Assembling the OPT Application to Mail to USCIS

After the student receives the OPT Recommendation I-20, the student is responsible for mailing the application to USCIS. The OPT application MUST arrive at the USCIS Service Center within 30 days from the date the OPT recommendation was made in SEVIS and before your 60-day grace period expires, whichever comes first. 

Documents Required in the OPT Application Packet to USCIS

USCIS fee for Form I-765 for Standard OPT

Currently, the USCIS fee for Form I-765 for OPT and STEM OPT is $410.*

  • This may be a personal check, money order, or cashier's check, made payable to the Department of Homeland Security; cash not accepted
  • A money order or cashier’s check is available at most grocery stores, gas stations, the bank, or the post office
  • See Sample Check or Money Order

* USCIS announced fee increases and a new version of the I-765 form which were expected to become effective for petitions/applications postmarked on or after October 2, 2020. However, as of September 29, 2020, there is an injunction that is stopping the implementation of the new USCIS fees and I-765 form version.  You may read more about this here if you wish to do so. What this means for now, is that the current fee of $410 and edition date of 08/25/2020 for the I-765 is still in effect unless the injunction is lifted. We do not know when the injunction may be resolved.  We will update our website as soon as we receive information regarding the fee and form version. We urge you to look at the USCIS page for the I-765 application on the day you will mail the application to ensure you are paying the correct fee amount and using the correct edition date based on what is published on the USCIS site that same day

Two US Regulation Passport Photos of the student

  • Must be in color, white background, and taken within 30 days of the filing of the application
  • Cannot be the exact same picture as in the student’s visa or passport
  • Students must print their full name and I-94 number in pencil or felt tip pen (thin sharpie) on the back of each photo

Passport photos may be processed at the UF Mail & Document Services, Bldg. 715, Radio Road or at a local Wal-Mart, CVS, Walgreens, etc.

Form G-1145, e-Notification of Application/Petition Acceptance

  • MUST ELECTRONICALLY TYPE responses; handwriting NOT accepted for the responses

USCIS will send a one-time text message or email confirming they have received the application, and will provide the application receipt number.

Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization

  • Please use the form directly linked on the USCIS website. You must use the most current edition of the form. You can find the specific Edition Date in use on USCIS’ website. You can find the edition date of the form at the bottom of the I-765 page and in the instructions.
  • Guide to completing the I-765
  • HIGHLY RECOMMEND that you complete the form ELECTRONICALLY to minimize handwriting discrepancies
  • Applicant’s HANDWRITTEN SIGNATURE is required in blue or black ink.

Electronic I-94 Form printout (click Get Most Recent I-94)

Copy of most recent F-1 POE Stamp in passport (if available)

Copy of most recent F-1 Visa photo page (does not need to be valid)

Copy of Passport photo page (must be valid/unexpired)

Copy of OPT Recommendation I-20

If applicable, copies of any previously issued EAD cards (front and back)

Mailing the OPT Application Packet to USCIS

Mail the application to the appropriate USCIS Lockbox. Please keep in mind, you are a Foreign Student applying for F-1 Optional Practical Training (OPT) under the Post-completion OPT category of (c)(3)(B) and a stand-along application.

  • Direct Filing Addresses for Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization | USCIS
  • USPS: The student must go inside of USPS to pay for the postage fee; we recommend USPS Certified Mail or USPS Express Mail. Obtain and keep the tracking number for the package in order to be able to track USPS mailing.
  • Courier Deliveries (FedEx, UPS): Keep a copy of the label with tracking number in order to FedEx or UPS track delivery.
  • The OPT application MUST arrive at the USCIS Service Center within 30 days from the date the OPT recommendation was made in SEVIS and before your 60-day grace period expires, whichever comes first. 
  • If the student’s application is approved, he or she will need to send an email to with his or her UFID and a copy of the STEM OPT card.

How long does it take and where will USCIS mail the OPT card?

USCIS generally adjudicates the OPT Application within 75-90 days. It is rare the card will arrive sooner than 75 days, and on occasion, may take over 90 days. The receipt number on the Notice of Action allows students to check the status of their application at the USCIS Dashboard.

If the application is approved, USCIS will produce and mail an Employment Authorization Document (EAD/OPT Card) card to the student to the U.S. Mailing Address provided on the I-765. When the student receives the OPT card, the student must send an email to and include their UFID number and a clear and legible copy of the OPT card (in pdf or jpg format). The copy will then be saved in the student’s UFIC-ISS record.