Apply for OPT

Post-Completion OPT Application Step-by-Step Process

Step 1: Complete the Learn@Work OISS OPT Workshop Course

Access the course

Register for and launch the OISS OPT Workshop course in Learn@Work.

If you have trouble with the direct link, navigate to find the course in Learn@Work.

  1. Go to Learn@Work
  2. Log in with your WUSTL Key.
  3. In the Learning Catalog search box at the top right of the page, type OISS OPT Workshop.
  4. Click on the Not Registered button under the OISS OPT Workshop course that appears in the list.
  5. Click Launch to start the course.
  6. You can download a transcript of the OPT Workshop and the FAQ Handout from Class Attachments.

Download the Certificate of Course Completion

  1. Go to your Learn@Work ME page.
  2. Select Completed Learning from the menu on the left.
  3. Next to OISS OPT Workshop select Print Certificate.

Download the OPT Instructions Packet

  • Download OPT Application Instructions Packet
  • This packet includes:
    • The forms needed to apply for your OPT Recommended I-20
    • General information about Post-completion OPT
    • Instructions for the I-765

Step 2:  Request your OPT I-20 from your OISS Advisor

Email your OISS Advisor the following items from the OPT Application Instructions Packet:

  1. Requested OPT Start Date form
  2. Academic Advisor Verification form signed by you and your Academic Advisor
  3. OPT Application Compliance Agreement
  4. OPT Administrative fee receipt (Pay this fee $150 online)
  5. Certificate of Course Completion from the OISS OPT Workshop course in Learn@Work

Special Case: ABD OPT I-20 Request

Use this form if you are a graduate student and you have completed all coursework but your dissertation/thesis and plan to complete your dissertation/thesis while working on OPT.

Prior to requesting your OPT I-20, OISS recommends that you meet with your OISS Advisor and Academic Advisor to discuss your plan for completing your dissertation/thesis while working on OPT.

You must submit the following items to request an OPT I-20 from your OISS Advisor:

  1. Requested OPT Start Date form
  2. ABD OPT form signed by you and your Academic/Faculty Advisor
  3. OPT Application Compliance Agreement
  4. Pay $150 OPT Administrative Fee
  5. Certificate of Course Completion from OISS OPT Workshop course in Learn@Work

Step 3:  Prepare and submit your online I-765 OPT application to USCIS

Following the instructions in the OPT Application Instruction Packet, create MyUSCIS account and prepare a draft of the I-765.
**Do NOT submit your I-765 without the OPT recommended I-20 or it will be denied**

  • If you want to submit the I-765 on your own, use the guidance provided in the OPT Application Instructions Packet.


  • If you prefer to review your I-765 with your OISS Advisor, refer to the appointment booking information provided in the email including your OPT recommended I-20.
While your I-765 is Pending with USCIS

Check your USCIS account

  • Check for status updates
  • View your I-765
  • Documents tab: You can view your receipt notice
  • My Account/Settings: set up email/text notifications

Case Status Notifications from USCIS

You will be notified by USCIS when your application is approved and when the Employment Authorization Document (EAD) is issued and shipped. The update will include a USPS Tracking Number, so that you can determine when your card will be delivered to your mailing address. You can also sign up for Informed Delivery by USPS so that you can see when your EAD is being delivered.

Change of Mailing Address

If you need to change your mailing address, you can update it through your MyUSCIS Account. However, changing your address while your I-765 is pending may cause delays or result in delivery of the wrong address. Monitor USPS Tracking if you change your mailing address!

Request for Evidence (RFE)

If the officer processing your I-765 needs more information from you, they may send you a request for evidence (RFE). If you receive an RFE, contact your OISS advisor for guidance.

International Travel

Filing for post-completion OPT has no effect on students’ ability to travel internationally and return to the U.S. before their I-20 program end date. Prior to that date, the student is a current student for travel purposes. The OISS cautions against international travel after their I-20 program end date until they have received their EAD.

After OPT is Approved and EAD is Received

  1. After your I-765 is approved and your OPT start date has arrived, you will receive an email from SEVP to your WashU email address inviting you to the SEVP portal. See our SEVP Portal webpage for more information.
  2. All students on OPT must report their U.S. home address and employment information in the SEVP Portal within 10 days after starting work and within 10 days after any changes in order to maintain their status.
    • If you miss the 10-day deadline, email OISS for assistance.
  1. Request I-20 reprints from the OISS.
    • You may request an I-20 reprint from us each time you report employment information in the SEVP Portal. We will email you an electronic signed I-20 with a travel signature.
  2. Please report if you change to another immigration status or depart the U.S. and complete your OPT period early.

Questions about the SEVP Portal or OPT Reporting? Contact OISS