Flexibilities Announced for OPT Applicants

Update 07/29/2021

Pursuant to a court order, these flexibilities have been extended to include applications received from Oct. 1, 2020, through Oct. 31, 2021.

For applicants who timely filed Form I-765 for OPT and STEM OPT and whose applications were later rejected, USCIS will accept a refiled Form I-765 as filed on the original filing date if:

  • The original, timely filed application was received on or after Oct. 1, 2020, through Oct. 31, 2021, inclusive; and
  • USCIS subsequently rejected it.

Refiled applications must be received by Nov. 30, 3021, for USCIS to treat the application as though filed on the original received date.

Additionally, for applications received through October 31, 2021, applicants can file Form I-765 up to 120 days before the program end date.

Original Post 02/27/2021

Many F-1 students were not able to complete the full 12 month of post completion OPT due to significant delays at USCIS and volume delays at USPS.

By law, they are supposed to complete the 12 month OPT within 14 months from the end of their program. However, the delay has reduced their full OPT potential due to no fault of their own.

As a cure, USCIS will allow the 14-month period to commence from the date of approval of the Form I-765 for applications for post-completion OPT.

These flexibilities apply only to applications received on or after Oct. 1, 2020, through May 1, 2021, inclusive.

Any student whose approved OPT has been reduced as a result of the delay may also request a correction for the full 12 month period.