OPT Pre & Post-Completion Mailing Checklist

The information here is for enrolled International Students on F-1 visas.


IMPORTANT: Most students prefer to submit the electronic version of the I-765 rather than mailing the paper copy. To file the application for OPT electronically, go to the USCIS website here and scroll down to the I-765 form and click “File Online.” You must have the OPT recommendation on page two of the I-20 in order to apply. The I-20 must be signed by both you and a DSO.USCIS must receive your application no earlier than 90 days before your program completion date AND no later than the end of your 60 day grace period following your program completion date, or the application may be denied. USCIS must also receive your application within 30 days of the date your OPT I-20 was issued.

  • On Page 1, make sure your personal details (name, date of birth, major, shortened program end date, etc.) are correct.
  • On page 2, check to make sure your post-completion OPT recommendation is included with your requested I-20 start and end date.
  • If any corrections are needed to your OPT I-20, contact the OIE before mailing your application to USCIS.
  • G-1145, E-Notification of Application/Petition Acceptance (Optional).
  • 2 color photographs: 
    • White background, taken within the last 30 days, printed on thin, glossy paper and unretouched; standard, full frontal face position. 
    • The head should be bare, unless wearing a headdress is required by a religious order to which you belong. 
    • Photo size 2 X 2 inches, with the distance from the top of the head to just below the chin about 1 3/8 inches. 
    • Lightly print your name and your I-94 number on the back of each photo with a pencil. 
    • Paperclip photos to the bottom left corner of the I-765.

  • Check for $470 for online filing or $520 for paper filing, payable to U.S. Department of Homeland Security.  Paperclip your check on the top left corner of the I-765.
  • Original I-765 form.
  • Copy of OPT I-20 (signed by you and a DSO), pages 1 and 2.  OPT I-20 must be less than 30 days old.
  • Copy of passport ID page showing picture and expiration date.
  • Copy of I-94
  • CPT Employment history page from your SEVIS record (The OIE will provide this when you come in to sign your OPT I-20).
  • Copy of former EADs (of any previous OPTs), if applicable.
  • If you have had a change of status, include a copy of your approval notice and a copy of the I-94 from the last date you entered the U.S.

We recommend that you make a copy of the completed application for your records.

USCIS now provides the option for you to receive an e-mail and/or text message notifying you that your application has been received.  To access this service, complete an E-Notification of Application/Petition Acceptance (Form G-1145), and attach it to the first page of your application.  If you do not use the email notification system, it is recommended that the OPT application be sent to USCIS by Certified Mail. 

OIE highly recommends using some form of delivery tracking in order to provide you with confirmation of the delivery date to USCIS prior to receiving the USCIS receipt notice.

We have been seeing delays in receipt notice processing lately, and a confirmation from the delivery service will allow you to verify that the package was delivered in a timely manner.



US Postal Service (Regular Mail) Deliveries:

    NOTE: This method will not provide tracking unless you make a request at the post office.


    P.O. Box 805373

    Chicago, IL 60680



For USPS Express Mail, USPS Priority Mail and Private Courier (FedEx, UPS, DHL) Deliveries:


    Attn: I-765 C03

    131 South Dearborn - 3rd Floor

    Chicago, IL  60603-5517



OIE has been informed that cases already received at the previous (Texas) address will be worked as normal, although they are running about a month behind on receipting. Applications received by the Dallas center in the future will either be forwarded to Chicago or processed in Dallas.

OIE normally receives a receipt notice from USCIS 2-3 weeks after you mail out an application. USCIS is currently experiencing significant delays issuing receipt notices and may take up to 4-6 weeks to be generated. The receipt notice contains the tracking number for your application. 

To track the process of your application online, go to the USCIS portal and follow the prompts in the section called “After I File” by clicking the button below. Normal processing time at USCIS is 60-90 days from the date on the receipt notice.  After the application has been approved, it usually takes up to 2 weeks for the card to arrive.


OPT Application Process

If you have a specific question about the application process, please click on the bookings button below to schedule an appointment with an immigration advisor.