As you prepare to apply for post-completion OPT with USCIS, OIS would like to clarify some frequently asked questions (FAQs) regarding the OPT application process and filing Form I-765 with USCIS.
For questions related to employment requirements while on OPT and other important FAQs, refer to the OPT Instructions.
- The city of birth information was added to your initial USC I-20 based on the information you entered and verified in your USC Admissions record.
- To update or correct the city of birth in your SEVIS record, please email firstname.lastname@example.org with your full name, SEVIS ID number, 10-digit USC ID number and correct city of birth in the subject line.
- Your OPT I-20 with the current/incorrect city of birth information can be mailed to USCIS along with the other OPT application materials – it will not negatively affect your OPT application. A reprint of your OPT I-20 is not necessary since your SEVIS record will contain the correct information.
- No, it is fine if your RCL was approved but the “Authorized Reduced Course Load” is blank. Please disregard this section – it is not needed for OPT application purposes.
- No, it is fine if your current session start and end dates are for a previous semester. Please disregard these dates – it will not impact your OPT application.
- No, only include copies of I-20s with work authorization.
- Students must submit their OPT application with Form I-765 and supporting documents to USCIS online via a myUSCIS account. Refer to the Guide to Filing Form I-765 with USCIS for required documents and submission instructions.
6) I applied for my SSN with an on-campus job or CPT but I am waiting to receive an appointment and/or SSN card from the Social Security Administration. What should I write on the SSN section of the Form I-765?
- If you have a pending SSN application you should not request an SSN via the Form I-765 as this can cause delays or issues with your pending SSN application.
- If you do not apply for an SSN on the Form I-765, it will not negatively affect your OPT application since the SSN has no bearing on OPT approval. This section of the Form I-765 is only used to indicate to USCIS whether they need to submit additional information to the SSA for issuance of an SSN/SSN card.
- In the event your SSN application with the SSA is never processed, you can always apply for an SSN after receiving your OPT EAD card, as specified on the OIS website.
- Students with past work authorization (CPT, OPT, STEM OPT, or economic hardship) must use the Additional Information section (Section – Evidence; Page – Post-Completion CPT or OPT; Question – Post-Completion CPT or OPT) to type their current and previous (if applicable) F-1 SEVIS ID numbers and any previously authorized part- or full-time CPT or OPT and the academic level in which it was authorized.
- Example A: I have completed work authorization under two SEVIS IDs: N0000000000, Bachelor’s, 4 months of full-time CPT, no OPT;N0000000001, PhD, 6 months of full-time CPT.
- Example B: My current SEVIS ID (N0000000000, Master’s) is my only SEVIS ID; therefore, I do not have work authorization on a previous SEVIS record. I have completed the following CPT with my current SEVIS record: Part-time: DATE – DATE; Full-time: DATE – DATE
- If you have never participated in CPT, OPT, and/or have never had any other SEVIS IDs, no explanation is needed.
- No, you may use any personal email address of your choosing. This could be your USC email or non-USC email.
- For questions related to accessing your @usc.edu email address after graduation, refer to the USC Alumni Association Frequently Asked Questions (select “Alumni Email” tab).
- Note that your SEVP Portal account creation link will be sent to your USC email address on or after your OPT EAD start date. Please monitor your USC email for this link around your EAD start date.
- Please attend an upcoming OPT Information Session so OIS advisors can answer your questions.
- No, a travel signature is not required to apply for OPT.
- No, your OPT I-20 will only show CPT that is for the current semester. It will not be printed on the I-20 if it was completed in a prior semester.
- No, there is no difference in USCIS processing times for OPT applications submitted by mail or online. OIS recommends all students apply for OPT only using the online application. Students who do not follow this recommendation and/or submit more than one application to USCIS are at risk of having their OPT rejected or denied.
- Please refer to the Travel section of the OIS website for guidance.