Optional Practical Training (OPT)

F-1 students who have been enrolled full-time for one academic year and have maintained status are eligible to apply to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for Optional Practical Training (OPT).

The complete OPT application packet is available on this site – please read the entire packet before completing the forms and submitting your application to OIP! Do contact OIP if you have any questions regarding the OPT application procedure.

OPT application summary:

  1. Read through the OPT packet and complete the forms.
  2. Obtain a letter from your advisor
  3. Submit forms and letter to OIP to review and issue your OPT I-20
  4. Put together the petition, make a copy for your records, and mail it off to USCIS

OPT Petition Checklist:

  1. Completed form I-765 – in section 16, indicate (C)(3)(B) for post-completion OPT applications.  The code for pre-completion OPT is (C)(3)(A); for 17-month STEM extensions – (C)(3)(C).  Please contact the OIP for further instructions for STEM extension petitions.  Sign in blue ink and date your I-765 form.
  2. $410 check or money order made payable to “Department of Homeland Security.”
  3. Two identical standard “passport style” photos - lightly print your name and A# (the 11-digit number from the current I-94) on the back of each photo.  Paperclip the photos to the I-765.
  4. Photocopy of your I-94 card (front AND back).
  5. Photocopy of your most recent F-1 visa, even if it has expired.
  6. Photocopy of the identity page of your passport.  If your passport has been extended, include a copy of the page(s) which show the extension.  If you have a previously-issued EAD card, a photocopy of that EAD card should be submitted as well.
  7. Photocopy of the new I-20 (pages 1 and 3) with the OPT recommendation.  Make sure you sign section 11 before making a copy.
  8. Photocopies of ALL your previous I-20s.  If you have other I-20s due to transfer from another school to Ithaca College, you need to send copies of those with the petition as well.
  9. Retain a copy of the petition. 
  10. Mail the petition to the address below within 30 days:

Mailing address:

For U.S. Postal Service (USPS) Deliveries:
PO Box 660867
Dallas, TX 75266

For Express mail and courier deliveries:
Attn: AOS
2501 S. State Hwy. 121 Business
Suite 400
Lewisville, TX 75067

You can request E-Notification (an e-mail and/or text message) that your petition was received at the Lockbox facility in Texas by submitting Form G-1145 with your application.  Print it, then fill it out and clip it to the first page of your application.

We recommend that you make a two copies of the petition before sending it; keep one for your own files and give our office a copy for your file.  Send the petition by certified mail with a return receipt. After the USCIS receives the petition, they will send you a receipt (Form I-797) which usually states that the EAD will be issued within 60 to 90 days from the date of receipt and includes the file number of your petition. Save that notice and let OIP have a copy, as you will need the file number if you decide to contact the DHS with questions regarding the status of your petition. You can check the status of your application (using the code from the receipt) online at https://egov.uscis.gov/cris/jsps/index.jsp