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OPT/ USCIS Updates

OPT/ USCIS Updates

01/14/2021 - Update on Delayed Receipt Notices for OPT

ISSS is aware of the delay of USCIS Receipt Notice issuance.  In response, our office has compiled some tips for managing the situation. 

The Office Citizenship and Immigration Services Ombudsman issued the following statement regarding the USCIS receipt notice delays.  

The CIS Ombudsman is issuing this alert to notify individuals and employers of USCIS delays in issuing receipt notices from the agency's Lockbox intake facilities and the actions the CIS Ombudsman is taking to address these delays.

Based on requests for case assistance submitted to our office, USCIS is taking as long as 8 to 9 weeks to issue receipt notices for some applications and petitions.

In response to our attempts to work with USCIS to secure receipt notices, the agency has responded that it is unable to expedite their issuance. We will continue to try to assist individuals who have not received a Notice of Action (Form I-797C) 90 days after their application/petition was received at USCIS. Applicants who have not received a receipt notice within 60 days of filing should first contact USCIS. If USCIS does not respond to your inquiry within 30 days, you may submit a request for case assistance to the CIS Ombudsman.

The CIS Ombudsman is working with USCIS to find solutions to mitigate the harm to applicants impacted by the delays in issuing receipt notices.

For more information, please read USCIS' announcement

 

STUDENTS APPLYING FOR POST-COMPLETION OPT OR STEM OPT EXTENSION

  • Keep your tracking information for the shipment of your application to USCIS. 
    • This information will show when your application was received by USCIS in case any questions come up in the future. 
    • Keep this documentation until you receive your approved EAD card. 

Applicants who have not received a receipt notice within 60 days of filing should first contact USCIS. If USCIS does not respond to your inquiry within 30 days, you may submit a request for case assistance to the CIS Ombudsman.  The CIS Ombudsman's Office recommends submitting requests for case assistance online using the electronic Form DHS-7001. The second best option is via email at cisombudsman@hq.dhs.gov.

STUDENTS APPLYING FOR STEM OPT EXTENSION ONLY

  • Employment authorization period for a 24-month OPT extension begins on the day after the expiration of the initial post-completion OPT employment authorization and ends 24 months thereafter, regardless of the date the actual extension is approved. (See 8 CFR 274a.12(b)(6)(iv)
    • You can provide your employer the Code of Federal Regulations, citing the above passage to show your STEM OPT Extensions begins automatically after the end of your OPT. 
  • Students are authorized to continue employment for up to 180 days after the expiration of the post-completion OPT, if they have “timely and properly” filed a STEM OPT Extension application with USCIS. (See)  8 CFR 214.2(f)(11)(i)(C))
    • You can show your employer the Code of Federal Regulations, citing the above passage in combination with your I-20 showing your STEM recommendation and your  tracking information to prove that you have timely and properly filed your STEM OPT Extension application. 
  • Students should update their I-9 with their employer. 
  • Additionally, resources for you and your employer regarding STEM OPT are found at the STEM OPT HUB.