USCIS Processing Flexibilities for OPT/STEM OPT Applications

July 30, 2021

USCIS announced on  7/29/2021 and 2/26/2021 flexibilities for OPT/STEM OPT Extension applicants affected by delayed receipt notices for the Form I-765. These flexibilities apply only to applications received on or after October 1, 2020, through October 31, 2021. See more information on our COVID-19 FAQ webpage.

1) For standard 12-month OPT I-765 applications received through October 31, 2021, applications can be filed up to 120 days before the program end date (instead of the normal 90 days). This does NOT apply to STEM OPT Extension I-765 applications.

2) If you applied for 12-month OPT during this period and received an EAD with less than 12 months of OPT, contact BIO regarding how to request a correction. 

3) If your OPT/STEM OPT I-765 application was rejected, contact BIO immediately regarding your options to refile before November 30, 2021. 

Click here to view USCIS's estimated case processing times. USCIS is currently experiencing serious delays in issuing I-765 receipt notices for applications filed by mail. Travel outside the U.S. with a pending, unreceipted application could be very risky. Please review the risks of travel with pending OPT or STEM OPT here on the BIO website.