United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) continues to experience delays at certain lockboxes in issuing receipt notices for Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization for optional practical training (OPT) issued to F-1 student visa holders.
The received date stamped on the receipt notice reflects the date the form arrived at the lockbox. Applications will not be rejected if they were sent to the previous lockbox address used before January 8, 2021. USCIS will mail out receipt notices once they re-open and process the I-765 applications.
USICS will automatically extend post-completion OPT periods for individuals whose applications were timely filed prior to the expiration date and have been pending for 180 days. These individuals can use the following documents in combination to establish their work authorization and identity:
- Form 1-20, recommending a science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) extension, endorsed by their school official; and
- Expired Form I-766 employment authorization document (EAD).
USCIS is working to reduce delays while keeping staff safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. The agency recommends waiting eight weeks after submitting a I-765 application before contacting them about case status. Applicants are recommended to create an online account, monitor their case status, and view case processing times.
The Chugh, LLP team will closely watch the situation as it develops and provide updates as soon as they are available.