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OPT Application Window

Background

Stakeholders request a longer time period for international students to submit optional practical training (OPT) applications to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) after issuance of the Form I-20, “Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status.” Current regulation specifies that the OPT request on the student’s Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) record and the Form I-20 must be no more than 30 days old as of the date the OPT application is submitted to USCIS. 

Also, current policy requires USCIS to process the Form I-765, “Application for Employment Authorization,” within 90 days. However, stakeholders note that delayed USCIS processing times often unfairly penalize students who do not receive their employment documents in a timely manner.

Government Response

USCIS determined that a change in the OPT window would require a change of current federal regulation. Government priorities dictate USCIS’s policy and regulatory plans.