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  • Emily McIntosh

International Students on F-1 can now file for OPT online

Updated: Apr 30, 2021

USCIS announced on April 12, 2021 that F-1 students seeking Optional Practical Training (OPT) can now file Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, online if they are filing under one of these categories:

  • (c)(3)(A) – Pre-Completion OPT;

  • (c)(3)(B) – Post-Completion OPT; and

  • (c)(3)(C) – 24-Month Extension of OPT for STEM students

What is an OPT?

OPT is temporary employment that is awarded to an F-1 student. Eligible students can apply to receive up to 12 months of OPT before completing their academic studies (pre-completion) and/or after completing their academic studies (post-completion). Eligible F-1 students who receive STEM degrees may apply for a 24-month extension of their post-completion OPT.

What are the benefits of online filing?

Online filing allows students to submit forms electronically, check the status of their case anytime from anywhere, and receive notices from USCIS online instead of waiting for them in the mail.

How can I file for the OPT online?

To file for an OPT online, students must first create a USCIS online account at This free account allows you to:

  • Submit forms

  • Pay fees

  • Track the status of the case

  • Communicate with USCIS through a secure inbox

  • Respond to Requests for Evidence


Content in this publication is not intended as legal advice, nor should it be relied on as such. For additional information on the issues discussed, consult a WayLit-affiliated attorney or another qualified professional.


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