Post-Completion OPT- Application Process

How do I apply?

1. Submit your complete application to the IO

Review the OPT Instructions & Checklist (also below).  Bring all of your materials to the IO during walk-in hours.  We will review your application and process your new OPT I-20s.  Processing takes 3-5 business days at the IO.  

2. Pick up your materials from IO and prepare your application for USCIS
  • Pick up your new OPT recommendation I-20s.  
  • You will receive a packet containing two I-20: one to keep and one to send to USCIS with your OPT application. Sign page 1 of each I-20. You will also recieve a CPT printout and instructions page. 
  • Make a photocopy of your I-765.
3. Mail your application to USCIS
  • Mail your application to USCIS within 15 days (or else it will be rejected!)
  • The instructions page included with your OPT packet will list the correct mailing address.  DO NOT E-FILE your application!
  • Use a secure, tracked shipping method to ensure USCIS receives your application
4. Wait...
  • After 2-3 weeks, you will receive a receipt notice in the mail.  
  • Track your application here.  Please note that USCIS does not regularly update the steps and most students see their status as 'initial review' until it jumps to 'card production.'
  • After 2-3 months, your will receive your new STEM OPT EAD card.  Make a copy or take photos of both sides of your new EAD card.  Do not lose it!
  • You cannot begin working until you receive the EAD card and the start date on it has passed.

Application materials checklist

The following items need to be reviewed by the IO. Items marked with an asterisk also need to be submitted to USCIS:

  • OPT Academic Advisor Form (completed and signed)
  • Completed form I-765 (view a sample)*
  • Copy of your first I-20 issued by NU. Lost yours? Copy an I-20 that is more than 1 year old*
  • Copy of all CPT I-20s*
  • I-94 record printout*
  • Copy of passport biographical page*
  • Copy of F-1 visa stamp
  • Check or money order payable to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.  Currently the fee is $410, but please check to ensure it has not been changed* Sample check
  • Two identical passport style (2" x 2") color photographs taken within the last 30 days*
  • If applicable, photocopy (front and back) of previously issued Employment Authorization Documents (EAD cards) or other USCIS approved employment authorization(s).*
  • I-20 with OPT recommendation*  (you will receive this from the IO after we process your application)
  • SEVIS CPT printout* (you will receive this from the IO after we process your application)