Applying Online for OPT or STEM Extension

STOP!

DO YOU HAVE YOUR NEW OPT I-20 FROM ISSO?

Please do NOT proceed with filing your OPT application before you obtain an Optional Practical Training (OPT) recommended I-20 from the International Students & Scholars Office (ISSO). Be sure to complete Step 3 of the OPT filing process to obtain your OPT I-20, otherwise your applications is at risk of DENIAL from United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).


Application Documents to Prepare

  • Two color passport photos, taken within 30 days of the date the application is filed
    • Photos must show the entire face of the person in full frontal view
  • Copy of the OPT I-20 (pages 1 & 2) which will be provided to you by ISSO. Please print, sign, scan, and then upload your application. This is the most important document in your online application. DO NOT SUBMIT your OPT application without uploading this new I-20. Your application will be at risk of DENIAL without this I-20.
  • Most recent I-94 Arrival and Departure Record (this is NOT your Travel History page). You can obtain this on CBP's I-94 website.
  • Copies of ALL your previous I-20s
  • Copy of the passport identification and expiration date page(s)
  • Copy of the F-1 visa stamp page (or copy of approval notice of change of status to F-1)
    • Note: Canadian citizens will not have this stamp
  • Copy of any previously issued Employment Authorization Document(s) (EAD)

Submitting your Application to USCIS Online

  • STEP 1: Create your USCIS account
  • STEP 2: File your online OPT application
    • Select "File a form online" under "My Account"
    • Choose "Application for Employment Authorization (I-765)"
    • Follow the instructions and complete each step in the order they are presented to you.

Tips for a Successful Online I-765 Submission

Please note, the University of Massachusetts Lowell’s assistance is meant to help you in completing your application as a courtesy only. It should not be considered legal advice. The US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) ultimately provides the decision on your OPT application. It is your responsibility, as the OPT applicant, to ensure that your OPT application is accurate, complete, and timely submitted to the U.S. government. Incomplete or late applications could result in a delay in processing time or denial. The University of Massachusetts Lowell in no event shall be held liable for any delay, denial, or mistake on your OPT application.

Eligibility Category

  • (c)(3)(A) Student Pre-Completion OPT
    • If you intend to work before graduation
  • (c)(3)(B) Student Post-Completion OPT
    • If you intend to work after graduation
  • (c)(3)(C) Student Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics (STEM) Extension OPT
    • For students applying for the 24 month STEM Extension (must be eligible)

Reason for Applying

  • Initial permission for employment

What is your current U.S. mailing address?

  • All USCIS communication about your OPT application (including EAD card) will be mailed to this address. This address must be valid until after you receive your EAD card.
  • Note: Mail from USCIS will NOT be forwarded by the U.S. Postal Services - instead, it will return to USCIS.

What is your Form I-94 Arrival-Departure Record Number (if any)?

  • This is the "Admission(I-94) Record number" found on your most recent I-94.

When did you last arrive in the United States?

  • Enter your most recent arrival date, the place of U.S. port of entry, and your visa status at your most recent arrival.

Evidence Uploads

Please note: Accepted file formats will be the following - JPG, JPEG, PDF, TIF, or TIFF

2x2 Photo of You

I-94, Arrival and Departure Record

  • Obtain your "Most Recent I-94" via the CBP I-94 website. This is NOT your "Travel History" page

Employment Authorization Document or Government ID - Upload the following:

  • Passport ID page
  • F-1 visa
  • Previously authorized EAD (if any)

Proof of Enrollment (Pre-Completion OPT ONLY)

  • Upload evidence of having been lawfully enrolled on a full-time basis for one full academic year at UMass Lowell

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 ISSO advisor know so that they can help you retrieve copies of 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 UMass Lowell 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 five documents at a time. If you have more than five old I-20s you need to select and upload less than five 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 the ISSO 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 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.

Receiving your EAD Card from USCIS

Your name MUST be listed clearly on the mailbox at the delivery address you specified in your OPT application. If your name is not on the mailbox, USPS will not deliver your EAD card. The card will then be returned to USCIS, at which point it is a very lengthy process to retrieve it. This can have significant impacts on your ability to work on OPT.