Eligible applicants use Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, to apply to USCIS for an Employment Authorization Document (EAD). Find official information on the current edition of Form I-765 on the USCIS Form I-765 page. This NAFSA page tracks developments to the form, but make sure to visit the USCIS web page at https://www.uscis.gov/i-765 for official information.
The current paper edition of Form I-765 is dated 08/25/20. The 08/25/20 edition of Form I-765 must be used for all paper-filed EAD applications postmarked on or after August 25, 2020.
Filing address for F-1 students. On January 8, 2020, USCIS changed the filing addresses for F-1 student I-765 filings, including F-1 OPT (pre-completion, post-completion and STEM OPT), off-campus employment with an international organization, and off-campus employment due to severe economic necessity. The USCIS Direct Filing Addresses for Form I-765 page, with a Last Reviewed/Updated date of 01/12/2021, now instructs filers to submit these applications to the USCIS Chicago Lockbox. See NAFSA's page for links and updates.
Form I-765 online filing for F-1 OPT students
Register to attend a USCIS Online Filing Webinar: Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, for F-1 Students Seeking OPT, to be held on Thursday, April 22, 2021, from 2 - 3 p.m. Eastern. Details on how to register and submit questions are on the USCIS webinar announcement page posted on April 12, 2021. The webinar announcement page states that questions should be submitted by 4 p.m. EST on Monday, April 19, 2021, with "Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, for F-1 Students Seeking OPT" in the subject line of your email.
On April 16, 2021, NAFSA submitted a set of questions for the webinar, collected through IssueNet Report an Issue and the NAFSA ISS RP Committee. Question types submitted include:
- Whether online I-765 applicants will be required to provide biometrics through an Application Support Center
- In the April 22, 2021 USCIS webinar, USCIS stated that it does not generally schedule biometrics appointments at an ACS for OPT applicants. However, USCIS does have the discretion to require a biometrics appointment on a case-by-case basis.
- USCIS MyAccount setup and functionality, such as fee payment, uploading the OPT Form I-20 and other documents, uploading photographs, saving and pausing the application, error detection aids
- The adjudication process and RFE and approval notifications
- Processing times
- Withdrawing applications submitted online
- Location of the applicant at the time of filing (in the U.S. v. abroad)
- Interface between the USCIS online filing system and SEVIS
- USCIS staffing to handle the workload of online filing
In an April 12, 2021 news release, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced "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 science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) students."
USCIS had earlier confirmed in a March 31, 2021 CIS Ombudsman webinar that Form I-765 was added to the system for efiling in a "soft launch" earlier in the month of March, 2021.
When Form I-765 is selected as the option from within a student's MyUSCIS account, the text that appears on the "Before You Start Your Application" screen states that only F-1 students applying for pre-completion OPT, post-completion OPT, or STEM OPT may file Form I-765 online: