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Applying for Optional Practical Training

Submitting Your OPT and STEM OPT Application

On April 12, 2021, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that requests for Optional Practical Training (OPT) and the STEM OPT Extension could be applied for via the I-765 online through the USCIS website.  The instructions below contain information on how to apply for the STEM OPT Extension with USCIS for both the online and mail submission methods and students may choose either, though SISS recommends the online USCIS submission.

Step 1: Attend the three-part OPT Workshop

Step 2: Submit a request to SISS for an OPT I-20

  • Request an OPT recommendation I-20 through iGlobal.

Screen capture from iGlobal to request an OPT I-20

  • DO NOT SUBMIT to USCIS until AFTER you get the SISS OPT recommendation I-20 from iGlobal 
    Complete all required e-forms in iGlobal, which includes uploading:
  • While you wait for SISS to issue your OPT recommendation I-20, you may begin preparing the OPT Application documents listed in Step 3. Do not proceed to Step 4 until you receive your OPT recommendation I-20 from SISS.  

Step 3: Prepare your OPT Application Documents 

  • Check the current filing fee before submitting. Check or money order payable to U.S. Department of Homeland Security if you are mailing your request to USCIS.  Credit or debit card or bank account information if you will complete the online request (do not pay the online filing fee and submit your online USCIS OPT application until your iGlobal request has been approved and you have your OPT recommendation I-20 from your SISS advisor)
  • Optional (highly recommended): Form G-1145  to receive an e-mail and/or a text message that your application has been accepted and the receipt number you will use to track your case (this form is only for the mail in application to USCIS and not for the Online USICS OPT submission)
  • Original I-765 application form (if mailing your request to USCIS) 
    • The physical signature MUST fit inside the box and be signed with black ink. Electronic signatures are not acceptable
    • Any previous CPT or OPT must be documented on your I-765 (See the I-765 online instructions for the recommended method depending on how you plan to apply with USCIS or the I-765 mail instructions)  
    • Any previous SEVIS numbers must be documented on your I-765 (See the I-765 online instructions for the recommended method depending on how you plan to apply with USCIS or the I-765 mail instructions
  • Form I-94, Arrival-Departure Record 
    • Option 1: A printout of your electronicForm I-94
    • Option 2: Photocopy of both front and back of a paper I-94 record stapled in the passport (rare) 
  • A copy of your last EAD (front and back) if you have been issued an EAD card by USCIS in the past 
  • Photocopy of passport biographical information, showing passport expiration date
  • A copy of your visa stamp page in your passport
    • Although this is not an official requirement yet, student applications have been rejected because a copy of the visa stamp has not been included.
  • Photocopy of the new I-20 with the OPT recommendation (all pages). Be sure to sign and date the Student Attestation section.  
  • Two photos
    • Must have been taken within the past 30 days on a white background, 2” x 2”
    • See photo guidelines 
    • If mailing your OPT request to USCIS, print your full name, SEVIS ID, and date of birth lightly in pencil or felt pen on the back of the photos
  • If you are submitting your OPT request via mail to USCIS your OPT packet documents should be in the order shown above and follow the USCIS guidelines about how to arrange your documents for mailing your OPT packet.


Optional: Schedule an appointment with a Tier 1 Advisor for an OPT Packet Review to have your documents reviewed before mailing your application or completing the online submission to USCIS.

Step 4: Submit your OPT Request to USCIS

  • After receiving your OPT recommendation I-20, submit your application to USCIS as soon as possible. USCIS must receive your application before the end of your 60-Day Grace Period and within 30 days of the date SISS recommended your OPT (refer to the “Date Issued” on page 1 of your I-20).
    • If completing the online OPT submission to USCIS follow part 4 in these detailed instructions (only after your iGlobal OPT request has been approved and you have received your OPT recommendation I-20)
    • If submitting your OPT request via mail, mail the OPT packet to USCIS:
      • Use an express mail courier (Federal Express, UPS, DHL, etc.) and keep your tracking number to confirm delivery.  Mail to the USCIS address below:
        Attn: I-765 C03 
        (Box 805373)

        131 South Dearborn - 3rd Floor
        Chicago, IL 60603-5517