Tips to Complete the I-765

The I-765 can be completed as a paper application form that is submitted with other paper supporting documents to a USCIS Lockbox, or can be filed online. Please note that these are just guidelines to help you complete your application, and are not provided as legal advice. If you require assistance to complete the I-765 application you can seek the help of an immigration attorney.

Both the paper form and the link to file your application online are found here: For paper-paper based applications, always check that you are using the most current version of the form.

The instructions below align to questions in the online form. They do not cover all questions on the form, just ones that may be tricky. Corresponding fields on the paper form are noted in parentheses.

Basis of Eligibility (question 27 in paper form):

Select the type of OPT that applies to your application:

(c)(3)(A) Student Pre-completion OPT

(c)(3)(B) Student Post-completion OPT

(c)(3)(C) STEM Extension

Reason for Applying (part 1 on paper form):

Select “Initial permission to accept employment” for both the initial 12-month OPT application and for the 24-month STEM OPT extension of your current OPT, because they are based on different eligibility codes.

Your contact information (question 5 on paper form):

Your Receipt Notice and EAD will be mailed to the address you provide as “U.S. Mailing Address.” If you will move to a new address, please note that the U.S. Postal Service will not forward this mail, even if you file a change of address form with the U.S. Postal Service.  If you use a personal address and you move before your EAD is issued, you must update your address with both the USPS and with USCIS.

USPS Change of Address
USCIS Change of Address

Your immigration information:

  • For place of arrival, list the port of entry listed on your I-94 for most recent entry (question 23, paper form). This can be outside the United States, if U.S. immigration was cleared at a foreign port of entry.
  • Provide your SEVIS Number as listed on your form I-20, starting with an N-XXXXXXXXXX. (question 26, paper form).

Other Information: (questions 8 – 17.b on paper form):

If you have been issued an Alien Registration Number (A-Number), list it here. If you do not know if you were issued this number, you can select “I do not have or know my A-Number”.  (question 8, paper form).

If you do not already have a U.S. Social Security number and card, you may apply for one using this form. If your request for employment authorization is approved, the SSA will issue you a Social Security card (or a replacement for a lost card). If you want the SSA to assign you a Social Security number and issue you a Social Security card then answer “Yes” to both #14 and #15 (paper form). You must also provide your father’s and mother’s family and given names at birth in #16.a. – #17.b (paper form). You are not required to request an SSN using this application. Completing #14 – #17.b. is optional, and you may still choose to apply for a SSN or replacement card in person at a Social Security Administration office. However, you will need to wait until your EAD start date to apply. If you will work, you must apply for a Social Security card.

NOTE: If your employer uses E-Verify to confirm new employees’ eligibility to legally work in the United States, the information you provide on Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, will be compared to data in SSA and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) databases. Employees must have an SSN in order for E-Verify to confirm their eligibility to legally work in the United States.

Degree and E-Verify Information – for STEM OPT Applicants Only (Question #28.a. – #28.c.):

Complete only if you are applying for a STEM OPT Extension. List Degree, Major, Employer Name and E-Verify # . The E-Verify number should be 5-7 digits.

Paper Form Only:

Paper Form, Part 3: Applicant’s Statement, Contact Information, Declaration, Certification, and Signature.

Complete questions 1-6 and sign in blue ink. Signature must fit inside the box for transfer to the EAD card.

Paper Form, Part 6: Additional Information (Page 7)

Questions 1.a. and 1.b.:
List your Names accordingly.

Question 3 – If you had prior SEVIS ID numbers, or prior periods of CPT/OPT, list those here.

s 3.a., 3.b., & 3.c.:
You should reference PAGE #3; PART #2; ITEM #26

Question 3.d.:
If you have had multiple SEVIS ID numbers, you must list those here.

If you have had CPT or OPT authorizations in the past, you must list those here. Please list the type of authorization (CPT or OPT), the start/end dates of the authorization, the degree level for which the practical training was conducted (e.g. Bachelor’s, Master’s, Doctoral) and the SEVIS number(s) that you had during the period of authorization.