In both cases, you will be required to submit the same information and send in the same supporting documents. The paper version requires you to print, sign, and mail your application packet to USCIS. The online version allows you to submit all required information and supporting documents online through the USCIS's myUSCIS portal.
DO NOT start the I-765 application process UNLESS you have already received a new OPT or STEM Extension OPT I-20 from the International Center. You cannot apply for OPT or the STEM Extension of OPT until you have received your new OPT I-20 or STEM Extension I-20 from the International Center. Read more about applying for F-1 post-completion OPT or the 24-month STEM Extension of OPT.
Step 1: Review and Sign Your OPT I-20 or STEM Extension I-20
Once you receive your OPT I-20 or STEM Extension I-20 from the International Center, review all pages of the form and contact the International Center if you have any questions.
After you have reviewed the form, sign it at the bottom of page 1 in the "Student Attestation" section. Make a copy for your I-765 application packet.
Step 2: Prepare Your Application Materials
Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization
USCIS accepts personal checks, a cashier's checks from a bank, money orders, and credit cards to pay the I-765 filing fee. The International Center recommends using a bank check or money order to pay the fee, but if you prefer to use a US credit card you must download and complete USCIS Form G-1450. Money orders can be purchased from banks, credit unions, or a US Post Office.
Any check or money order must be made payable to "US Department of Homeland Security" in the correct amount (currently US $410.00 - check the filing fee at https://www.uscis.gov/i-765).
Sample Personal Check
Your I-765 Application must be accompanied by two recent US-style passport photos taken within the past thirty days. Do not reuse or recycle old photos - your application may be returned if USCIS determines your photos are not recent.
Passport photos can be taken at many different retail pharmacies (e.g., CVS, Walgreens, RiteAid), retail superstores (e.g., Target, Walmart), and mail and delivery service centers such as FedEx Office and the UPS Store
On the back of your photos, write your name and SEVIS ID number softly in black or blue ink, using a felt tip pen (see example)
Put the photos in a small envelope or pouch so that they do not get lost when mailing your application
Step 3: Assemble and Mail Your I-765 Application Packet to USCIS
Your I-765 Application Packet
Your application packet will include the following documents:
Copy of your F-1 visa, if applicable (may be expired)
Copy of any previously-issued Employment Authorization Document (EAD) cards, if available
STEM Extension applicants should also include a copy of a transcript, diploma, or other evidence that they have received a STEM degree. In addition, if you are applying for the STEM Extension based on a degree received before Tufts, you must provide evidence that your previous university is accredited and is currently authorized by the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) to sponsor F-1 international students. You may wish to consult with the international office of your previous institution to determine how to collect this information regarding your previous degree.
Mailing Your I-765 Application Packet to USCIS
Visit the USCIS Direct Filing Addresses for Form I-765 website at https://www.uscis.gov/i-765-addresses and review mailing instructions for Foreign Students category. The International Center strongly recommends using a service that allows you to track delivery of your application packet to USCIS.
Keep in mind that USCIS must receive your application packet no later than thirty (30) days after the International Center issued your OPT I-20 to you (or sixty days for STEM Extension applicants).
Step 4: Monitor Your Application Using myUSCIS
Monitor Your myUSCIS Account
After you mail your application to USCIS, you should receive a paper receipt notice in the mail in about 3-4 weeks. Once you receive your receipt, you can monitor your case by creating a myUSCIS account and attaching your application case number to your account.
Go to https://my.uscis.gov --> Click on "Sign In" and select the option to create a myUSCIS account
Once you have followed USCIS's instructions to create an account, select the option to attach a paper application to your account
Enter your I-765 receipt number from the paper receipt you received
Once your I-765 application is attached to your myUSCIS account, you can monitor the status of your case, print out an electronic receipt, submit additional information to USCIS (if required), and contact USCIS directly about your application
In most cases, F-1 students will NOT be required to schedule a biometrics appointment with USCIS as a part of the I-765 application process. A biometrics appointment involves appearing at a USCIS Application Support Center to have your photographs, fingerprints, and signature taken. If you are asked to do a biometrics appointment, you will receive a notice from USCIS to schedule an appointment. Please notify the International Center in case you are asked to schedule a biometrics appointment.
Change of US Address
If you change your US address and want your EAD sent to another US mailing address, you should
update your address information in your myUSCIS account portal by following the change of address instructions on USCIS's Tips for Filing Forms Online page
update the International Center following instructions on our Address Update page
Update your address at any time while your I-765 is being processed and after your EAD has been approved. You should make address updates within 10 days of any move at all times while you are an F-1 student.