Online option only for OPT; other EAD categories may be denied after April 15.
Foreign students on F-1 visa seeking optional practical training (OPT) can now file application for Employment Authorization online in three categories, US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced Monday.
Online applications for EAD (Form I-765) may be filed for Pre-Completion OPT; Post-Completion OPT; and 24-Month Extension of OPT for science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) students, it said.
Students from China and India made Asia the most popular continent of origin, accounting for nearly three fourths (74%) of the international students in the US in 2020, according to latest official data.
India sent 207,460 students to the US in calendar year 2020, 41,761 (-16.76%) fewer than in 2019 due to Covid-19 pandemic, according to the annual Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) report released last month.
International students who obtained an EAD to participate in the OPT program decreased by 12% from 2019 to 2020.
OPT is temporary employment that is directly related to an F-1 student’s major area of study.
Eligible students can apply to receive up to 12 months of OPT employment authorization before completing their academic studies (pre-completion) and/or after completing their academic studies (post-completion).
Eligible F-1 students who receive STEM degrees may apply for a 24-month extension of their post-completion OPT.
“USCIS remains committed to maximizing our online filing capabilities,” said acting USCIS director Tracy Renaud.
“The I-765 online filing option allows eligible students to file forms online in a more user-friendly fashion and increases efficiencies for adjudicators.”
The option to file Form I-765 online is only available to F-1 students filing Form I-765 for OPT.
If an applicant submits Form I-765 online to request employment authorization on or after April 15, but is eligible for a different employment authorization category, USCIS will deny the application and retain the fee, USCIS said.
READ: What are your options if H-1B visa is denied? (April 29, 2019)
As USCIS continues to transition to paperless operations, the agency will work to expand online filing for Form I-765 to additional categories, the immigration agency said.
Online filing allows applicants to submit forms electronically, check the status of their case anytime from anywhere, and receive notices from USCIS online instead of waiting for them in the mail.
Individuals can file 11 USCIS forms online, which can all be found on the Forms Available to File Online page.
To file these forms online, individuals must first create a USCIS online account at myaccount.uscis.gov, the agency said.
F-1 visa STEM students will be given work authorization for 3 years (February 9, 2016)
The fading charm of the F-1 student visa in Trump era (August 26, 2019)