USCIS Processing for OPT

Processing Time

The average USCIS processing time is at least 90 days from receipt of your application. We advise you to apply as early as possible to allow about 90 days of processing time, but please note that your actual processing time could be longer or shorter.

Checking the Progress of Your OPT Application

If you file your OPT online, you will immediately get your receipt number (starting with IOE). Whether you file online or by mail, within 2 - 3 weeks of filing your OPT application, USCIS will send you a paper receipt notice (Form I-797) to mailing address you provided on the I-765. This is proof that USCIS has received your application. Make sure to check the spelling of your name when you receive your paper receipt notice. If you notice an error, contact OISS. The receipt will also have your receipt number printed on it beginning with IOE for online applications and YSC for mail applications, with which you can track the progress of your application on the USCIS website.

Request for Evidence (RFE)

Occasionally, a student will receive a Request for Evidence (RFE) from USCIS. These requests are typically because the application is missing a document or new photographs are required. If you receive such a request contact your OISS adviser immediately so that you can respond to USCIS with the requested documents, as soon as possible.

  • If you filed online, you will be able to respond to the RFE via your USCIS account.
  • If you filed by mail, when you respond to the RFE, place the original sheet on top. Be sure to make copies of these additional materials before you respond to the RFE, and send them by courier mail.

EAD Delays

If your application is outside the normal processing time posted by USCIS, you can submit an electronic request using the USCIS portal and request DHS case assistance. Check with OISS for the current normal processing time before you seek USCIS assistance.