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Students . . . Be Wary of Strict OPT Deadlines

Updated: Aug 2, 2023

For some graduating international students in the U.S., applying for temporary work authorization from USCIS after graduation is like walking a rope bridge. The deadline to apply for Optional Practical Training (OPT) is 60 days after program completion. Additionally, the OPT application must be submitted within 30 days of the school's recommendation for OPT. (Students with expired recommendations can request new ones from their schools).


If USCIS does not receive the application by the 60 day deadline, students will either have to request reinstatement of their F-1 status or litigate the matter in federal court and extract a settlement from the Department of Homeland Security whereby they would be granted their work authorizations. There would be have to be a good excuse for the late submission to USCIS, a snowstorm or misinformation from the Designated School Official being good examples. Other options include filing an appeal (using I-290B), or applying for H-1B or H-3 work authorization.


However, all of these alternatives are complicated and would likely require the assistance of a U.S. immigration lawyer. It's cheaper, safer, and would a yield better result if an international student simply adheres to the rigid application requirements.


Photo by Lee Robinson on Unsplash

Ariel view of a suspended bridge amidst open forestry on mountainous terrain

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