USCIS provides some flexibility due to OPT delays

Tuesday, Mar 2, 2021
by Joanne Bateup Thomas, Associate Director for International Students

USCIS announced that it can provide three areas of flexibility for students who file OPT applications between October 1, 2020-May 1, 2021 inclusive. Davis IC continues to recommend that students review their applications closely for accuracy, and file them as soon as they are eligible to allow time for USCIS to review and approve applications ahead of planned employment start dates.
 

  • 14 Month Period: Students typically have to complete post-completion OPT within 14 months of their program end date on their I-20. USCIS has decided that they will adjust the 14 month period to align with the date of approval of the form I-765 rather than the program end date.
     
  • Refiling Following Rejection: If USCIS rejects an application that was timely filed on or after Oct. 1, 2020 through May 1, 2021, students will be eligible to refile as long as their new filing is received by May 31, 2021.
     
  • Missing or Deficient Signatures: Most applications with missing signatures are rejected by the lockbox, and students will have to follow refiling guidelines in these circumstances. However, if an application is passed from the lockbox to a service center without a signature, USCIS will reach out through a Request for Evidence to update the signature rather than denying the application.


If you have any questions, do not hesitate to reach out to one of our International Student Advisors.

Sources:
USCIS announcement
Fragomen Summary