Pursuant to a court
order, USCIS has extended flexibilities for certain foreign students
affected by delayed receipt notices issued for Form I-765, Application for
Employment Authorization. These flexibilities apply only to those applications
filed on or after Oct. 1, 2020, through Oct. 31, 2021, inclusive.
As acknowledged by USCIS, filers
of I-765 EAD applications for OPT and STEM OPT extensions have experienced
significant delays in the issuance of receipt notices. In an attempt to assist
certain applicants impacted by the delays, USCIS first enacted flexibilities
for certain applicants filing form I-765 for OPT on February 26, 2021, which
applied to cases received through May 1, 2021. However, those flexibilities were
extended by court order on July 23, 2021, and now apply to cases received through
October 31, 2021.
Until October 31, 2021, USCIS
will allow for the following flexibilities:
Processing of Form I-765 OPT/STEM OPT applications in 120 days
- USCIS will process all applications for OPT and
STEM OPT within 120 days of receipt. Processing means that the application will
be approved, denied or an RFE will be issued within 120 days.
Grant of post-completion
OPT EAD validity period
- USCIS will grant a full 12 months of
post-completion OPT irrespective of the requirement that OPT be completed
within 14 months of graduation.
- USCIS will grant OPT for the full period originally
recommended by the DSO on Form I-20, irrespective of the time of adjudication.
correction of OPT EADs already issued
- Upon eligible applicants’ request, USCIS will issue
a CORRECTED EAD for any post-completion OPT EAD application
received between Oct. 1, 2020, through Oct. 31, 2021, inclusive, that was
issued with a validity period that was less than the DSO’s recommended validity
of previously-rejected OPT/STEM OPT applications
- USCIS will accept re-filed I-765 applications for
OPT/STEM OPT that were originally filed on time between October 1, 2020 and October
31, 2021 and later rejected.
- Resubmitted applications must be received prior to
November 30, 2021.
- Resubmitted applications will be processed as if received
on the original date (i.e. the full period of OPT will be granted, but the
original I-20 will be accepted without the requirement of a new I-20).
If the case was rejected for missing or deficient
signature(s), a request for Evidence will be issued instead of a denial.
of Form I-765 post-completion OPT applications 120 days before completion of
- From July 23, 2021 until October 31, 2021, USCIS
will accept I-765 post-completion OPT applications submitted up to 120 days (instead
of 90) before completion of the respective program.