How to Apply by Mail

If you prefer not to apply online, you still have an option to print and mail your OPT application to USCIS after you receive your new OPT I-20.

Important Note:
DO NOT SEND A PAPER APPLICATION if you have already filed online.

Note that a paper application cannot be amended after filing, so make sure that you follow these directions to complete the application correctly. To start, watch this video for a short overview on assembling your OPT application.

Important Information

  • Deadlines to note:
    • USCIS needs to receive (being postmarked is not sufficient) your OPT application within 30 days of the issuance date of your I-20 recommending OPT
    • If you file outside this regulatory limit your OPT application can be denied
  • Your OISS adviser will give you a specific deadline in your email notification when the OPT I-20 is ready
  • Sign the copy of the new I-20 before you submit it to USCIS.
  • 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 (be sure to fill this out by carefully following the web guide. Print single-sided, and sign in blue ink)
  • Photocopy of new I-20 recommending OPT (signed and dated)
  • Photocopies of all previous I-20s
  • Photocopy of your previous EAD cards (if you used OPT before)
  • Printed most recent I-94 record
  • Photocopy of your passport ID page(s)
  • Photocopy of your F-1 visa stamp (unless you are Canadian)
Important Notes:
  • Compile these items in the order listed above
  • Do not staple any of these items. Instead, attach all the items above together with a paper clip on the top left corner.

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):

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).