With COVID-19 affecting the working of many offices, USCIS has also taken a great hit. The situation has improved a lot in the past few months. But, some of the lockbox facilities still have completely come over the situation. This, in turn, has caused delays in these facilities in producing receipt notices for Form I-765.
The application for Employment Authorization, considered on the basis of eligibility criteria as per 8 C.F.R. 274a.12(c)(3). This is specifically for F-1 visa holders for their OPT. USCIS recently has made many ways from this pandemic induced working issues.
USCIS provided the following instructions to all applicants applying for Filing Form I-765:
- The delays that happen do not change the date of receiving. This is because any submissions that arrive on-site are immediately date stamped. Thus, even if any blocks in the processing of your application because of Lockbox delays, the stamped date gives the full idea as to when did your submission arrive at the facility.
- If you have filed to the lockbox address before the announcement of the change to the filing address instructions announced on Jan. 8, 2021, you have nothing to worry about. USCIS will not be discarding the application of the basis of this. It is best to keep checking the USCIS website to stay updated on any changes in any rules.
- For all those worrying about the expiry date nearing your post-completion OPT can take a breather now. If you have applied for Form I-765 for STEM OPT within the valid time range, then USCIS will apply an employment extension of 180 days on all such timely arrived Forms. Alongside your Form I-765 that expired, attach your form I-20 that your DSO has endorsed for giving a recommendation for further extension of OPT ie STEM OPT. Together, you can use these documents to provide an identity and simultaneously provides work authorization. This helps you to document your employment authorization dates and go on with the extension provided by USCIS.
The current action of USCIS
USCIS well acknowledges the situation of the students who are on the F-1 visa work permit and the influence that these issuing delays have on them. The work that increases due to the delay in receipt issuing is covered by the workforce working extra hours. They redistribute the entire workload so as to maintain all protection measures as per COVID-19 protocols at the same time fastening any delays that have happened.
USCIS is working on processing all applications so that there remain no delays due to late receipting of payment beyond its validity date. USCIS is taking all actions to prevent any more delays and is fast-forwarding its work to fasten the processing of Form I-765 for OPT candidates.
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The DOs for the candidate
While in the midst of this pandemic panic, stay calm. USCIS is working full time to cover the gaps. Now, if your application has been filed while waiting for your receipt, patiently wait for USCIS to reach out to you. As per USCIS, the recommended waiting period within which the candidate receives their case status is eight weeks. If there is no response within this time length, you may contact the concerned officials at USCIS to know more about the case status.
To put up a reminder, you may create a USCIS online account that is free. From this account, you can check all your case statuses. Besides, Using USCIS case status online tool, you can also keep a lookout on the current processing times through your phone from anywhere in the world
Max Troy is the Career Counsellor as well as a passionate Author. Well, he has years of experience in the Career and Jobs industry. As a part of his career at OPTnation, he helped various OPT and CPT candidates to shape their Career. Through his knowledge and writing skill, he is contributing to the students to find the best Career advice and immigration topics. Do share the information if you like it.