
up-to-date instructions that you need to follow. You can also sign up for USCIS’ form update emails.
USCIS may reject your form if you do not follow the most current guidance.
Make sure Form I-20, Certification of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status, is signed, dated,
and endorsed for employment authorization.
Your designated school official (DSO) must sign and
date the School Attestation section on the first page of Form I-20.
Apply online. Here are some of the many benefits of filing online:
USCIS receives online forms faster than paper forms. When you submit your Form I-765 online,
USCIS will issue you an electronic receipt notice with a receipt number immediately.
You can see all notices in your USCIS online account under the “Documents” tab, such as a
request for evidence or a decision notice. USCIS will still mail these notices to you as well (and to
your attorney if you have one).
In your online account profile, you can sign up to receive automatic case updates via email or
text message so you will know when USCIS has acted on your case. Having easy access to all
USCIS correspondence is one of the biggest benefits of filing online.
You can update your mailing and physical address through your USCIS online account.
Submit your Form I-765 within 30 days (post-completion OPT) or 60 days (STEM OPT) after your
DSO enters the recommendation for OPT into your Student and Exchange Visitor Information
System (SEVIS) record.
The DSO must indicate on the second page of the Form I-20 whether you are
seeking OPT or an OPT extension for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM)
If you are seeking post-completion OPT, you must submit your Form I-765 within 30 days after
your DSO enters the recommendation in your SEVIS record.
If you are seeking a STEM OPT extension, you must submit Form I-765 within 60 days after your
DSO enters the recommendation in your SEVIS record.
You should ask your DSO for the date they entered the recommendation in your SEVIS record.
This date is not included on Form I-20. The “Date Issued” on Form I-20 may be different from the
date the recommendation was entered in your SEVIS record.
Submit a properly completed Form I-20 together with Form I-765 at the same time. You can upload
the Form I-20 when submitting Form I-765 online.

If you experience technical difficulties uploading your Form I-20 while filing your Form I-765, you
can upload the Form I-20 through your USCIS online account. Upload it as unsolicited evidence
under the “Documents” tab after USCIS receives your application but before USCIS begins
adjudicating your Form I-765.
USCIS will deny your Form I-765 if you do not include a Form I-20 that has been signed and
properly endorsed for the type of employment authorization requested.
If you move, update your mailing address with both USCIS and the U.S. Postal Service (USPS).
Changing your address with USPS will not change your address with USCIS. You must update your
address with both agencies separately.
To update your address with USCIS, go to its How to Change Your Address page. Follow the
instructions on the webpage to update your address on all your pending cases. Update your
address as soon as possible to ensure USCIS mails your Employment Authorization Document
(EAD) to the correct address. USPS will not forward your EAD to a new address.
To update your address with USPS, go to its Official USPS Change-of-Address page. You may also
want to register for Informed Delivery through USPS to get previews of your mail in transit.
Please note that USPS only keeps tracking information for 120 days.
Display your name on or in your mailbox. USPS will not deliver your EAD if your name is not listed
on the mailbox.

This article, under no circumstances, acts as legal advice; therefore, for any immigration questions, please contact your Attorney or the Ahluwalia Law Offices, P.C. (Team ALO).