Optional Practical Training

Optional Practical Training

OPT Updates for Fall 2021

  • If you are an F-1 student completing your program in Fall 2021, remember that you must first apply to OIS for an I-20 with an OPT recommendation before filing the I-765 application with USCIS.
  • USCIS has recently announced that pursuant to a court order, certain flexibilities have been extended to students filing the I-765 form through October 31, 2021. One temporary allowance is that through October 31, 2021, students can file their Form I-765 applications up to 120 days before their program end date. Students completing in Fall 2021 can beginrequesting their I-20s with OPT recommendations from OIS now in order to have them ready to file their I-765 applications.
  • This temporary allowance also applies to master’s thesis students and doctoral students using their defense dates as their program end dates. If you plan to use a defense date in the first half of the Spring 2022 semester as your program end date, please email ckklaube@ncsu.edu for further information about how your timelines are affected by this temporary allowance. 
  • If you would like more information about applying for OPT this fall, please attend an OPT Information Session. We have a general session for all students on September 2 from 3-4pm. We will also be holding a longer session geared towards master’s thesis students and doctoral students to go more in depth about planning for OPT with a thesis or dissertation defense. This session will be held on September 3 from 2-3:30 pm. Zoom links for the sessions will be posted here on the day of each session. They will be recorded and posted on this page for those unable to attend.

I-765 Mailing Address

We are again allowing students to use OIS’s address as their mailing address for the I-765 application to USCIS if they have no other stable options. Full conditions and instructions are included in the OPT/ STEM OPT Mail Waiver, which you must complete should you use OIS’s mailing address.

Online Filing of I-765

Recently, USCIS has made the I-765 available for online filing for F-1 students applying for pre-, post- or STEM Extension Optional Practical Training (OPT). As this is a new online form, there may be unforeseen complications as this is a soft launch and still in the testing process. OIS cannot yet advise on how to complete an online I-765 application and as such we recommend that students still file the paper I-765 until more is known about how the rollout of the online I-765 goes. 

There may be certain situations where due to very close filing deadlines, filing online may be advantageous. If you have further questions about the online filing of the I-765, please attend an OPT Q&A session.


OPT Q&A sessions are held online every Tuesday at 1:00PM and Thursday at 10:00AM. Join the session through the following link: https://ncsu.zoom.us/j/99595429274. Please note you must join the session by 1:30pm (Tuesday) or 10:30am (Thursday). The session will be locked after these times and you will not be able to join using the above mentioned link.

Participants are invited to ask their questions through a group chat function, and the advisor will talk through these questions with everyone in virtual attendance. All participants will be able to hear each question, so if you have a lengthy question or a question of a personal nature, please make an appointment with your advisor. Please note that the Q&A sessions are optional and there is no set presentation; the Q&A sessions just provide an opportunity for students to talk with OIS advisors about any OPT questions they may have. Another thing to note is that this not an I-765 review session, meaning that we will not be going through the I-765 question by question, however if you have a specific I-765 question you can ask this during the session.


How to Apply for OPT:

  1. Complete the OPT Application form and gain all necessary signatures. We will accept electronic signatures on the application form. 
  2. Review the OPT Online Session and complete the quiz at the end of the session
  3. Receive an email from OIS confirming you passed the quiz
  4. Go to go.ncsu.edu/ois-opt-form and complete the Post-Completion OPT Request forms. You will upload a pdf of the quiz results email and your OPT Application form in this process.

An OIS advisor will review your materials and email you if anything is missing. Otherwise, you can expect to receive an email from OIS within 10 business days containing a scanned copy of your new, OPT I-20. With this I-20 copy, you can proceed with mailing your OPT application to USCIS. Please refer to the following resources to assist you in preparing your OPT application:

Please note that with the COVID-19 situation in flux, OIS cannot guarantee that there will not be an interruption in our mail service. Therefore, OIS cannot be used as the mailing address for your OPT application to USCIS.

And don’t forget, if you still have questions, feel free to join an OPT Q&A before you mail your application to USCIS!