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 my.uscis.gov 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
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.
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:
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.