On April 12, 2021, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services announced that F-1 Students seeking optional practical training (OPT) can now file Form I-765 online. Form I-765 is an application for employment authorization. However, to file online, they must be filed under one of these categories:
- (c)(3)(A) – Pre-Completion OPT;
- (c)(3)(B) – Post-Completion OPT; and
- (c)(3)(C) – 24-Month Extension of OPT for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) students.
What is OPT?
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. they can also apply for 12 months of OPT after completing their academic studies. And eligible F-1 students who receive STEM degrees may apply for a 24-month extension of their post-completion OPT.
According to Tracy Renaud of USCIS, “the I-765 online filing option allows eligible students to file forms online in a more user-friendly fashion and increases efficiencies for adjudicators.”
Obviously, to apply for OPT, you must be an F-1 student. F-1 visas are a non-immigrant visa that allows a non-US person to pursue an education in the United States. To qualify, the student must:
- Maintain a full course of study;
- First, apply to a U.S. school and receive a form I-20; and,
- Prove that they can financially support themselves.
Immigration laws in the United States are complicated and can cause confusion for the novice. Simple errors in requisite forms can have significant negative consequences to your legal status. Likewise, failure to follow processes can cause harm to your case. Therefore, do not try to handle it on your own.
Please call me with student, employment, and other immigration-related issues. I am happy to guide you through the process. Again, immigration law can be confusing so don’t try it alone.