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International Student Services

Changes to the Optional Practical Training Application Process

UPDATE 9/30/2020: A federal district court has issued a nationwide preliminary injunction that prohibits the Department of Homeland Security from enforcing a regulation that was set to increase USCIS filing fees as of October 2, 2020. The I-765 fee will continue to be $410. For more details on the preliminary injunction, review the Fragomen Law Firm announcement. Always check the official USCIS website to confirm the I-765 fee and I-765 version prior to mailing any OPT application.

The International Student Services Office has revised the application materials that are required to receive an OPT or STEM OPT Extension I-20. ISS intends to make the OPT I-20 recommendation process more streamlined for our students. We will continue to audit and improve the OPT I-20 Request Process throughout the 2021-2021 school year, so stay tuned!

What's changed for Pre/Post-Completion OPT: 


You just submit one form to ISS in order to obtain an I-20 for your pre-completion or post-completion OPT application. The new OPT I-20 Request Form still requires that your academic advisor complete a section. But the process is now streamlined. Students do not have to submit any other documents to ISS for review. The Form I-765 does not need to be submitted to ISS. 


What's changed for STEM OPT Extension:


The new STEM OPT Extension I-20 Request Form is new altogether. ISS now requires the STEM OPT Extension I-20 Request Form and the Form I-983 (link available on the ISS Forms Library). The Form I-765 does not need to be submitted to ISS.


The New OPT I-20 Request Process is as follows:
  1. Fill out an OPT I-20 request form (can be completed on your computer and digitally signed)
  1. Wait to receive an email from an ISS immigration advisor.
    • Your completed Request Form will be forwarded to an international student advisor. Plan ahead for the 5-business day response time.
  1. The ISS advisor will issue a new I-20 with an OPT recommendation and will send it to you via email within 5 business days.
  2. You will continue with the OPT application process: mailing the OPT packet with including the I-765, document copies, check, photos, and new I-20 copy.
    • ISS online chat advising is available throughout OPT filing season. 
    • Online chat hours: 9 a.m. - 3 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Thursday; 12 p.m. - 3 p.m. Wednesday; 9 a.m. - 12 p.m. Friday
USCIS Form I-765 Information

Make sure to always check the official USCIS website to see if you are using the most up-to-date Form I-765. You can check the official website here: https://www.uscis.gov/i-765.

If you wish to apply for OPT (or OPT Extension), remember to watch the workshop on our website and send us required documents by email. Please allow 5 business days for processing. You can email your applications and questions to iss@sc.edu (but please watch the workshop first as it should answer many of the questions you may have).


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