In recognition that USCIS has been experiencing delays at certain lockboxes in issuing receipt notices for I-765 for Optional Practical Training (OPT) or STEM OPT for F-1 students, USCIS announced flexibilities for certain foreign students affected by delayed receipt notices for I-765. These flexibilities apply only to applications received on or after October 1, 2020 through May 1, 2021 inclusive.
F-1 students may participate in up to 12 months of post-completion OPT, which must be completed within 14 months from the end of their program. Due to the delays at the lockbox, some applicants may only be eligible for a shortened period of OPT within that 14-month period. To allow F-1 students to complete the full period of requested OPT (up to 12 months), USCIS will allow the 14-month period to commence from the date of approval of the Form I-765 for applications for post-completion OPT. Starting February 26, 2021, USCIS will approve applications for post-completion OPT with validity dates reflecting the same amount of time originally recommended by the designated school official (DSO) from their school on the Form I-20, Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status.