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USCIS Clarifies Delays At Lockboxes In Issuing Receipt Notices For I-765 Employment Authorization For OPT

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) notified

stakeholders that the agency continues to experience delays at

certain lockboxes in issuing receipt notices for Form I-765,

Application for Employment Authorization, based on eligibility

categories relating to optional practical training (OPT) for F-1

students. USCIS currently recommends that such applicants wait

eight weeks before contacting the agency to ask about case


USCIS provided clarifications and reminders:

  • The delays will not affect the received date. All submissionsare date-stamped upon arrival at the lockbox, so regardless of when

    the lockbox processes the application, the received date will

    reflect the date it actually arrived at the lockbox.

  • USCIS will not reject applications solely because they werefiled at the lockbox address in use before the change to the filing

    address instructions announced on January 8, 2021. The agency

    encourages applicants filing Form I-765 to always check the form

    instructions on USCIS’s website for the most up-to-date filing


  • If an applicant timely filed Form I-765 based on STEM [science,technology, engineering, and mathematics] OPT, and the

    post-completion OPT period expires while the application is

    pending, USCIS will automatically extend the employment

    authorization for 180 days. The Form I-20 endorsed by the

    designated school official recommending a STEM extension together

    with the expired Form I-766 employment authorization document

    issued for post-completion OPT establishes identity and work

    authorization for purposes of documenting employment



  • “Direct Filing Addresses for Form I-765, Application forEmployment Authorization,” Feb. 19, 2021,


  • USCIS Lockbox Updates (the notice above had not yet been postedon USCIS’s website as of February 21, 2021),


The content of this article is intended to provide a general

guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought

about your specific circumstances.

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