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USCIS to Accept Electronic I-765 OPT EAD Applications
Apr 14, 2021

USCIS to Accept Electronic I-765 OPT EAD Applications

Topics: Immigration

The USCIS is modernizing its processes and moving towards electronic filing for student work documents.  On April 12, 2021, USCIS announced that it will begin accepting Form I-765 Application for Employment Authorization (“EAD”) from F-1 students transitioning to Optional Practical Training (“OPT”) employment via its online filing system.  USCIS will accept online applications for pre-degree completion OPT, post-degree completion OPT, and the 24-month extension available to students with STEM degrees.

The principal advantage of electronic filing is time.  Prior to this announcement, students were required to submit their immigration benefit applications on paper.  USCIS staff would then process this paper application using computers to adjudicate the application and produce the employment authorization card.  By utilizing the online filing system, students seeking OPT EAD cards skip the paper step and enter their data directly into USCIS’ filing system. 

USICS’ notoriously slow paper-based adjudication system would occasionally create an employment authorization gap for F-1 students and their employer.  F-1 students that work as a part of their school’s curriculum and wish to continue to work after graduation are occasionally forced to stop working upon the expiration of their curricular-based employment authorization to wait for USCIS to issue an EAD card.  This wait will be minimized or eliminated with the implementation of the online filing system.

F-1 students wishing to utilize USCIS’ online filing system to file Form I-765 should create an account at  Students and employers with questions on the mechanics of USCIS’ online filing system or eligibility for an OPT EAD should seek counsel from a competent immigration attorney or the Designated School Official at the student’s school.  If you are an employer with a question about immigration matters, please contact Richard Green, Chair of CDF's Immigration Practice Group at

About CDF

For over 25 years, CDF has distinguished itself as one of the top employment, labor and immigration firms in California, representing employers in single-plaintiff and class action lawsuits and advising employers on related legal compliance and risk avoidance. We cover the state, with five locations from Sacramento to San Diego.

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About the Editor in Chief

Sacramento Office Managing Partner and Chair of CDF’s Traditional Labor Law Practice Group. Mark has been practicing labor and employment law in California for thirty years. His practice has a special emphasis on the representation of California employers in union-management relations and handling federal and state court litigation and administrative matters triggered by all types of employment-related disputes. He is also adept at providing creative and practical legal advice to help minimize the risks inherent in employing workers in California. He recently named “Sacramento Lawyer of the Year” in Employment Law-Management for 2021 by Best Lawyers®.
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