Tips for Completing the Form I-765 for OPT

Notice: The planned USCIS fee increase and Form I-765 update have been blocked by a federal court. Therefore at this time the filing fee remains $410 and the accepted edition date of the Form I-765 is 08/25/20. Please check https://www.uscis.gov/i-765 for any updates.

Here you will find some tips and suggestions on how to complete the Form I-765 when applying for Post-Completion OPT. If you have questions about parts of the form not covered here, please contact OISS. You also want to read the official USCIS instructions at https://www.uscis.gov/i-765. We strongly recommend that the form is typed on a computer, and only printed for an original signature. USCIS recommends using the most recent version of Adobe Reader for best functionality of the form. Upon receiving the application, USCIS will scan the Form I-765, and handwritten responses can lead to misinterpreted characters, etc. If you wish to still submit a handwritten form, please use black ink and make sure that all responses are strictly within the lines of the answer box.

Part 1. Reason for Applying – Please check option 1.a. “Initial permission to accept employment.”
If applying for STEM OPT: Please check option 1.c. "Renewal of my permission to accept employment."

Part 2. Information about You – Your U.S. Mailing Address

  • Complete 5.a. (In Care Of Name) only if you’re using an address that is not your own. In that case you would put the name of the person living in that address. For example, you are always welcome to use the OISS address, in which case you should complete question 5. as follows:
    a. In Care of Name: OISS, Rice University
    b. Street Number and Name: 6100 Main Street, MS-365
    c. Leave blank
    d. City or Town: Houston
    e. State: TX
    f. ZIP code: 77005
  • If you’re using your own physical address, you should leave 5.a. blank and complete your address in the remaining fields under question 5. You should respond “Yes” to question 6.
  • If you’re using a mailing address other than your physical address, you must answer “No” on question 6, and include your physical address in question 7.
  • IMPORTANT: Your physical address must match the address we have reported for you in SEVIS, which is based on the address you have in ESTHER. Please make sure your physical address is correct in the Mailing Address field in ESTHER before submitting the Form I-765 to OISS!
    If applying for STEM OPT: Your address must match the address that is reported for you in SEVIS. Please make sure your address is correct in the SEVP Student Portal before submitting the Form I-765 to OISS.

Part 2. Information about You – Other Information

  • Question 8. (Alien Registration Number) – It is likely that you do not know your A-number unless you have previously applied for an EAD. If you have a previous EAD, please include the number titled “USCIS #” on your EAD.
    If applying for STEM OPT: Enter the number titled "USCIS #" on your EAD.
  • Question 12. (Have you previously filed Form I-765) – If your answer is “Yes”, you must submit a copy of your previous EAD (or EADs) with your OPT application. You must also use Part 6. of the Form I-765 to provide evidence of any previously authorized OPT and the academic level at which it was authorized.
    If applying for STEM OPT: Answer “Yes”, and make sure to include a copy of your current EAD with your STEM OPT application. You must also use Part 6. of the Form I-765 to provide evidence of your current OPT, as well as any previously authorized OPT and the academic level at which it was authorized.

Part 2. Information about You – Information about Your Last Arrival in the United States

  • Question 26. (SEVIS Number) – If you have had a different SEVIS number in the past, you must use Part 6. of the Form I-765 to provide it.
  • Question 27. (Eligibility Category) – The eligibility category for regular Post-Completion OPT is (c)(3)(B). If you are applying for Pre-Completion OPT, the eligibility category is (c)(3)(A).
  • When applying for the regular Post-Completion OPT or Pre-Completion OPT, questions 28 – 31 should be left blank.
  • If applying for STEM OPT: The eligibility category for the STEM OPT extensions is (c)(3)(C). Please also make sure to answer questions 28.a. – 28.c.
    • 28.a. – Indicate your degree level and major (for example “Bachelor’s degree – English”). We also recommend indicating your CIP Code, which you can find on your I-20. This particular field on the I-765 may not allow you to enter numbers, in that case we recommend writing it in clearly by hand after your major.
    • 28.b. – Enter your employer’s name as listed in E-Verify. Make sure this matches your Form I-983.
    • 28.c. – Enter your employer’s E-Verify Company Identification Number, or a valid E-Verify Client Company Identification Number.

Part 3. Applicant’s Statement, Contact Information, Declaration, Certification, and Signature

  • Question 5. (Applicant’s Email Address) – Please make sure to use your non-Rice email address. We recommend using the same email address that you input in the OPT Student Form for OISS.
  • Question 7.a. (Applicant's signature) – Please note that the Form I-765 requires an original, handwritten signature. Electronic signatures are not accepted by USCIS.
  • Question 7.b. (Date of signature) – USCIS must receive your OPT application within 30 days of when your OPT I-20 is issued by OISS. We also recommend making sure that the date of signature on the Form I-765 is no older than 30 days when USCIS receives your application. During the OISS Priority Processing season when we ask you to submit your I-765 to our office in advance, you may want to leave the date blank initially and fill it in when you’re picking up your OPT I-20.
  • IMPORTANT: If you choose to leave the date blank initially, it is your responsibility to make sure to fill it in before mailing your application to USCIS.

Part 4. – should only be completed if you use an interpreter to help you with the Form I-765.

Part 5. – should only be completed if the Form I-765 is completed by someone else on your behalf.

Part 6. Additional Information – Use this page to report any additional information. Here is a list of some of the situations where you would want to complete Part 6:

  • If you didn’t have enough space to include your complete response on any of the previous questions, you may continue or clarify your response here. Make sure to indicate the correct Page, Part and Item Numbers.
  • If you have had a different SEVIS Number in the past, you want to report it here. We recommend referring the response back to the question about your Eligibility Category by indicating Page Number 3, Part 2, Item Number 27. On the lines, please indicate that you are providing a previous SEVIS Number. We also recommend including the dates when the SEVIS ID was used, and the Program Sponsor. You may want to include copies of your previous I-20s and/or DS-2019s in your application as supporting documentation.
  • If you have applied for OPT in the past, you want to indicate it here. We recommend referring the response back to the question about your Eligibility Category by indicating Page Number 3, Part 2, Item Number 27. However, since you are required to submit a copy of the previous EAD based on Page 2, Part 2, Item 12, it may be prudent to refer to both. For example, you may use Page Number 3, Part 2, Item Number 27 under 3.a. - 3.c., and start your response under 3.d. by stating something along the lines of "This information also pertains to Page 2, Part 2, Item 12”. On the lines, please specify the degree level that your previous OPT was based on, and indicate that a copy of the OPT I-20 and EAD are included in the application.
  • If you have been authorized for CPT in the past – including during a previous academic level, by a previous school, or under a different SEVIS ID Number – you want to indicate it here. We recommend referring the response back to the question about your Eligibility Category by indicating Page Number 3, Part 2, Item Number 27. On the lines, please list the dates of previously authorized CPTs and specify the degree level at which the CPT was authorized. We also recommend including the name of the employer and if the CPT was for part-time or full-time practical training. Please also indicate that copies of the CPT I-20s are included in the application. If you no longer have those CPT I-20s available, you may want to contact your previous school to see if you could get a printout of your SEVIS Employment History and/or if they could issue a letter for you confirming any CPT that was authorized for you. For CPT authorized by Rice during your current academic level, OISS will provide your SEVIS CPT History to include in your application as an additional supporting documentation.
  • If applying for STEM OPT: In addition to indicating all the information listed above, please also include information about your current OPT. We recommend listing the degree level and the dates of your current OPT, as well as mentioning that a copy of the EAD is included in the application.

IMPORTANT: Make a copy of your entire OPT application to keep in your records before mailing your application to USCIS!!