IMPORTANT: You are not authorized to begin Optional Practical Training until you receive an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) from USCIS. In order that you receive your EAD prior to the date on which you wish to begin your employment, we strongly suggest that you submit your completed Application for Employment Authorization to your International Student Advisor at least 90 days prior to the start date of your training/work program. For F-1 students applying for pre-completion OPT, you cannot apply earlier than 90 days before you have been an F-1 student for a full academic year. For F-1 students applying for post-completion OPT, you cannot apply earlier then 90 days before the completion date on your I-20. There will be no e-filing this year.
How to Apply for Your Employment Authorization Document:
1. Obtain two photographs. Failure to submit photographs in compliance with the attached specifications will delay the processing of your application.
2. Complete the USCIS Form I-765 included in your instruction packet. This is the actual application form. Please be sure to use the following as your address so that all correspondence comes through me in case you are not available and so that I can make a photocopy of it for your files (in case something later gets lost):
Center for International Education
Washington and Lee University
Lexington, VA 24450
3. Eligibility codes. Under 16. of the application, you are asked for an Eligibility Code. For those of you applying for pre-completion OPT (before graduation), your code is c (3) A. For those of you applying for post-completion OPT (after Graduation, your code is c (3) B. When you apply for a 17-month extension Through STEM, your code will be c (3) C. If you are applying to work with an International organization, your code is c (3) ii.
Under 17. you only complete this information when you apply for the 17-month STEM extension which would be after your original 12 months is exhausted.
4. Bring the following documents to your International Student Advisor:
1. Photographs (lightly print your name/current admission no. on the back in Pencil or felt tip pen, being careful not to smear the ink onto your
pictures). Note new instructions for photograph guidelines.
2. Completed I-765. Remember your eligibility category as described above. For the address, put Ctr for Intl Education, Washington &
Lee Univ, Lexington, VA 24450. Any correspondence and the EAD card will come to my office and I can get this information/card to
you wherever you may be once it arrives. The service center will NOT deliver to a forwarding address; it will be returned to the service center.
3. Form where you list majors/minors and proposed begin and end dates.
4. Any previous EAD cards you may have had.
5. Original copies of ALL of your I-20s. Failure to submit all I-20s may result in rejection of application. We will also make you a new I-20 with
an employment endorsement on the back page that you will need to sign.
6. A copy your electronic I-94
7. A copy of the photograph page of your passport (and renewal page if app)
8. Check payable to US Department of Homeland Security for $380.00.
9. STEM applicants will also need to attach a copy of their degree when they Apply for the extension of their current OPT.
10. Intl organization applicants will need to attach a letter of support from the International organization.
5. Sign your name IN PEN at the bottom of the page, along with date and telephone Number.
6. Once your application has been approved by your International Student Advisor, she will recommend authorization for practical training in accordance with USCIS regulations. The International Student Advisor will submit your application toUSCIS for final processing. Once the application is submitted, you should return to the Center for International Education and retrieve your I-20 forms and a photocopy of the entire application packet. In addition, you will receive a new SEVIS I-20 that includes the OPT recommendation to the USCIS. Please allow at least 10 working days before you come to recover your original I-20s.
7. The Center for International Education will mail the original document by certified mail to the USCIS Dallas Lockbox for processing.
8. After your application packet has arrived at the USCIS Dallas Lockbox, if your application is complete, the Lockbox will mail CIE a Form I-797. This is not your employment authorization. It is merely a receipt notice confirming that your completed application has been received and is in process.
9. Processing will take approximately 8-16 weeks. If your application is approved, your approval letter and Employment Authorization Document (EAD) will be mailed directly to CIE so please make sure we have your most up to date address,so that we will be able to forward it to you. In some instances, you may be required to appear at a local USCIS office (Arlington, VA or Norfolk, VA) to receive your EAD card. I will be able to monitor on SEVIS whether your application is still pending, has been approved or has been rejected.