Streamlining the Process: How F-1 Students Can Avoid Delays in Form I-765 for Optional Practical Training

As an F-1 student seeking Optional Practical Training (OPT), you may be looking for strategies to avoid processing delays with your Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). This blog post provides some essential tips that can help you navigate the process smoothly.

Keep an Eye on the USCIS Website: USCIS often updates its forms, filing guidelines, fees, or filing locations. To ensure you’re using the most current form and following the latest instructions, visit the USCIS website regularly. Additionally, consider subscribing to USCIS’ form update emails to stay informed about any changes.

Ensure Form I-20 is Correctly Completed: Your Form I-20, Certification of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status, must be correctly signed, dated, and endorsed for employment authorization by both you and your designated school official (DSO). This is crucial to avoid potential delays.

Consider Online Applications: Applying online can offer several benefits:

– Faster receipt of your form by USCIS, resulting in an immediate electronic receipt notice with a receipt number.
– Easy access to all notices under the “Documents” tab in your USCIS online account.
– Automatic case updates via email or text message, keeping you updated about USCIS actions on your case.
– The ability to update your mailing and physical address through your USCIS online account.

Time Your Submission Right: Depending on whether you’re seeking OPT or a STEM OPT extension, the time frame within which you need to submit your Form I-765 varies.

For OPT, submit your form within 30 days of the Date Issued by the DSO on Form I-20. For a STEM OPT extension, this period extends to 60 days.

Submit Forms I-20 and I-765 Together: It’s important to submit a correctly completed Form I-20 along with Form I-765 simultaneously. You can upload Form I-20 when submitting Form I-765 online. If you face technical issues, upload the form as unsolicited evidence in your USCIS online account before USCIS starts adjudicating your Form I-765.

Update Your Mailing Address with USCIS and USPS: If you change your address, make sure to update it with both USCIS and the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) separately. USPS will not forward your Employment Authorization Document (EAD) to a new address, so updating your address is crucial. Displaying your name on your mailbox is also important as USPS will not deliver your EAD if your name is not listed.

Sign up for Informed Delivery with USPS: This service allows you to get previews of your mail in transit. However, keep in mind that USPS only keeps tracking information for 120 days.

Following these tips can help streamline your OPT application process and avoid delays with your Form I-765. Remember, staying informed and organized is key when dealing with immigration procedures.

If you or your family members have any questions about how immigration and nationality laws in the United States may affect you, or if you want to access additional information about immigration and nationality laws in the United States or Canada, please don’t hesitate to contact the immigration and nationality lawyers at NPZ Law Group. You can reach us by emailing or by calling us at 201-670-0006 extension 104. We also invite you to visit our website at for more information.