F1 Students: File OPT Work Authorization Online-Complete Process and New Filing Fees

Called the optional practical training (OPT), international students in the U.S. can apply for an employment authorization for a 12-month period. USCIS now offers an option to apply for this online.

F1 visa students seeking OPT can now file Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization. Eligible students can either receive up to 12 months of OPT employment authorization or a 24-month extension depending upon their STEM degrees.

Who Can File For Work Authorization Online?

International students filing under the following categories are eligible to file for an OPT EAD online:

  • Pre-Completion OPT;
  • Post-Completion OPT;
  • 24-Month Extension of OPT for science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) students.technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) students.

Things To Remember When Filing For OPT Work Authorization

OPT is temporary employment that is directly related to an F-1 student’s major area of study. Eligible students can apply to receive up to 12 months of OPT employment authorization before completing their academic studies (pre-completion) and/or after completing their academic studies (post-completion). Eligible F-1 students who receive STEM degrees may apply for a 24-month extension of their post-completion OPT.

  • Online filing is USCIS’ way of going paperless and improving efficiency.
  • USCIS has offered 180-day work authorization extensions for OPT students
  • The option to file Form I-765 online is only available to F-1 students filing Form I-765 for OPT.
  • If an applicant submits Form I-765 online to request employment authorization on or after April 15, but is eligible for a different employment authorization category, USCIS will deny the application and retain the fee.
  • Students can check the status of their case anytime from anywhere, and receive notices from USCIS online instead of waiting for them in the mail.

Direct Filing Addresses for Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization

Filing Fees For Form I-765, Employment Authorization Document (EAD) 

The filing fees for EAD is $465 which includes the $85 biometric fees. This is a non-refundable amount. And you should ensure that the amount is paid correctly and the forms are filled accurately, else the application will be denied.


How To Pay The EAD Filing Fees

You can pay the Form I-765 fee by check or money order. Checks and money orders must:

  • Be drawn on a U.S. bank or financial institution;
  • Be payable in U.S. currency; and
  • Be payable to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security; the initials USDHS or DHS should NOT be used.

For further details about paying fees for Form I-765, read: Employment Authorization Document (EAD) Filing Fee