USCIS Announcement – Processing Delays and Flexibilities

USCIS announced some flexibilities for F-1 students who mailed Form I-765 Application for Employment Authorization to USCIS between October 1, 2020 and May 1, 2021.  

Requesting 12 months post-completion OPT 

The regulations state that your post-completion OPT employment authorization end date cannot go beyond 14 months from your program completion date. USCIS will temporarily count the 14 months from your approved EAD card start date instead of your date of program completion.  

  • EAD card approved after February 26, 2021 

USCIS will grant the full 12-month post-completion OPT request. If your application is not approved by the requested OPT start date on your I-20your EAD card start date will be the date USCIS approves your application. Your EAD card end date will be 12 months from your EAD card start date.  

  • EAD card approved between October 1, 2020 and February 25, 2021 

If you applied for 12 months post-completion OPT, but you received less than 12 months authorization on your EAD card, you may request aEAD card correction due to USCIS error. Click the hyperlink, select “Replace an EAD” and follow “If your EAD contains incorrect information” because of USCIS error. 

Was your I-765 rejected? 

If you mailed your completed I-765 application materials for OPT or STEM Extension within the required time period and USCIS rejected your application, you may be eligible to refile your application. You must refile before May 31, 2021 and include your USCIS rejectionotice with your previous I-20. You do not need a new I-20 from ISS to refile your application. 

ISS is here for you 

  • OPT Calculator – use this tool to help you define your application time period.  
  • Post-completion OPT – our website is a great place to learn more. There are several required modules in your Terra Dotta OPT application.  
  • USCIS OPT Application Review – upload your I-765 and supporting documents for complimentary review from ISS. You are responsible for confirming the accuracy of your information. We cannot accommodate reviews during drop-in advising.   
  • Your reporting requirements – update any changes to your U.S. or foreign address, EAD card approval, and/or employment within 10 days of the change. 
  • Your legal stay in the U.S. – you can legally remain in the U.S. during and after your 60-day grace period as long as you submitted your application to USCIS in the required time period. 
  • Travel & OPT – assess the risk of international travel and review documents you should carry with you