File, Pay, and Submit the OPT Application Online
After the student receives the OPT Recommendation I-20, the student is responsible for filing, paying the fee, and submitting the application to USCIS. Do NOT file the OPT application without the OPT recommendation I-20. USCIS must receive the application within 30 days from the date the OPT recommendation was made in SEVIS and before the student’s 60-day grace period expires, whichever comes first.
The OPT application can be filed online. To be able to file the application online, the student must first create their myUSCIS account. Click on How to Create a USCIS Online Account to learn how to create the account.
It is your responsibility to make sure that the information you provide in the application is accurate and without error. We are not able to review the application with you, however, we have provided an extensive guide with answers to frequently asked questions:
NOTE: The online OPT application does not require the same documents as the mail-in application. However, we do recommend that you submit all the below documents in your online application, as USCIS may send a Request for Evidence for the documents, even if it was not clearly requested in the online application. Any documents not specifically requested within the online application may be submitted along with another document which is requested (for example, save the passport and F1 visa together, and upload it in the in the “Government ID” section) or later in the “Unsolicited Evidence” section of the application.
- One U.S. style passport picture of you, taken within 30 days of submitting the application
- The OPT Recommendation I-20; sign and date it in the Student Attestation section on page one, above student’s name
- I-94 Record Printout (Click on GET MOST RECENT I-94); the I-94 must be printed within 30 days of submitting the application
- Most recent F1 visa page from the passport (visa may be expired)
- Passport picture page (passport must be valid)
- Previous Employment Authorization Document (EAD) cards the student has had in the past (if any; front and back)
- Previous I-20s with CPT authorizations the student has had during the current degree program (if any)
The OPT application receipt will be available immediately after paying for and submitting the OPT application online in the myUSCIS account. The student may follow the progress of the application by viewing “Your Cases” in their myUSCIS account and clicking on Case Status, Case History, or Documents for application history and receipt. The student may also track their application status at the USCIS CASE STATUS ONLINE page.
How long does it take and where will USCIS mail the OPT card?
USCIS requires 3-4 months to adjudicate the OPT application. If USCIS requires any additional information, they will communicate directly in the student’s myUSCIS account. We recommend that the student check their myUSCIS account at least weekly. Once the application is adjudicated, if approved, USCIS will mail the OPT EAD card to the U.S. Mailing Address provided in the online OPT application. The student may only begin working once they have the OPT EAD in hand and the start date on the EAD has arrived or passed. Work includes but is not limited to paid, unpaid, volunteer, part time, full time, training, etc.
When the student receives the OPT EAD card, the student must send an email to UFIC-ISS@ufic.ufl.edu and include their UFID number and a clear and legible copy of the OPT EAD card (in pdf or jpg format). The copy will then be saved in the student’s UFIC-ISS record.
Reporting Requirements During OPT
Click on OPT & STEM OPT REPORTING REQUIREMENTS for details.