USCIS Offers Extensions for Employment Authorization for OPT

Generally, F-1 students may engage in temporary employment, OPT, that is directly related to the student’s major area of study. This year of employment must be completed within 14 months from the end of their program. To do so, I-765, application for employment authorization, must be filed. Due to Covid-19 and policy changes, there have been delays on part of USCIS that might cause applicants to receive less OPT than they would have normally.

To address these issues, USCIS has extended the 14 month start date to begin from the date of approval of the I-765 for OPT instead of from the end of their program. “F-1 students requesting post-completion OPT who receive an approval of Form I-765 for less than the full amount of OPT time requested (not to exceed 12 months) due to the requirement that the OPT be completed within 14 months of the program end date may request a correction of the EAD due to USCIS error. USCIS will issue a corrected EAD with a new end date, as requested, to cover the full amount of OPT time recommended in the original application.”

For those applicants who were rejected because they were unable to timely refile within the required timeframes, USCIS will accept a refiled I-765 for OPT and STEM OPT if the original rejected application was received between October 1, 2020 and May 1, 2021. “Refiled applications must be received by May 31, 2021, for USCIS to treat the application as though filed on the original received date.” Applicants looking to refile should include a copy of their original rejection notice.

These extensions listed above are only applicable to applications received between the dates of October 1, 2020 to May 1, 2021. 

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