USCIS Flexibilities for OPT

On February 26, USCIS’s announcement acknowledged how students have been affected by delayed receipt issuance related to their Form I-765 Application for Employment Authorization (OPT application) and described flexibilities for affected students whose applications were received on or after October 1, 2021 through May 1, 2021. 

If you submitted your application to USCIS, ISS strongly encourages you to read the February 26 announcement so that you are familiar with the flexibilities. ISS has developed some resources to assist students through the process and anyone who needs further assistance is welcome to reach out to ISS staff by email at (with questions or to request an appointment) at any time. For those who have been affected by the delays and are comfortable independently working through the steps outlined by USCIS, you may begin that process at any time.


ISS staff members still have some questions that are unanswered by USCIS’ announcement, as you may too, and we are hoping to receive more information from USCIS.  If USCIS releases more information or staff members learn more from other reputable sources, we will certainly share that with you and update the Frequently Asked Questions.

Frequently Asked Questions

Yes, you can work.  Requesting a replacement EAD does not invalidate your current authorization dates.  Be sure to make a copy of the original EAD issued to you before you send it to USCIS as part of the correction process. 

If you are currently employed, you should let your employer know about your plans to have your EAD reissued to you and provide your employer with the new EAD when it arrives.

If you are not yet employed or plan to start a new job while your EAD is being reissued, definitely discuss this with your employer and explain that you have a copy of your old EAD.  Remember, your authorization to work is not being invalidated by requesting the new EAD; however, your employer needs to be comfortable with the documentation you can present to demonstrate your eligibility to work.

Definitely make a copy of your original EAD before you send it to USCIS.  This card is proof your authorization to work during the specific dates printed on the card.


No, you cannot work beyond the authorization dates printed on your original card while USCIS is processing your replacement.  If you do not have your new, correct EAD by the time your original one expires, you must stop working and wait for the corrected card to arrive.

ISS recommends that you send:

  • a copy of your receipt notice to establish that your OPT application was received during the dates USICS identifies as eligible for a correction request
  • a copy of your I-20, pages 1 and 2, to show the original duration of OPT that you requested

If you cannot provide a copy of your receipt notice, tracking information from the mail service you used would also establish the date on which your application was received.

The mailing address for the Service Center responsible for your application is printed in the lower left corner of your OPT receipt notice.

At this time, USCIS has not indicated any processing timeline for these requests.  You should anticipate that it may take several weeks to receive your new card.  


USCIS has not provided information about plans to communicate with students filing for corrections.  ISS recommends that you send your documentation using a delivery service that provides a tracking number.  This tracking information will confirm that your request has reached USCIS. 


USCIS has not provided information about plans to communicate with students about the issuance of new EADs or how they will be mailed.

You can include your mailing address in the letter that you submit to USCIS requesting the replacement card.  You should also provide the information through USCIS' website here.