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 announced fee increases which will become effective for petitions/applications postmarked on or after October 2, 2020. Any application, petition, or request postmarked on or after this date must be accompanied with the fees established by this final rule. The USCIS fee for Form I-765 for Standard OPT or STEM OPT will change from $410 to $550.
: On September 29, 2020, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California issued a nationwide preliminary injunction and stay on implementation of the 2020 final USCIS fee rule in its entirety. New fees and form versions associated with that rule that were to be required on October 2, 2020, as well as all other aspects of the rule, are now on hold. Read the court's order. For more information, click here.

(See Sample Check or Money Order)

  • 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

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 via USPS Certified Mail or USPS Express Mail to the USCIS Lockbox which has jurisdiction over the STATE of the U.S Mailing Address provided on the I-765.

  • The student must go inside of USPS to pay for the postage fee; obtain and keep the tracking number for the package in order to be able to track USPS mailing.
  • 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. 

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.