There are several types of problems that may occur during your OPT or OPT application:
- Delayed processing
- Needing to change information on your OPT application
- Not receiving your I-797c Receipt Notice
- Not receiving your EAD/EAD lost in the mail
- Request for Evidence or Denial of OPT
- Lost EAD or Incorrect EAD
See below for further information and instructions on how to deal with these issues.
OPT/STEM Application Pending Longer Than Normal Processing Times
Please visit the USCIS Processing Times website for the most up-to-date processing times for OPT/STEM applications. If you have an OPT/STEM application that has been pending for longer than the normal processing time, please contact Berkeley International Office and submit a case inquiry on the USCIS website. Please note that there is no way to expedite an application.
Change Information After OPT/STEM Application has been Mailed to USCIS
At times, students may want to change certain information such as dates, address, etc. on their OPT/STEM application after they have mailed it to USCIS. Please note that after you have mailed your application to USCIS, no changes can be made except for address updates.
Change of Address
Withdraw an Application
Withdrawing your OPT application is very difficult and the fee is non-refundable. If your OPT has already been approved, it is not possible to withdraw it. Please discuss this with an adviser at Berkeley International Office.
Request for Evidence or Denial
If you've received a Request for Evidence or Denial, please contact Berkeley International Office as soon as possible. These notices are time-sensitive.
Replacement I-797 Notice of Action
Students who have filed for OPT/STEM OPT with USCIS but have never received or lost their I-797 Notice of Action should request a replacement copy.
What is an I-797 Notice of Action?
The I-797 is a receipt notice that USCIS mails out within 2 - 4 weeks after an applicant has mailed the OPT application to USCIS.
Importance of I-797 Notice
- To inquire about your OPT application status.
- Proof that USCIS has received your OPT application.
- Contains a date when USCIS begins processing your OPT application.
- Contains a case number to track your OPT application.
- Necessary if you would like to travel outside of the U.S while your OPT application is pending.
Instructions on how to request for a replacement I-797 Notice of Action
EAD Correction or Replacement of a Lost or Stolen EAD Card
The Employment Authorization Document (EAD) is evidence that an individual is allowed to work in the United States for a specific time period. It is also physical evidence that a student’s OPT has been adjudicated and approved by USCIS.
If you’ve received an EAD Card but it contains incorrect information due to an USCIS error (e.g.: typo in name or incorrect birthdate), you must return the original EAD card to get it corrected by USCIS. USCIS will issue a corrected EAD within 30 - 45 days of receiving the EAD that contains the error.
If you are not sure if the error is made by USCIS or you have questions, please contact us.
BEFORE sending away your card for a correction, be sure that you: 1) make a photocopy of the card, 2) have already provided the card for your employment hiring process, SSN application, or Driver License renewal, and 3) do not have any international travel plans in the next 1-2 months.
The original EAD Card
A letter containing detailed explanation of the error
A copy of original the OPT I-20 that was issued by BIO. It does not have to be issued within the past 30 days.
Supporting documentation, if needed
Ex: Copy of passport biographical page if there are any biographical errors
Sample Letter to USCIS
USCIS Potomac Service Center
I've received my EAD card; however I noticed that the EAD contains an error. (Provide a brief explanation of the issue. For example: My first name is missing the letter "i". The correct spelling is "Oski". However, the card is showing "Osk". I have attached my passport as verification of the correct spelling of my name).
Please correct the error and send me an updated EAD Card.
(Print letter and sign your name with a pen)
Mail your request to the center that processed your OPT application and make sure you get a tracking number. Check your USCIS receipt number: if the first 3 letters of your OPT receipt number are YSC, then the card was produced by the Potomac Service Center. (If you are not sure which Service Center issued the card, please ask your BIO adviser.) Use the address below for the Potomac Service Center:
Potomac Service Center
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
2200 Potomac Center Drive, Stop 2425
Arlington, VA 20598-2425
Please note: If USCIS determines that the card contains incorrect information that is NOT due to USCIS error, they will return the EAD Card. You will need to request a Replacement EAD and repay the USCIS I-765 filing fee.
Replacement EAD Lost in Mail at fault of USPS
If the case status on USCIS is showing that your EAD card was mailed, but you never received it, there is a possibility that it was undeliverable or lost by USPS.
Instructions on how to request for a replacement EAD that was lost in mail by USPS
- Call USCIS to obtain the tracking number for your EAD Card. If you are registered for an account with USCIS.gov, the tracking information should show in your account if the card has been mailed.
Check the tracking number. If it shows “delivered,” contact USPS to see if they are able to locate the mail for you.
- If USPS is responsible for the lost card, you will need to obtain an official letter on a letterhead from USPS stating such.
- Bring the letter to Berkeley International Office so that an adviser can assist you with contacting USCIS about your case.
- If approved, USCIS will then issue a new replacement EAD at no additional cost.
If your case status shows “undeliverable,” it means that USPS may have returned the EAD to USCIS.
- Follow the instructions in the online USCIS case status to request that USCIS resend the card to you.
If USPS determines that they are not responsible for the loss of the EAD, you will have to file for a replacement Lost EAD Card and pay the USCIS I-765 filing fee.
Students who need a replacement EAD Card (e.g. the original EAD Card was lost, stolen, destroyed, or it included an error by the applicant) will need to file original OPT paperwork and repay the USCIS I-765 fee to the Service Center.
Document Checklist. Refer to the OPT tutorial or STEM OPT tutorial for specific instructions on how to prepare these documents.
- 2 U.S. Passport Photos (with name and I-94 number written lightly in pencil on back of each), taken within the past 30 days.
- Current USCIS I-765 Fee: Check, Money Order, or Credit Card payment made payable to: “U.S. Department of Homeland Security.”
- New original form I-765 indicating 1.b. - Replacement of lost, stolen or damaged employment authorization document. Remember: In the I-765 form, you'll need to be sure to indicate you have previously applied for OPT or STEM and indicate your previous receipt numbers. (You previously applied and your card was lost stolen or damaged!)
- Letter explaining that your original EAD has been lost, stolen, not delivered by mail, etc.
- Photocopy of OPT I-20 that was previously issued by BIO for your initial/STEM OPT application. It does not have to be issued within the past 30 days.
- Photocopy of passport biographical page and F-1 visa stamp, if applicable.
- Photocopy of latest paper Form I-94 (both sides) or electronic I-94 record. (The electronic I-94 record is available ONLY to those with passport admission stamp.)
- Copy of I-797 receipt notice and copy of original EAD Card, if applicable.
If it is a replacement request due to an error not by USCIS, the original EAD is required.
- Form G-1145 to confirm receipt and obtain case number in advance of paper notification.
Use the address of USCIS Service Center that corresponds to the region where you will receive your EAD (the address you listed on Item #3 of your Form I-765). Make sure that you use a form of mailing with guaranteed delivery, tracking, and delivery confirmation.
- You will use a different address depending on whether you choose Express Mail or USPS.
Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Washington, Wisconsin, Wyoming, Guam, or the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands.
Express Deliveries (Fedex or UPS)
PO Box 21281
Phoenix, AZ 85036
Attn: NFB AOS
1820 E Skyharbor Circle S
Phoenix, AZ 85034
Alabama, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Mississippi, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, U.S. Virgin Islands, or West Virginia
Express Deliveries (Fedex or UPS)
PO Box 660867
Dallas, TX 75266
Attn: NFB AOS
2501 S. State Hwy 121 Business
Lewisville, TX 75067
Please contact us.