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OPT/ USCIS Updates

OPT/ USCIS Updates

February 26, 2021​ - Update on Delayed Receipt Notices for OPT

As a result of advocacy by organizations like NAFSA, court litigation, and the many requests for assistance individual students and DSOs made to USCIS and the CIS Ombudsman, on February 26, 2021 USCIS emailed an announcement to stakeholders setting forth the steps it will take to remedy the ill effects of the recent delays in processing at USCIS lockboxes. According to the message, now posted as a news alert on the USCIS website, for eligible applicants USCIS will:

Refiled applications must be received by May 31, 2021, for USCIS to treat the application as though filed on the original received date.

  1. Retain the filing date of a rejected filing if an applicant refiles his or her rejected application. USCIS will accept a refiled Form I-765 for OPT and STEM OPT as filed on the original filing date if:
    • The original, timely filed application was received on or after Oct. 1, 2020, through May 1, 2021, inclusive; and
    • USCIS subsequently rejected it.
  2. Allow the 14-month period during which the 12 months of standard post-completion OPT must be completed to start following the approval of the EAD, rather than the program end date
  3. Although lockboxes will continue to reject OPT applications with a missing or deficient signature, if such an application is accepted by the lockbox and makes its way to a USCIS adjudicator, USCIS will issue an RFE for the proper signature instead of denying the application.

Full text of the February 26, 2021 USCIS