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I-765 Guidelines

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The following guidelines relate only to the most confusing parts of the form, and are offered as a courtesy only. Please consult an immigration attorney if you are unsure about any aspects of the form.

Download the latest version of the I-765 form

USCIS forms are designed for use with Adobe Acrobat pdf software. Other pdf software programs may not work as smoothly.

Where possible, type in the information rather than using handwriting.

If you need extra space in any section, use the space provided in Part 6 Additional Information.

You must complete all parts of the form. Write or type “None” or “N/A” if a question does not apply to you. Due to technical issues, not all parts of the form will accept None or N/A. Handwrite the information after printing if necessary.

It is very important that you use the correct version of the form. USCIS updates the I-765 form regularly. Download the most recent form directly from the USCIS website.

Part 1. Reason for Applying

Item 1 – Select 1.a. Initial permission to accept employment (OPT and STEM OPT)

Part 2. Information About You

Item 1 – Enter your full legal name as it appears on your I-20 and passport.

Item 2 – Share any other way your name is given on your legal documents, as well as any nicknames or prior names

Item 5 – U.S. Mailing Address – this is the address where USCIS will mail your documents.

If you are using someone else’s address it is very important to put their name in the 5.a. In Care of Name field.

Use an address that is unlikely to change within the next 4 months. The US Postal Service (USPS) will not forward any mail from US immigration and often will not deliver if your name is not on the mailbox. If you need to change your mailing address after you have applied for OPT then you should update USCIS immediately using the USCIS Change of Address form. You should also file a USPS online change of address form.

Item 6 – If you are living somewhere different from your mailing address, select “no” and enter the place where you are living in Item 7. It’s OK if your address in Item 7 changes while your application is with USCIS. You do not need to update USCIS if you change your physical address but you must update USCIS and USPS if you change your mailing address. If you used a PO Box for mailing then you must enter your physical address in this section. If you aren’t using Adobe Acrobat software to complete the form then you may have difficulty properly completing this section.

Remember to also update ISS with your Change of Address if you move, as we need to update your SEVIS record too.

Item 8 – OPT- handwrite or type in “None”; STEM OPT – type in the A-number (USCIS number) from your OPT EAD card.

Item 9 – USCIS Online Account Number – it is unlikely that you have an online account, therefore write “None” in this field.

Item 12 – If you are applying for STEM OPT then the answer is “yes”. If you have applied for OPT before at another degree level then the answer is “yes”.

Item 13 – Social Security Number (SSN) – if you have not received an SSN before, then you can apply for one with your OPT application. This will not slow down your OPT application. The SSN card usually arrives a couple of weeks after your OPT is approved.

If you do not have a social security number, check “no” and leave section 13.b. blank, then complete sections 14-17.

If you have a social security number, check “yes” and complete item 13.b. and 14. If you need a new social security card because your last card was lost or stolen, then select “yes” for item 14 and complete sections 15-17. You do not need to answer 15-17 if you have a social security number and do not need a replacement card.

Item 21.a. – Form I-94 Arrival-Departure Record Number. You can access your I-94 using the Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) I-94 website. If you have changed to F1 status in the US then your most recent I-94 number will be on your I-797 approval notice.

Item 21.c. – Travel Document Number – write “N/A” if you have a passport. For almost everyone, this will be “N/A”.

Items 22-23 – Use the information on your I-94 and the travel history section of the CBP I-94 website. For item 23 make sure to write the full city name (for example Seattle, not SEA). Include the state too (for example San Francisco CA).

Item 24 – Immigration Status at Your Last Arrival Into the United States – in most cases this will be F1- student. If you changed status in the US to F-1 student and have not left the US since that application was approved, then you should enter the status you held the last time you entered the US (example, H4).

Item 25 – Current Immigration Status – F-1 student (write F-1 student not just F-1)
Item 26 – SEVIS Number – this can be found on your I-20. It starts with N00……

Item 27 – Eligibility Category:

OPT – (c)(3)(B)

STEM OPT – (c)(3)(C)

Item 28 – Only complete if this application is for STEM OPT. For item 28.a. write the name of the degree and the CIP code (on your I-20 by your degree name with format 12.3456). Example: MS Computer Science (11.1070). You will likely need to handwrite this in due to space limits. Write in black ink and as clearly as possible.

Items 29-32 – not applicable for OPT or STEM OPT

Part 3 – Applicant’s Statement and Signature

Item 1 – unless you are using an interpreter, select 1.a.

Item 3-5 – complete as required

Item 7 – Make sure to sign in black ink. Do not use a typed or digital signature. Your entire signature should fit inside the box, with no part of your signature touching the lines of the box. Make sure you have put a signature date in 7.b.

Part 4 – Interpreter’s Contact Information

Only complete this section if you have been using an interpreter. You do not need to write N/A or None in this section.

Part 5 – Preparer’s Information

If you completed the form yourself then do not complete Part 5. You do not need to write N/A or None in this section.

Part 6 – Additional Information

Your name should be at the top of the form, even if you are not completing any other part of Part 6. If you can’t type in this field then it is likely because you are not using Adobe Acrobat software program to complete the form. You will need to print your name neatly in black ink if you can’t type the information (or re-do the form using Adobe Acrobat).

Complete this section only if:

  1. a) You have been approved for CPT in the past or;
  2. b) You have been approved for OPT in the past or;
  3. c) You have used a different SEVIS ID in F-1 status in the US. For example, you attended a school then took a break in studies, then returned on a new I-20 with a new SEVIS ID number. Your SEVIS ID number is on your I-20 (starts with N00).

Item 2 – If you are applying for STEM OPT then your A-number is on your EAD (called a USCIS number). If you are applying for OPT then you likely do not have an A-number and can leave this blank.

Items 3-7 – Complete for each of the items listed above (CPT, OPT, different SEVIS ID) as applicable to your situation.

Items 3.a-c, 4.a-c, etc. – enter the following:

Page Number – 3, Part Number – 2, Item Number – 27

Items 3.d., 4.d., etc. – list out any of the following prior CPT or OPT authorizations or previous SEVIS numbers. Use separate fields for each type of authorization (for example, list all previous CPT in 3.d., all old SEVIS numbers in 4.d., etc.).

CPT: list your CPT approvals

We suggest this format: SEVIS ID number when doing the CPT, Start date – End date; Part-time or Full-time CPT; Employer Name; Degree level (Bachelor’s, Master’s, or PhD). You can find your CPT details on the I-20 that was approved for each period of CPT. Include copies of prior CPT I-20s with your application.

For example: N0000000000, 07/07/17-09/07/17, Full-time CPT, Employer Name; Bachelor’s

OPT: Please list your past OPT approvals

We suggest this format: SEVIS ID number when doing the OPT, Start date – End date; Degree level (Bachelor’s, Master’s, or PhD). Include copies of prior OPT I-20s and EAD with your application.

For example: N0000000000, Post-Completion OPT, 09/08/17-10/07/18, Bachelor’s

Previous SEVIS IDs: List any other SEVIS IDs you have used.

We suggest this format: Previous SEVIS ID: N00; program start date – program end date; Degree level (Bachelor’s, Master’s, or PhD).

For example: Previous SEVIS ID – N0000000000, 09/08/13-05/20/16, Bachelor’s


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