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USCIS update regarding applicants filing Form I-765 for OPT or STEM OPT

On April 12, 2021, USCIS announced that certain F-1 students can now file the Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, online. 

F-1 students seeking optional practical training (OPT) in an occupation directly related to their major area of study and filing under one of the following three categories, are eligible to apply for an employment authorization document online:

  • (c)(3)(A) – Pre-Completion OPT,
  • (c)(3)(B) – Post-Completion OPT, and 
  • (c)(3)(C) – 24-Month Extension for science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) students.

To file Form I-765 online, eligible F-1 students must first visit to create a USCIS online account. There is no cost to create an account, and the account offers a variety of features, including the ability to communicate with USCIS about your application through a secure inbox.

During this webinar, USCIS representatives will give an overview of the online account features and share instructions on how eligible applicants can file Form I-765 online.  

*The option to file Form I-765 online is only available to F-1 students filing Form I-765 for OPT. All other applicants will continue to file the paper Form I-765.

USCIS Accommodations due to COVID-19

ALERT: Pursuant to a court order (PDF, 613.77 KB), these flexibilities have been extended to include applications received from Oct. 1, 2020, through Oct. 31, 2021.
For applicants who timely filed Form I-765 for OPT and STEM OPT and whose applications were later rejected, USCIS will accept a refiled Form I-765 as filed on the original filing date if:
  • The original, timely filed application was received on or after Oct. 1, 2020, through Oct. 31, 2021, inclusive; and
  • USCIS subsequently rejected it.
Refiled applications must be received by Nov. 30, 2021, for USCIS to treat the application as though filed on the original received date.
Additionally, for applications received through October 31, 2021, applicants can file Form I-765 up to 120 days before the program end date.

What you can do: 

You can create a free USCIS online account, check the status of your case, and USCIS current processing times from your mobile device, anywhere, anytime using their case status online tool.

Employment Authorizations

As an F-1 or J-1 international student, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) provides a variety of opportunities to be employed in the United States during and after the completion of a degree. Students must obtain the appropriate work authorization type before commencing employment. Failing to receive proper work authorization is a serious violation of your F-1 or J-1 student status.


Employment Authorization Workshop Schedule

Attending the Fall 2021 F-1 Student Webinar Series workshops on employment authorizations will assist students in understanding the eligibility requirements and application process of obtaining employment authorizations while on an F-1 student visa. This semester we will offer workshops on:

Planning your career

Let's face it. The end goal of this wonderful academic journey you are on is the perfect career. Join us to discover the many ways that ASU’s Career and Professional Development Services can help you reach your goals. They offer support with charting your career path, resumes and applications, interviewing skills, making connections, and landing your dream job.

Eligibility for off-campus work prior to graduation (Pre-OPT/CPT)

Are you thinking about an internship this semester? If so, you will need the appropriate work authorization to maintain your F-1 status. Join us to see which work authorization is best for you.

CPT application process

Congratulations! You've found your internship opportunity. Now what? Let the ISSC show you the steps to requesting your Curricular Practical Training work authorization.

Pre-OPT application process

Everything you need to know about applying for Pre-OPT, from submitting your eForm request to completing Form I-765 and even a walk-through of the supporting documents you will need to collect for the application.

Eligibility for off-campus work after graduation 

The time to put what you've learned into practice is drawing near. Join us to determine if you are eligible to apply for Post-OPT. Question-and-answer period to follow.

Eligibility for off-campus work after graduation for thesis or dissertation students

Working on your thesis or dissertation? Are you finished with all of your coursework? Is your thesis or dissertation almost completed? Are you waiting for your defense date? You may be eligible to apply for Post-OPT to begin before you defend. Join us today to find out if this is right for you!

Post-OPT application process

Everything you need to know about applying for Post-OPT, from submitting your eForm request to completing Form I-765 and even a walk-through of the supporting documents you will need to collect for the application.

Post-OPT maintaining status

You are so close to graduation and your Optional Practical Training is soon to begin. It's important for you to know what it takes to remain compliant while you are authorized for Post-OPT. This short webinar will walk you through the regulations while you are on Post-OPT. Bring your questions!

STEM extension eligibility

You might be asking yourself, "What is the STEM extension and do I qualify?" Join us as we discuss the eligibility requirements of the STEM extension. Stick around for an in-depth Q&A. Hope to see you there!

STEM application process

Join us for an in-depth look at the STEM application process. We will cover the timing of your application, USCIS requirements, Form I-983, Form I-765 and supporting documents. Be sure to bring your questions!

Maintaining status while on STEM extension

The STEM extension has complex regulations that you must follow to remain in compliance with the terms of your F-1 status. If you have plans for future U.S. non-immigrant benefits such as H-1B, it is imperative that you do not miss any of your reporting deadlines. Let us walk you through maintaining your status while you are authorized for STEM extension.


Congratulations! Your employer has applied for your H-1B. What are your options if your Post-OPT or STEM extension will expire before the Oct. 1 H-1B start date? Please join us to learn about the Cap-Gap and find out if you qualify.

Social Security number

Did you land a new job or internship? If you do not have one already, you will need to apply for a Social Security number. Join us to learn about the regulations and process on requesting one.

The Spring 2021 F-1 Student Webinar Series workshops are offered throughout the semester. If you are unable to attend at the scheduled time, don’t worry. These workshops will be posted to the ISSC YouTube channel.