How to Apply Online

STOP! Do you have your new OPT I-20 from OISS?
Please do not proceed with filing your OPT application until after you have received, printed, and signed your new I-20 recommending OPT. Once you have your OPT I-20, you are ready to take the final step of submitting your application to USCIS!

1. Prepare Your Documents

To make the process of submitting your online application easy, please have the electronic files for these documents ready before you begin:

Document(s) Notes
Most recent I-94 arrival record (not your travel history)
Please make sure that your I-94 record reflects your most recent entry to the U.S. The I-94 should list 'F-1' as your class of admission and Admit Until Date: 'D/S'. If you see any errors on your I-94, please contact your OISS adviser.
  1. Click the 'Get Most Recent I-94' button on this page
  2. Click print and save as PDF
2 X 2 Photo Get a new photo taken and save a digital file to upload in your application. Be sure to follow the photo requirements here. This photograph:
  • must have been taken within 30 days of the submission of your OPT application
  • must not have been previously used
  • must not include eyeglasses
New OPT I-20 Once you receive your new I-20 recommending OPT from your OISS adviser, please:
  1. confirm the OPT dates on page two
  2. confirm if the part-time or full-time indication is accurate
    • post-completion OPT should be full-time
    • pre-completion OPT is part-time during the semester and may be full-time when school is not in session
  3. print it
  4. sign & date
  5. scan it
Copy of Old I-20s You should also have copies of your previous I-20s, especially the ones for (not all may apply to you):
  • initial attendance
  • transfer pending and transfer completed
  • change of educational level
  • program end date extended or shortened
  • CPT approval
  • any previous OPT recommendation

Please be sure to name each I-20 appropriately (e.g. “Initial I-20”, or “Summer 2021 CPT I-20”, etc.). If you are missing any of these I-20(s) please let your OISS adviser know so that they can assist you.

Please note that the USCIS online system does not allow you to upload more than 5 documents at a time. If you have more than five old I-20s you need to select and upload less than 5 at a time. This restriction does not mean you can upload only five documents; you can upload as many as you like. If you wish, you can also combine your old I-20s into one PDF file, but this is not necessary. 

Copy of Passport ID Page If you are a citizen of more than one country, please have copies of all of your passports ready.
If your F-1 visa is on your old passport, please have copies of both the old and the new passport ready.
Copy of F-1 Visa If you have more than one F-1 visa in your passport, you only need the most recent one. (Not applicable if you are Canadian)
Copy of Previous EAD(s) If you used OPT before at your current or previous educational level, have copy(ies) of your EAD(s) ready.

2. Create or Log into Your USCIS Account

  1. Follow instructions for creating a USCIS Online Account or log in to your USCIS account if you already have one.
  2. Click on 'MyUSICS'
  3. Select 'File a Form Online' and choose 'Application for Employment Authorization (I-765)'.
  4. ​Follow the instructions and complete each step in the order they are presented to you.

3. Completing Your Online OPT Application

As you navigate the sections of the online I-765 application, follow these tips to complete and submit your application. Once you pay the fee, you will no longer be able to edit your application.

Getting Started

Question How to Answer
What is your eligibility category? This is one of the most important choices you need to make and you need to make it right. Choosing the wrong category may result in the wrong EAD and you might need to pay a new filing fee to correct it. Choose '(c)(3)(B) Student Post-Completion OPT' unless you are a continuing student who will return to study after your Pre-Completion OPT (c)(3)(A) ends.
What is your reason for applying? Choose 'Initial permission for employment'.

About You

Question How to Answer
U.S. Mailing Address This is where your EAD will be mailed. Make certain that the address you put in this section will be valid for the next 5 months as this is where your receipt and approval notice, and EAD will be sent. Mail from USCIS will not be forwarded by the U.S. Postal Service.
If you have any doubt about where your mail will be delivered after graduation, we strongly advise that you use the OISS address (421 Temple St, New Haven CT 06511). If you decide to use our address you can enter “Yale OISS” under 'In Care Of Name (if any)'.
Is your current mailing address the same as your physical address? If you used the OISS address (421 Temple St) as your mailing address, then fill out your actual physical address here.
What is your date of birth? Be sure to use MM/DD format.
What is your country of citizenship or nationality? If you are a dual national, please remember to upload copies of both your passports in the relevant evidence section (see below).
What is your Form I-94 Arrival-Departure Record Number (if any)? Enter the admission number on your most recent I-94 arrival record (not your travel history). Make sure the record reflects your most recent entry to the U.S. and indicates F-1 as your class of admission and Admit Until Date: 'D/S', which stands for 'duration of status'. If you see any errors on your most recent I-94 record, please contact your OISS adviser.
Place of Arrival Please choose the port of entry (air, land, or sea) where you cleared U.S. immigration during your most recent trip.
  • If you used CBP Preclearance, choose that location as your place of arrival
  • If you took a domestic connecting flight in the U.S., choose the port of entry where you cleared the customs after your international flight
Status at last arrival Scroll down and select 'F1 - Student, Academic Or Language Program'.
what is your travel document number (if any) You will see this question after you enter your passport number above. If you already have a passport and entered the number in the indicated field above this question and if you do not have a separate travel document, please leave this section blank. 
What is your A-Number? Select 'I do not have or know my A-Number'.
What is your USCIS Account Number? If this is your first online application to USCIS, you will not have a USCIS Account Number yet. Select 'I do not have or know my USCIS Online Account Number'. If you filed an online application before and know your USCIS Account Number, please enter it here.

Evidence

Question How to Answer
2 x 2 photo of you Get a new photo taken and save a digital file to upload in your application. Be sure to follow the photo requirements here. This photograph:
  • must have been taken within 30 days of the submission of your OPT application
  • must not have been previously used
  • must not include eyeglasses
Form I-94

You do not need to upload your travel history. Make sure the record reflects your most recent entry to the U.S. and indicates F-1 as your class of admission and Admit Until Date: 'D/S', which stands for 'duration of status'. If you see any errors on your I-94, please contact your OISS adviser.

  1. Click the 'Get Most Recent I-94' button on this page
  2. Click print and save as PDF
  3. Upload it in this section
Employment Authorization Document or Government ID

If you used OPT before, upload a legible copy of your EAD card(s) here.

Regardless of any prior OPT use, please also upload in this section copies of:

  • your passport(s)
  • your F-1 visa (if any)
Be sure to name each file appropriately.
proof of enrollment Proof of enrollment for one academic year is an evidence item you will only see if you have chosen Pre-Completion OPT (c)(3)(A) as your eligibility category. If you are graduating this semester and are applying for Post-Completion OPT, you will not see this item online and do not need to submit it. If you are applying for pre-completion OPT, please upload a copy of your initial I-20 that you used to enter the U.S. here. 
Previously Authorized CPT or OPT

Be sure to name each I-20 appropriately (e.g. “Initial I-20”, or “Summer 2021 CPT I-20”, etc.) If you are missing any of these I-20(s) please let your OISS adviser know so that they can help you retrieve them.

  • For CPT: Upload a copy of your I-20(s) showing approved CPT.
  • For OPT: Upload a copy of your I-20(s) showing requested or approved OPT.
  • If you are applying for post-completion OPT, please also upload any other old I-20s you have from Yale or any other previous school in this section as well.

Please note that the USCIS online system does not allow you to upload more than 5 documents at a time. If you have more than five old I-20s you need to select and upload less than 5 at a time. This restriction does not mean you can upload only five documents; you can upload as many as you like. If you wish, you can also combine your old I-20s into one PDF file, but this is not necessary.

Form I-20 Please print, sign, scan, and then upload here the new I-20 that OISS issued to recommend you for OPT. This is the most important document in your online application. DO NOT SUBMIT your OPT application without uploading this new I-20 that shows your requested OPT type, full or part-time status, and dates at the top of the second page of your new I-20.

Additional Information

You should select 'add a response' ONLY if you:

  • Had a different SEVIS number(s) than your current one: Choose the 'About You' section, the 'Your immigration information' page, and the 'What is your SEVIS number (if any)?' question, and under 'Additional Information' indicate your previous SEVIS ID and the start and end date of your previous I-20(s).
  • Have previously been authorized OPT(s): Choose the 'Evidence' section, the 'Previously authorized CPT or OPT' page, and 'Previously authorized CPT or OPT' question, and under 'Additional Information' include the receipt number (the number that starts with YSC, EAC, PSC, WAC, LIN, etc.), start and end dates of OPT, whether it was full-time or part-time, pre- or post-completion, and academic level (Bachelor's, Master's, Doctorate) at which each OPT was authorized.
  • Have previously been authorized CPT(s): Choose the 'Evidence' section, the 'Previously authorized CPT or OPT' page, and 'Previously authorized CPT or OPT' question, and under 'Additional Information' include the start and end dates of your CPT, whether it was full-time or part-time, and academic level (Bachelor's, Master's, Doctorate) at which each CPT was authorized.
  • Are a citizen of three or more countries: Choose the 'About You' section, the 'Your immigration information' page, and the 'What is your country of citizenship or nationality?' question, and under 'Additional Information' indicate your additional nationalities and be sure to upload copies of each passport under the 'Employment Authorization Document or Government ID' section of Evidence.

4. Review and Submit

  • Check that you are within the 30-day window after the date your new I-20 recommending OPT was issued. Do not submit your application if it is outside this timeframe. Contact your OISS adviser for assistance.
  • Verify that all information is correct, then digitally sign and submit your application.
Important Note:
You must be physically in the U.S. when you submit your application to USCIS.

5. Pay the Application Fee

  • Pay the required application fee of $410 (debit or credit card payment recommended)
  • Remember that once you pay the fee, there can be no changes to your application as it will be considered submitted.