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21 FAQs on filing I-765 Form Online for OPT, STEM OPT by USCIS

As per USCIS news, starting from April 12th, 2021, they started to accept online form for OPT, STEM OPT extensions filed by F1 visa students. USCIS organized an online webinar  to explained the process and clarify many of the common questions. As there is no recording available for public, we have compiled all the common questions answered by USCIS in this article.

Process to apply I-765 form Online for OPT, STEM OPT

You can apply for OPT application online using form I-765, if you fall under one of the three categories:

  • During Study : Pre-completion OPT with category code (c)(3)(A) is used by F1 students while studying, before completing their degree.
  • After Graduation : Post-completion OPT with category code (c)(3)(B) is used by F1 students after graduation or completing their degree.
  • STEM Category OPT Extension : 24 Months STEM OPT Extension with category code (c)(3)(C) is used by F1 students applying for 24 month OPT extension, who are part of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) degrees

The process to apply for OPT application is very straightforward, you need to register an USCIS account, submit scan copies of passport, I-20s, photos and other required documents and pay the fee. Read  How to apply for I-765 form online for OPT, STEM OPT for step-by-step guide with screenshots.

Common FAQs for filing F1 OPT, STEM OPT using I-765 form Online

1. Is it mandatory to file I-765 form Online for all F1 students ? Will paper forms be accepted ?

F1 students have the option to file I-765 either online or using paper forms. There is no mandatory rule that says that OPT and STEM OPT extension applications have to be filed online only starting from April 12th, 2021.

2. I have already file OPT application using paper forms, can I file Online I-765 again ?

No, you cannot file the online application again. If you file another one again, it will be considered duplicated and denied. Instead, you can add your paper based filed form in USCIS account using the options under My Account >> Add a paper-filed case

3. Will I get Case Receipt number for OPT application immediately after Online submission ?

Yes, the online system will generate a Case Number for the I-765 form submission and you can download the receipt notice as well.

4. What categories are eligible for applying for OPT application online ?

Three OPT Categories are eligible to file I-765 form online : C3A, C3B, C3C. You can also check complete list of USCIS EAD Category Codes

5. I have a passport photo, can I scan and upload the photo ?

You can upload a scanned photo as long as it meets the requirements. It has to be recent 2 inches x 2 inches color passport photo, whole face must be visible and meet US Dept of State Photo Requirements. It must be a JPG, JPEG or PNG file

6. What are my Fee payment options for OPT application filing online ?

You can pay using Credit Card, Debit Card or using ACH payment for Saving or Checking account using bank routing number and other details . The payments are managed by Pay.gov website.

7. Will I get a paper receipt notice mailed for OPT application, when I-765 form is filed online ?

Yes, USCIS will send a physical copy of receipt notice to the address given during application process. Also, the applicant can download the soft copy after submission and will have access to all case related notices and forms that are mailed to applicant.

8. Can an Attorney file I-765 form online for OPT or STEM OPT extension on my behalf ?

Yes, attorney can file the OPT application online on behalf of an F1 student using their account as representative.

9. I submitted wrong document when filling I-765 online, can I submit correct document after submission ?

Yes, you can submit the correct document as unsolicited evidence for the USCIS officer to consider it as evidence, if it was done as mistake.

10. Does filing I-765 form online for OPT or STEMP OPT make the processing faster ?

No, the processing times are not going to be faster for OPT applications filed online. It is only the receipt number generation and getting a copy of receipt earlier are the key advantages.

11. What is the advantage of filing OPT application using I-765 form online, if it is not faster ?

Besides getting the receipt number immediately, certain checks are done during submission process to ensure that all required documents are submitted by applicants. Due to this, there will be less rejections due to incompleteness of application.

12. Is there any limit on uploading of files ? What is the size ?

There is no specific limit on total count of files you can upload. The only limit is you can upload up to 5 documents at one time and each document cannot be over 6 MB. You can upload multiple I-20s or additional documents as many as you can.

13. Does filing I-765 online for OPT requires Biometrics Appointment ?

In general, OPT application filed with USCIS does not require biometrics. It is only on a case by case basis, some may be issued appointment for Biometrics.

14. Can we sign digitally Online for I-20 or need to sign I-20 and upload scan copies ?

No, you cannot sign digitally online for i-20s, you need to sign them physically and upload the scan copies only.

15. What if there is a limit on the space for any fields like Name or others and cannot fit in field ?

If your information is long and cannot fit in space given for name or other field, you can add them under additional information section.

16. Does email used in SEVIS has to be same for USCIS online account for OPT application ?

No need to have the same email ID. They can be different email IDs.

17. Is there any deadline to submit the required documents for OPT Application online ?

The system will not allow you to submit the application without evidence. So, you need to submit them as part of the application. You cannot submit them later.

18. Does the USCIS system email applicant automatically on status changes and details ?

USCIS will only send notification on the changes, but applicant has to login to view the I-765. application related changes.

19. Are there any refunds for I-765 form filing done online for OPT, if I filed by mistake ?

No, there are no refunds. You need to apply for I-765 form online, only if you are eligible and fall under the given categories of OPT and STEM OPT extension.

20. Will I also be able to see RFE Documents for by OPT applications in my account ?

Yes, all the documents that are related to the OPT application like Receipt notice, RFE notices, and decisions will be available in online account. Also, USCIS will send a paper copy as well.

21. Is the OPT application fee less, if you file the I-765 Online ?

No, the fees is same. It is $410 USD and same as the paper based filing

What do you think of filing OPT application online ? Any other questions ? Ask or share your comments below…


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