To begin your OPT application follow these steps in sequential order.
- Review all subjects in our OPT web guide
- View the OPT workshop presentation for your school or program
Below is a full list of documents you need for the OPT application process. You may click the linked items for detailed instructions.
- Form G-1145: allows you to get e-notifications about the status of your OPT application. Complete the bottom section of this form.
- Form I-765
- Most recent I-94 record (printed)
- Two U.S. passport-style photographs
- Check or money order for $410
- Make photocopies of:
- New I-20 recommending OPT (signed, issued by your OISS adviser after OISS review)
- All previous I-20s (including those from any previous study in the U.S.)
- Your passport ID pages (including your photo, passport number, and expiration date)
- Your most recent F-1 visa stamp (unless you are a Canadian citizen)
- Any previous EAD(s) (if you used OPT before)
To create and submit your OPT Request you should open a Chrome (recommended) or Firefox browser and use this link to log in to OISS Connect.
If you are returning to work on your request, log in to connect.oiss.yale.edu to edit your pending request on your profile page.
You will be prompted for your NetID and password, and then should select the 'Request, (current year)' option.
Once you have created your OPT record, you will have several steps to complete:
- Fill out an 'Electronic Recommendation' request. For OISS to consider your request for OPT you must request confirmation from your academic adviser, DGS, DUS, Registrar or Dean. Your OISS adviser will give you the name or email address of the appropriate recommender. Click here for example.
Important Note:When completing the recommendation in the 'Additional Information' section, make sure to include a message to your recommender to let them know that you are applying for OPT and that when they select your 'Completion of Study' date, you cannot study or work at, or be paid by Yale past that date. Click here for example.
- Review each 'Learning Content' item and mark it as having been read. Click here for example.
- Take the 'OPT Quiz' in the 'Assessment' section. You can take the quiz up to three (3) times. Your final score will be the highest score. Your final score must be at least 80% to complete this assessment. Click here for example.
- Submit each questionnaire in the 'Questionnaire(s)' section. Click here for example.
Note that this is where you will upload your Form G-1145, Form I-765 and Form I-94, so be sure you have completed these forms and saved the PDFs. The OPT Employment Information questionnaire has several instructions; please read them carefully.
- Read and digitally sign the 'OPT Statement of Understanding' in the 'Signature Documents' section. Click here for example.
After each item has been marked 'Completed' and after your Academic Adviser has completed their recommendation, be sure you return to the top of the page and click the Submit button. If you do not click this button, OISS cannot process your request. Click here for example.
Due to COVID-19 precautions OISS has been closed to the public. Your adviser will review your submission for any notes or changes, and may request that you make an appointment to complete the I-20 process. When your I-20 has been printed you will be emailed a copy with detailed instructions on how to assemble your OPT application to mail to USCIS. As we are working remotely and not always near a printer/scanner, be sure you give OISS 5-7 business days to review your request.
Once you receive your new I-20 and the complete OPT package from OISS, you are ready to mail your application to USCIS.
Watch this video for a short overview on assembling your OPT application.
- Deadlines to note: There is a limited time to mail your OPT application and if you file outside the regulatory guidelines your OPT application can be denied. Your OISS adviser will give you a specific deadline during your OPT appointment.
- Sign the copy of the new I-20 that is included in your OPT package by your OISS adviser before you submit it to USCIS. (Note: Sign and keep the original of your new I-20. You should only send the signed copy of this new I-20 with your application)
- Review the OPT Application Checklist for Mailing and make sure you have all the required documents ready for mailing.
OPT Application Checklist for Mailing
- Check or Money Order for $410
- Two Photographs
- Form G-1145
- Form I-765 (signed in blue ink and dated; read over the entire form to be sure all check boxes printed)
- Photocopy of new I-20 recommending OPT (signed)
- Photocopies of all previous I-20s
- Printed most recent I-94 record
- Photocopy of your passport ID page(s)
- Photocopy of your F-1 visa stamp (unless you are Canadian)
- Photocopy of your previous EAD cards (if you used OPT before)
Mailing Your OPT Application
We recommend that you mail your OPT application via certified mail with a return receipt or tracking number, e.g. Fed Ex, UPS, USPS. For your convenience, we are able to offer a link to create a slightly discounted shipping label through eShipGlobal (see instructions below):
- Register for an account with UEMS at https://study.eshipglobal.com/register/ if you do not already have an account.
- Log into UEMS.
- Click on the “OPT Application” image or the “Send Documents To USCIS” button.
- Find your address already pre-populated in the “Senders Address”. If you would like to change your address, simply enter your new address in the “Sender Address” fields.
- Find the correct lockbox and the relevant address here (look under “Foreign Students”, category (c)(3)(i)). Select (Express Mail - Non USPS) to send via FedEx or UPS [recommended], or (USPS) to send via USPS.
- Select OPT Application, select the carrier, and enter your payment information.
- Print your label, attach it to the shipping envelope and drop it off at the nearest shipping carrier location. If you don’t have a shipping envelope, you can get one free of charge at the nearest shipping carrier location.
Your OPT package must be received by USCIS within 30 days of the issuance of your new OPT I-20.
Your OPT application and all of the required documentation above must be sent to the USCIS Lockbox facility. Find the correct lockbox and the relevant address here (look under “Foreign Students”, category (c)(3)(i)). Please note that the address of the lockbox facility is slightly different depending on your mailing method (via USPS or courier service).