OPT and STEM OPT Extension: I-765 Guidelines

Please use these directions based on best practices to help you complete the Form I-765 for an OPT or STEM OPT Extension application. This is guidance, not legal advice.

Access Form I-765

General Recommendations

  • Recommended browser: Chrome because it will allow you to type N/A and none (see below).
  • Type all of your answers in the form; do not complete it by hand! The only exceptions are your Social Security Number (SSN) and signature in black ink after you have printed each page of the form. The data entry for these forms is done via machine-reading. Handwriting can be easily misinterpreted and can result in incorrect information in your application.
  • For any text item that does not apply to you, type “N/A” (short for “Not Applicable”).
  • For any numeric response that does not apply to you, type “None.”
  • Guidance is only given for those items that can be confusing. Please fill all fields, regardless whether suggestions are given here!

Part One

  • OPT: Check the “Initial Permission” box.
  • STEM OPT Extension: Check the “Initial Permission” box because of the different eligibility category .

Part Two

  • Item 2: Provide any other way your name appears on your legal documents. This includes “FNU,” multiple last names you may sometimes use, or previous names you used if you changed your name for any reasons, such as marriage.
  • Item 5: This is the address where USCIS will mail your documents related to this application only. Because you will be required to show an identification document (unexpired driver’s license or state ID card or passport) and sign a form for the postal worker who delivers your EAD card, you should use an address where you physically live. If you move, it will be your responsibility to update the mailing address without delay on the USCIS and the USPS websites.
  • Item 6: Check YES if you currently live at the same address you just gave as the place to send your documents, in item 5. If you check yes, you do NOT have to complete Item 7. If you check NO, please complete item 7.
  • Item 7: Give the address where you currently live. USCIS will NOT mail documents here, and it’s acceptable for this to change over the course of your application processing. Just use the address where you live today. If you move, it will be your responsibility to update it within 10 days by sending an email to avalent@temp.pnw.edu
  • Item 8 for OPT applicants who have never served OPT at any degree level: Leave this field blank.
  • Item 8 for students who served OPT or STEM OPT in the past based on a lower degree, or those applying for STEM OPT based on the most recent degree: You will only have an A-Number if you were granted OPT in the past, and it is printed on your EAD card (called a “USCIS number”).
  • Item 9: USCIS Online Account Number should be typed “none” unless you created an account in the past.
  • Items 13 to 17:
    • If you have a Social Security Number, please leave Item 13.b. blank on all the forms you send to the International Students and Scholars Services Office for review. You can write it in black ink once you have printed the final form. Check NO for Item 14 then skip to Item 18.
    • If you do NOT have an Social Security Number, you can apply for it through this application, and your SSN will be issued to you when your OPT application is approved. You would answer NO to Item 13.a., YES to Item 14, and give the required information in Items 15-17.
  • Item 21.a.: Your I-94 number is found on your most recent I-94 entry record. You can access your most recent I-94 by using this link and going to “Get Most Recent I-94”: I-94 Website 
  • Be sure to use the I-94 from your most recent entry into the US! If you most recently entered the US after a short trip to Canada or Mexico, your trip may not have been recorded in your I-94 history. In this case, we suggest using the last I-94 record that does exist, and answer all related questions based on that trip.
  • If your I-94 is not found, please read the information available at https://help.cbp.gov/app/answers/detail/a_id/1696/kw/I-94 to work with US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) for assistance.
  • Item 21.c.: Type “NA” if you have a passport. For almost everyone, this will be “NA.”
  • Item 24: This is “F-1 student” unless you changed your status from within the US, and have not left the US since then.
  • Item 25: This is “F-1 student.”
  • Item 26: You can find your SEVIS ID number at the top left of your I-20. It starts with N00 or N000.
  • Item 27: Type the regulatory citation (eligibility category) exactly as listed below of the kind of work permission you request:
    OPT: (c)(3)(B)
    STEM OPT Extension: (c)(3)(C)
  • Item 28: OPT applicants must leave this section blank.
  • Item 28: STEM OPT applicants
    Item 28.a: Type the degree level and the full name of your major as listed on your I-20. If any characters do not fit, you must write the remaining information neatly in black ink.

    • Example: Bachelor in Electrical Engineering Technology (Type Bachelor in before writing the entire degree name neatly in black ink.)
    • Example: Master in Engineering/Industrial Management (Type Master in before writing the entire degree name neatly in black ink.)
    • Your concentration was not your major so it is not listed on your I-20. Do not write the concentration on your I-765.
  • Item 28.c: The correct E-Verify number can only be 5-7 digits long. Employers and students often confuse this request for an EIN tax ID number for the company (xx-xxxxxxx), or the individual student’s E-Verify ID. You will need to ask your company’s HR for this number as it is not public knowledge.
  • Items 29 – 31: Skip these as they are for other immigration categories only.

Part Three

  • In Item 7.a., sign your name in black ink. This must be an original signature—USCIS will reject the form if the name is typed or stamped.

Parts Four to Five

  • If an English-language interpreter did not help you complete this form, use a black ink pen to draw a full diagonal line across each section of Part 4 and write “NA” in black ink above each line. Type NA in each space where a word response is requested and type NONE in each space where a numeric response is requested.
  • If no other person helped you complete this form, use a black ink pen to draw a full diagonal line across each section of Part 5 and write “NA” in black ink above each line. Type NA in each space where a word response is requested and type NONE in each space where a numeric response is requested.

Part Six

  • If none of the following situations apply to you, use a black ink pen to draw a full diagonal line across the full page and write “NA” in black ink above the line.
  • Complete this section only if one or more of the following situations applies to you:
    • You have been approved for CPT in the past
    • You have been approved for OPT or STEM OPT in the past
    • You have used a different SEVIS ID in F-1 status in the US (Example: You attended school for a while, left the US to take a break from school, and returned with a new I-20 so you would have a SEVIS ID from your first period of attendance that is different than your current SEVIS ID). Your SEVIS ID is on the top right corner of your I-20, and starts with N00 or N000.
  • For each of the item listed above that applies to you, complete one box in Part 6. We suggest using the following to complete the Page number, Part Number, and Item number, as this information is required specific to Category (c)(3)(B) (per the I-765 instructions, page 4):

Page Number 3, Part Number 2, Item Number 26

  • Previous SEVIS IDs: Please list your other SEVIS ID’s you have used in the past. We suggest this format: Previous SEVIS ID’s (as a title to the section).
  • SEVIS ID: N00 … or N000…
  • Program start date – program end date (mm/dd/yyyy to mm/dd/yyyy)
  • Degree level (Associate’s, Bachelor’s, Master’s, or PhD)

Page Number 3, Part Number 2, Item Number 27

CPT: Please list all of your CPT approvals, using one block for each period of authorization. We suggest this format: CPT Authorization (as a title to the section). You can find the details on the I-20 that was approved for each period of CPT.

  • Employer Name
  • Start date – End date (mm/dd/yyyy to mm/dd/yyyy)
  • Part-time or Full-time
  • Degree level (Associate’s, Bachelor’s, Master’s, or PhD)
  • Issue date of I-20

Page Number 3, Part Number 2, Item Number 27

  • OPT: Please list all of your past OPT approvals, using one block for each period of authorization. We suggest this format: OPT Authorizations (as a title to the section)
    • Start date – End date (mm/dd/yyyy to mm/dd/yyyy) as listed on the most recent EAD card
    • Post-completion OPT or STEM OPT if approved for a lower level degree and you are now applying for OPT after a higher level degree
    • Degree level (Associate’s, Bachelor’s, Master’s, or PhD) for most recently approved OPT or STEM OPT
  • A sample version of Part 6 of the I-765 with examples of previous CPT approval, OPT completed at a previous degree level, and a previous SEVIS ID number is included in the OPT document packet available in CLO 176 and in Blackboard. NOTE: These are examples— not all of these will necessarily apply to you!

Save a PDF of your I-765

OPT applicants: Save your PDF as “I765 OPT first and last names Draft 1”.

STEM OPT applicants: Save your PDF as “I765 STEM OPT first and last names Draft 1”.

Submit your draft in the I-765 for OPT and STEM OPT course in Blackboard.

Access Form I-765

Have Questions?

Contact the ISS staff at avalent@pnw.edu with any questions you have before submitting your I-765 for OPT or STEM OPT in Blackboard

Have Questions?

Contact the ISS staff at avalent@pnw.edu with any questions you have before submitting your I-765 for OPT or STEM OPT in Blackboard