Your OPT Application Checklist

When applying for OPT, it’s very important to submit a complete application. Here you will find a guide to help you prepare all of the documents that should be submitted to the USCIS.

Please note that this checklist is intended for general informational purposes only. It is your responsibility to review and follow all official instructions provided by USCIS

Be sure to include all of the following:

  • Completed I-765 
  • Completed G-1145 
  • Copies of all previous I-20s, including a copy your new OPT I-20 (issued no more than 25 days ago — if issued more than 25 days ago, ask the Center for International Student Engagement (CISE) to issue you a new one
  • Copy of passport bio page (passport should not be expiring within the next six months)
  • Copy of F-1 visa stamp (except for citizens of Canada and Bermuda)
  • Payment of $410 (select one payment option and provide the below):
    • Check or money order for $410 made payable to the US Department of Homeland Security, with SEVIS ID number written in Memo section, OR
    • Completed G-1450 for $410 credit card payment
  • Copy of most recent I-94 record 
  • Copies of previous EAD cards (if you have been on OPT before, or have otherwise been issued an EAD in the past)
  • Two US passport-style photos (must be taken within the last 30 days, cannot have been used for any other immigration applications, and should measure 2”x2”)

Follow the links here for help filing out government forms!

I-765

G-1145

G-1450

I-983

USCIS Mailing Addresses


The I-765

The I-765 is a required form for any OPT application. It is critical that this form be filled out carefully and correctly, because a single mistake can cause significant delays to your your OPT application process, or even a rejection. 

Be sure to use the fillable PDF version of the I-765, to avoid errors caused by hard-to-read handwriting. Once filled out digitally, print out and sign in blue or black ink by hand and send the original with your OPT application.

Note: all fields otherwise left blank should be filled in with "none" or "N/A".

Filling out the I-765:

  • Part 1: Reason for Applying
    • I am applying for
      • Check the box for “Permission to accept employment” if you are applying for Pre-Completion or Post-Completion OPT.
      • Check the box “Replacement” if you have lost your EAD and are requesting a replacement (but be sure to check in with us at the CISE first).
      • Check the box for “Renewal of my permission to accept employment” if your are applying for the STEM OPT extension.

  • Part 2: Information About You
    • 1. Full Legal Name
      • Enter your family name first. Enter your first name second. Include your middle name if you have one.

    • 2-4. Other Names Used
      • Provide all other names you have ever used, including aliases, maiden names, and nicknames.  You may provide up to three names.  
    •  5-6. US Mailing Address
      • Provide the street address you would like to use for any ensuring correspondence with USCIS about your OPT application, including approval documents and your EAD. This must be a US address and it should be valid three months into the future. If you expect that this address will not be valid for three months, you should provide the US mailing address of a trusted friend or family member that will be valid in three months.
        • You may provide the CISE mailing address if you'd like. The CISE would receive your mail from the USCIS and, when it arrives, you can request to have it shipped to you. If you would like to do this, provide this mailing address on the I-765:
          • 5a. Center for International Student Engagement
          • 5b. 100 Boltwood Ave
          • 5c. Apt 2293
          • 5d. Amherst
          • 5e. MA
          • 5f. 01002
          • 6. No
            • You must fill out #7 with your accurate physical address in the US.  You cannot provide the CISE's address for #7.

    • 7. US Physical Address
      • Provide the street address where you are residing.  This must be a US address.  You may not provide the CISE address here.
    • 8-17. Other Information
      • 8. Alien Registration Number (A-Number): Leave blank (unless you have received an A-Number)

      • 9. USCIS Online Account Number: Leave blank (unless you have previously filed an application or petition using the USCIS online filing system and received a USCIS Online Account Number)
      • 10.  Gender: Select the sex reflected in your passport and I-20.

      • 11.  Marital Status: Select your current marital status

      • 12. Have you previously filed Form I-765:
        • Select Yes if you have applied for OPT previously or have submitted an I-765 for another petition
        • Select No if you have never filed an I-765 in the past

      • 13-17. Social Security Number
        • 13a. If you have an SSN, select Yes and fill out 13b. If you do not have an SSN, select No and skip to 14.
        • 13b.  If you selected Yes for 13a, provide your SSN here.  Skip if you do not have an SSN.
        • 14. If you slected No for 13a, and you would like to apply for an SSN via this form, select Yes. If you already have an SSN, select No and skip to 18.
        • 15. If you selected Yes for 14 and would like to apply for an SSN via this form, select Yes.
        • 16-17: Only answer these questions if you do not have an SSN and selected Yes for 14 and 15. By answering these questions, you will be applying for a Social Security card with the Social Security Administration. Your SSN will be issued, and you will receive a Social Security card within 2-4 weeks of your OPT application approval. You will not need to submit a separate application for an SSN to the Social Security Administration.

    • 18. Your Country or Countries of Citizenship or Nationality 
      • List all countries where you are a citizen or national.  If additional space is needed, use space provided in Part 6. Additional Information.

    • 19-20. Place of Birth
      • Fill out all fields to provide your location and date of birth.

    • 21-26. Information About Your Last Arrival in the US
      • 21a. Enter the Admission (I-94) Record Number from your most recent I-94 record.
      • 21b. Passport number (most recently issued passport)
      • 21c. Travel document number (if any; this will likely be blank)
      • 21d. Country that issued your passport or travel document
      • 21e. Passport or travel document expiration date (mm/dd/yyyy)
      • 22. Place of your last arrival into the US: Enter the last date you entered the US. This should be visible in the entry stamp in your passport as well as listed in your most recent I-94 record.
      • 23. Place of your last arrival into the US: Enter the city and state where you most recently entered the US. This should be listed on your most recent I-94 record.
      • 24. Immigration status at your last arrival: Your status of last entry is most likely "F-1 Student," unless you have since changed status from within the US.  This status should be reflected on your most recent I-94 record, as well. 
      • 25. Current immigration status: F-1 Student
      • 26. SEVIS ID: As listed on your I-20

    • 27-31: Information about your eligibility category
      • 27. Eligiblity category: Enter the code for the type of OPT you are requesting:
        • If you are applying for Pre-Completion OPT, enter the code (c) (3) (A).
        • For Post-Completion OPT, enter the code (c) (3) (B).
        • For STEM OPT enter the code (c) (3) (C).
      • 28.  If you are applying for the 24 month STEM OPT Extension, enter the following:
        • Degree: Write “Bachelors” and the CIP code found on your I-20.
        • Employer name: Write your employer's name as listed in the e-verify system (this should also match your I-983 for STEM).
        • Employer's E-verify number (required for STEM): Write your employer's e-verify number. This is usually 4 - 7 digits. E-verify number is not the same as EIN. Check with your employer if you do not know your employer's e-verify number.

  • Part 3: Applicant's Statement, Contact Information, Certification, and Signature
    • 1-2. Applicant's Statement
      • Select either 1a, 1b, or 2.  Most students will find that 1a is the most accurate selection.
    • 3-6. Applicant's Contact Information
      • 3. Provide your daytime US phone number
      • 4. Provide your US mobile phone number (can be the same as 3)
      • 5. Provide your email address
      • 6. Do not check this box; it does not pertain to OPT applications.
    • 7. Applicant's signature
      • Read through the declaration and certification text.
      • Be sure to sign the form in blue or black ink inside the box. Make sure only your signature is in the box and fits entirely within it, as the government will scan your signature for your approval document.
      • Enter the date that you signed the document. This date should not be more than 25 days old when you submit your OPT application.

  • Part 4: Interpreter's Contact Information, Certification, and Signature
    • 1-7: You should only fill out this section if your I-765 has been completed by an interpreter.  

  • Part 5: Contact Information, Declaration, and Signature of the Person Preparing this Application, if Other than the Applicant
    • 1-7: You should only fill out this section if your I-765 has been prepared by a person other than you (if an interpreter, see Part 4).  

  • Part 6: Additional Information
    • This space is intended for you to provide any additional information that could not fit earlier in the application.  You may make multiple copies of this page if needed.  Generally, for OPT applications, this page is not needed.

The G-1450

The G-1450 is required for those who wish to pay the $410 processing fee via credit card instead of providing a check or money order.  By completing and including the G-1450, you are agreeding to a $410 charge to be placed on the credit or debit card listed in your completed form.  Failure to provide either a complete and correct G-1140 or a check or money order will result in the USCIS rejecting your OPT application.

Please note that some students have experienced unexpected rejections of their OPT application when including the G-1450.  If the credit card charge is denied or does not go through (for any reason), the OPT application will be rejected and returned to sender, and a new application must be resubmitted.  The rejection process can take a number of weeks, setting one back in their OPT application timeline.  Weigh the pros and cons of this option closely for your particular case.  In most cases, because time is a concern, we recommend against using the G-1450 because results are less reliable.

If you do decide to submit the G-1450 for payment, be sure to place your G-1450 on the very top if your OPT application when mailing to the USCIS.

The G-1145

The G-1145 is not technically required when applying for OPT, but is highly recommended. By completing and including the G-1145, you are allowing the USCIS to provide electronic notifications to you via email and/or text message, in addition to hardcopy notifications sent to your mailing address. Receiving electronic notifications will mean that you receive communications from the USCIS significantly more quickly than if you were to rely solely on physical mail.

  • Be sure to use the fillable PDF version of the G-1145, to avoid errors caused by hard-to-read handwriting.

  • The G-1145 might be the easiest form of all to complete. You’ll want to provide your full name, email address, and mobile phone number. And that's it!

The I-983 (for STEM OPT ONLY)

The I-983 is only required when applying for the STEM OPT extension. It should be completed and signed by your employer.

Only pages 1 - 4 need to be completed when you apply. Electronic signatures are not accepted; you and your employer must each sign the form in ink. Remember, if you have multiple employers, you must work a minimum of 20 hours per week at each employer and submit a Form I-983 for each employer.

The I-983 must be submitted to the CISE, and not to the USCIS. The I-983 should not be included in the final packet that you mail to the USCIS. The form must be completed with all relevant signatures before you complete the STEM OPT I-20 Request Form.

This page is intended to help you as you and your employer as you fill out the I-983. If it doesn’t answer all of your questions, be sure to ask us at the CISE!  The US government has also provided detailed instructions and a step-by-step tutorial for you and your employer to review when completing this form.

  • Section 1: Student Information
    • Student Email Address
      • Provide your preferred email address.
    • Name of School Recommending STEM OPT
      • Amherst College
    • Name of School Where STEM Degree Was Earned
      • If this STEM OPT extension application is based on your most recent degree, enter Amherst College.
    • SEVIS School Code Recommending STEM OPT (including 3-digit suffix)
      • BOS214F00012000 (this number can also be found on your I-20, page 1).
    • Designated School Official (DSO) Name and Contact Information
      • Johanna Bliss, 100 Boltwood Ave, AC# 2293 Keefe Campus Center, Amherst College, Amherst, MA 01002; 413-542-2612; cise@amherst.edu
    • Student SEVIS ID Number
      • Enter your SEVIS ID number, found on your I-20 (page 1).
    • STEM OPT Requested Period: (mm-dd-yyyy)
      • The start date should be the day after your current OPT expires as indicated on your Employment Authorization Document (EAD). The end date should be two years from the end date of your Post-completion OPT as indicated on your EAD.
    • Qualifying Major and Classification of Instructional Programs (CIP) Code
      • If this STEM extension application is based on your most recent degree from Amherst College, write the name of the major and the CIP code listed on your most recent I-20. The CIP code can be found on page 1 of the I-20.
    • Level/Type of Qualifying Degree
      • If this STEM extension application is based on your most recent degree from Amherst College, write Bachelor’s.
    • Date Awarded
      • Enter the date your degree was awarded, which is typically found on your official transcript.
    • Based on Prior Degree?
      • Answer “no” if this application is based on your most recent degree from Amherst College.
    • Employment Authorization Number
      • Enter the A# or USCIS # listed on your current EAD. It is usually in the format of xxx-xxx-xxx.
  • Section 2: Student Certification
    • Signature of Student
      • Sign your name in ink. Electronic signatures are NOT accepted at this time.
  • Section 3: Employer Information
    • This section should be completed by your employer.
  • Sections 4 & 6: Employer Certifications
    • These sections must be signed in ink by the employer. Electronic signatures are NOT accepted at this time.
  • Section 5: Training Plan for STEM OPT Students
    • This section should be completed by you and the employer.
    • Note about Student Role
      • Enter a description of the role with the employer and how that role is directly related to the student's knowledge obtained through the qualifying STEM degree.

Be sure to submit a new I-983 to the CISE within 10 days of any of these changes

  • Changes to the employer’s commitments or student’s learning objectives'
  • Any change of Employer Identification Number (EIN) resulting from a corporate restructuring
  • Any reduction in compensation that is not tied to a reduction in hours worked
  • Any significant decrease in hours per week that a student engages in a STEM training opportunity, and
  • Any decrease in hours below the minimum required 20‐hours‐per‐week

USCIS Mailing Address

Wondering where to send your OPT application?  Well, the answer depends on two things:

  1. Where you live, and
  2. How you are shipping your OPT application.

If you live in Massachusets and are shipping your OPT application as recommended via USPS Express, FedEx, UPS, or DHS, you should mail it to the following USCIS address:

Attn: AOS
2501 S. State Hwy. 121 Business
Suite 400
Lewisville, TX 75067

If you do not live in Massachusetts, and/or you are shipping via USPS (not USPS Express), see the USCIS Lockbox Facilities page to determine which USCIS address to use. (The CISE will also help you to determine which USCIS address to use at your OPT review session.)