This page provides detailed instructions on how to fill out the I-765 online if you are applying for Optional Practical Training (OPT). Please review each item carefully to ensure your I-765 is filled out correctly. Detailed instructions for completing the I-765 are also available through the USCIS website.

The information contained on this page is for general information purposes only. Due to frequent government updates, NYU OGS may make additions, deletions, or modifications to the contents on this page at any time without prior notice.

Please note, these directions are meant to help you in completing your application but should not be considered legal advice. The US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) ultimately provides the decision on your OPT application. It is your responsibility, as the OPT applicant, to ensure that your OPT application is accurate and complete before you submit it to the US government. Incomplete applications could result in a delay in processing time or denial. NYU in no event shall be held liable for any delay, denial, or mistake on your OPT application.

Step 1: Gather and Scan Your Supporting Documents

It is best to have digital versions of all required documents ready in a folder to drag and drop into the USCIS system. Make sure the files are clear and readable, not encrypted or passport-protected, in English, and in one of the following accepted file formats: JPG, JPEG, PDF, TIF, or TIFF.

To complete the I-765, you must be prepared to pay the $410 fee (this fee increases to $470 effective April 1, 2024). Once you are ready to submit your form, the system will automatically direct you to the secure Department of Treasury site,, to pay your fee online. Have these documents ready:

  • Passport style photograph [Photos must be taken within the last 30 days and cannot have previously been used for a passport, visa, or other US government-related application. You can get your passport photos at either the Manhattan or Brooklyn StudentLink Center with your active NYU ID card.]
  • I-94 record
  • One of the following: Previously issued Employment Authorization Document (EAD) (scans of both front and back) OR Government-Issued ID if you have never been issued an EAD
    • If you were not previously issued an EAD, you must upload a copy of a government-issued identity document showing your picture, name, and date of birth such as: a passport; a birth certificate with photo ID; a visa issued by a foreign consulate; or a national ID document with photo and/or fingerprint. The identity document photocopy must clearly show your facial features and contain your biographical information.
  • Most recent I-20
    • This is the OPT-recommended I-20 that you recently received from NYU.
    • For students applying for pre- or post-completion OPT, this I-20 must be uploaded and your complete I-765 application submitted to USCIS within 30 days from the I-20 issue date
    • For students applying for STEM OPT, this I-20 must be uploaded and your complete I-765 application submitted to USCIS within 60 days from the I-20 issue date and BEFORE your current post-completion OPT expires.
  • For students applying for pre- or post-completion OPT who have had either Curricular Practical Training (CPT) or OPT previously, you need to include evidence documenting your previous CPT and/or OPT authorization. This could include previously issued EAD for OPT or an I-20 that lists CPT or OPT authorization.
  • For students applying for pre-completion OPT, you will need to have your transcript or certificate of enrollment
  • For students applying for STEM OPT only, you must also provide scanned copies of:
    • Official transcripts for the degree upon which your STEM OPT extension will be based.
    • If your previous degree is not from NYU, you must have a transcript from your previous institution ready to upload in addition to your latest I-20 from that institution.
  • Please note, evidence of institution accreditation is only needed if you are applying for STEM OPT based on a prior STEM degree (prior to your most recently earned degree from NYU)

Step 2: Create a USCIS Account or Sign In To Your Already Existing Account

At the USCIS website, create an account or sign into an already existing account. Details on how to create an account are also available at the USCIS website.

Step 3: Select the I-765 Form to File Once Logged In

Select “Application for Employment Authorization (I-765).” It is near the bottom of the form list.

Step 4: Complete the I-765 Form

Getting Started

Basis of Eligibility

  • If you are applying for work authorization that starts before your graduation date, select Pre-completion OPT c(3)(A)
  • If you are applying for work authorization that begins after you graduate, select Post-Completion OPT c(3)(B)
  • If you are currently on Post-OPT and eligible for a two-year STEM extension, select STEM OPT c(3)(C)

If you are applying for a STEM extension, you will need to include the following information:

  • What is your degree?
    Write your academic level and the CIP code found on your I-20. If you are applying for STEM OPT based on your previous degree, you can find the CIP code for your previous degree on page 1 of the current format I-20 or at the top of page 3 of the old format I-20 for that academic program.
  • What is your employer’s name as listed on E-verify?
    Write your employer's name as listed in the e-verify system (this should also match your I-983)
  • What is your employer's E-Verify company identification number or a valid E-Verify client company identification number?
    Write your employer's e-verify number. This is usually 4-7 digits. E-verify number is not the same as EIN. Check with your employer if you do not know your employer's e-verify number

Reason for Applying

  • What is your reason for applying?
    Select “Initial Permission to accept employment” If you lost your EAD and are applying for a new card, select "replacement of lost, stolen, or damaged employment authorization document NOT DUE to US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) error." If you are applying for STEM OPT, select "initial permission to accept employment."
  • Have you previously filed Form I-765?
    Select “Yes” if you have previously applied for OPT or ever submitted the I-765 for work authorization to the US Citizenship and Immigration Services. Select “No” if you have only ever worked on campus or been authorized for CPT, or if you have not previously worked.

Preparer and Interpreter Information

  • Is someone assisting you with completing this application?
    Select ‘No’

About You

Your Name

  • What is your current legal name?
    This name should match what is indicated on your passport. Enter your Given name (first name) first. Enter your middle name if you have one. If you do not have a middle name, do NOT put N/A and leave it blank. Enter your Family name (last name) last.
  • Have you used any other names since birth?
    If No, select “No” and continue to the next section.
    If Yes, select “Yes” and provide all other names you have ever used, including aliases, maiden name, and nicknames.

Your Contact Information

  • How May We Contact You?
    Enter your phone number and your mobile phone number. It's okay if items 3 and 4 are the same. Enter your email address (you can continue to use your NYU email).
  • What is your current mailing address?
    Enter your mailing address. This must be a US address and it should be valid into the future, when your OPT application is approved. If you believe you will change addresses within the next three months we recommend you instead list the address of a trusted friend or family member. If you choose to enter your friend’s or family member’s address, you must also include an “In care of name (if any)”. You may list a US Post Office address (PO Box) if you have one.
  • Is your current mailing address the same as your physical address?
    Check either "Yes" or "No." Check "Yes" if your mailing address (where you would like your notices/EAD card from USCIS to be sent to) is the same as your physical address (where you live). Check "No" if it is not the same. If you check "No," you must then write your current address you live at in the “Where in the United States do you live?” question that will appear on your screen.

Describe Yourself

  • What is your gender?
    Mark the box that best describes you.
  • What is your marital status?
    Mark the box that best describes you.

When and where were you born?

  • What is your city, town or village of birth? What is your state or province of birth? What is your country of birth?
    Fill in your place of birth information.
  • What is your date of birth?
    Ensure you've written the date of your birth in MONTH/DAY/YEAR format.

Your immigration information?

  • What is your country of citizenship or nationality?
    Type or print the name of the country or countries where you are currently a citizen or national. If you are a citizen or national of more than one country, select + Add Country to add all of the countries where you hold citizenship.
  • What is your Form I-94 Arrival-Departure Record Number (if any)?
    This information can be found on your most recent I-94 record
  • When did you last arrive in the United States?
    List your arrival date, place of arrival, and status at arrival per your most recent I-94 record. If your ‘status’ listed says anything other than F-1, please call OGS for information about getting this information corrected.
  • What is the passport number of your most recently issued passport?
    This information can be found on the biography page of your passport
  • What is your travel document number (if any)?
    We recommend to leave this blank.
  • “What is the expiration date of your passport or travel document?” “What country issued your passport or travel document?” “List the country who issued you your passport”
    All of these can be found on your passport
  • What is your current immigration status or category?
    Select “F-1 - Student, Academic or Language Program”
  • “What is your Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) Number (if any)?”
    Use the SEVIS number listed in the top left corner of your most recently issued I-20. Use the "Additional Information" section to include all previously used SEVIS numbers.

Other Information

  • What is your A-Number?
    Either list your A-number or select “I do not have or know my A-Number" if you are applying for a Pre-Completion or Post-Completion OPT and have not submitted a prior online I-765 application before. If you are applying for STEM OPT and have the A-Number from your Post-Completion OPT, list the A-Number based on your prior EAD card. 
  • What is your USCIS Online Account Number?
    Either list your account number or select “I do not have or know my USCIS online account number”
  • Has the Social Security Administration (SSA) ever officially issued a Social Security card to you?
    If Yes, list your social security number in the box provided
    If No, select that you would like an SSN card, select “yes” to consent of disclosure” then list your parent’s birth names


In this section you will be able to upload the supporting documents you previously gathered in preparation for completing the I-765 form. This evidence includes previous I-20s with CPT and/or OPT recommendations, along with any supplemental letters you may have received from OGS.

Review and Submit

Here you will review all of the information you have provided so far and you will then click to submit your I-765 online application.

Please note, once you submit the online I-765 and upload all the required documents, you will not be able to remove the uploaded documents from the USCIS Portal. This also applies to the the documents uploaded under the unsolicited evidence section of online I-765. As a result, after submitting the online application, if you notice something might be missing, please consult with OGS for guidance.

Step 5: Complete the Remaining Steps in the OPT Application Process