Below are detailed instructions on how to fill out the I-765 if you are applying for Optional Practical Training (OPT). The only items highlighted on this form are those that students commonly have questions on or are confused about. Please review each item carefully to ensure your I-765 is filled out correctly. Each item discussed is highlighted in the image as to where it appears on the actual I-765 Form. Download the form using Chrome or Firefox and complete it in Adobe Acrobat on your digital device, print out, and sign in black ink only.

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 ultimately provides the decision on your OPT application.

Part 1. Reason for Applying

Item 1:

Check the box “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."


Part 2. Information About You

Item 1:

Enter your family name first. Enter your first name second. Include your middle name if you have one. This name should match what is indicated on your passport.

Items 2-4:

Provide all other names you have ever used, including aliases, maiden name, and nicknames. Write “N/A” on all boxes if you haven’t used another name.

Item 5:

Enter your mailing address. This must be a US address and it should be valid until 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 for item 5.a. You may list a US Post Office address (PO Box) if you have one.

Item 12:

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.

If you select "Yes," you will also need to list each time you previously filed the Form I-765 in Part 6, page 7 of this Form I-765.

Item 13a:

If you have ever received a Social Security card previously you must check "Yes", if not, check "No".

Item 13b:

Only answer this question if you have a Social Security Number and checked “Yes” for item 13a.

Items 16-17:

Only answer these questions if you do not have a Social Security card and checked "Yes" for items 14-15. By answering these questions you would be applying for a Social Security card with your Social Security number printed on it. Your SSN will be issued, and you will receive an SSN card within 2-4 weeks of your OPT application approval. You will not need to submit a separate application for an SSN to the Social Security Administration.

Item 18:

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, type or print the name of the foreign country that issued your last passport. If you are a citizen of one country, item 18.b. should indicate "N/A".

Item 21a:

Enter your I-94 number

Item 22:

Enter the last date you entered the U.S. For most of you this should be the date stamped in your passport.

Item 23:

Indicate city and state of your last arrival or entry into the US. This should be indicated by the three digit code stamped on your passport. For example, if you entered JFK, the stamp in your passport should indicate “NYC”. If you entered through Newark, the stamp on your passport should indicate “NEW”.

Item 24:

Your status of last entry should be "F-1 Student."

Item 25:

Your current status should be F-1 Student.

Item 26:

Enter your SEVIS ID number as indicated on the top of your I-20.

Item 27:

  • If you are applying for Pre-Completion OPT enter the codes (c) (3) (A)
  • For Post-Completion OPT enter the codes (c) (3) (B)  - The c is a lower case "c" and B is an upper case "B"
  • For STEM OPT enter the codes (c) (3) (C) - The first c is a lower case "c" and second C is an upper case "C"

Item 28:

Write "N/A" in the blank fields if you are not applying for STEM OPT. If you are applying for the 24 month STEM OPT Extension write the following:

  • Degree: Write your academic level and the CIP code found on your I-20. 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.
  • Employer name: Write your employer's name as listed in the e-verify system (this should also match your I-983)
  • Employer's E-verify 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

Items 29 and 31a:

Write "N/A" in blank fields.

Items 30 and 31b:

Leave checkbox blank as it does not apply to OPT applications. 


Part 3. Applicant's Statement, Contact Information, Declaration, Certification, and Signature

Applicant's Statement

Select the box appropriate to your situation. If you select 1a, write “N/A” in the text boxes for items 1b and 2.

Applicant’s Signature

Be sure to sign the form in black ink inside the box. Make sure only your signature is in the box and fits entirely within it, as the government will scan your signature for your approval document.

NOTE: The signature must be done by hand, and not electronically/digitally.


Parts 4 and 5

  • Part 4. Interpreter’s Contact Information, Certification, and Signature
  • Part 5. Contact Information, Declaration, and Signature of the Person Preparing this Application, If Other Than the Applicant.

Leave all text boxes blank if you have completed the I-765 yourself. If someone else has completed your I-765 for you, you should indicate their contact information. Regardless of answers, these pages must be included in your application.


Part 6. Additional Information

Complete this section only if:

  • You have previously been approved for CPT and/or OPT
  • You have had a different SEVIS ID number while in F-1 status (for example, you attended school but left for a leave of absence, then returned to school with a new I-20).

Previous CPT and/or OPT

If you have previously been approved for CPT and/or OPT:

Items 3a-c, 4a-c, 5a-c, etc.:

Write Page 3, Part 2, Item 27.

Items 3d and 4d:

List out any of the previous CPT or OPT authorizations you have had. Use separate fields for each type of authorization (for example, list all previous CPT or previous OPT in separate boxes).

  • CPT: List all previous CPT approvals. We suggest this format: CPT Authorizations (as the title to this section); whether the authorization was part-time (20 hours or fewer per week) or full-time (more than 20 hours per week); your SEVIS ID number, employer name; employment start date - employment end date; degree level. You can find all of your previous CPT details on the I-20 that was approved for each period of CPT. For example: CPT Authorization, Full-time, N0123456789, Top Job Inc., 06/01/2018 - 09/03/2018, Bachelor's.

  • OPT: List all previous OPT approvals. We suggest this format: OPT Authorizations (as the title to this section); whether the authorization was part-time (20 hours or fewer per week) or full-time (more than 20 hours per week); your OPT approved start date - OPT approved end date; degree level. For example: OPT Authorization, Part-time, N0123456789, 09/04/2018 - 12/20/2018, Bachelor's.

Previous SEVIS ID

If you had a previous SEVIS ID number:

Items 3a-c, 4a-c, 5a-c, etc.:

Write Page 3, Part 2, Item 26.

Items 5d:

List out any of the previous SEVIS ID numbers you have had.  Use separate fields for each type of authorization (for example, list any previous SEVIS ID number in 5d).

  • List all other SEVIS ID numbers you have used in the past. We suggest this format: Previous SEVIS ID numbers (as the title for this section); your previous SEVIS ID number; program start and end dates for that previous SEVIS ID number; degree level and the name of the university attended. For example: Previous SEVIS ID number; N0012345678, 09/05/2015 - 05/15/2017, Bachelor's, New York University.