- USCIS has extended flexible measures for F-1 students in the OPT program
- Flexible measures are extended to OPT applications received from October 1, 2020 – October 31, 2021
- F-1 students will receive 12 months of OPT training regardless of graduation date
- Applicants who filed OPT or OPT STEM applications that were initially rejected by USCIS can refile
US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has extended flexible measures for F-1 students who are in the Optional Practical Training (OPT) program following a consent order in a recent lawsuit brought against the federal government for delays in issuing employment authorization documents (EADs).
What are the Changes?
Flexible measures were first announced in February 2021 to mitigate delays in EAD application processing. The measures have been extended to OPT applications received on or after October 1, 2020 through October 31, 2021. F-1 students will all receive 12 months of OPT training regardless of when they graduated. Additionally, OPT will be granted for the full recommended period, regardless of when adjudication was made. USCIS will issue a revised EAD if the original EAD was issued for less than the full recommended period for OPT. The flexible measures also allow OPT and STEM OPT applicants to file Form I-765 for OPT up to 120 days before the program ends. This measure is available for applications received by USCIS up to October 31, 2021. Applicants who initially filed Form I-765 for OPT or STEM OPT on or after October 1, 2020 through October 31, 2021, may refile their applications if they were initially rejected by USCIS. USCIS must receive the new applications by November 30, 2021.
Employers and students will benefit from the extended flexibilities, which are designed to alleviate work authorization delays for F-1 students.