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Frequently Asked Questions

Who is eligible to file Form I-765 Online with USCIS?

The CIS Ombudsman would like to remind customers that the option to file Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization online is only available to F-1 nonimmigrants who fall into one of the following categories:

  • (c)(3)(A) – Pre-completion OPT;
  • (c)(3)(B) – Post-completion OPT; and
  • (c)(3)(C) – 24-month extension for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) students

If the applicant’s actual basis for employment authorization does not fall within one of the above-referenced categories, regardless of what is checked, USCIS has stated that, if filed on or after April 15, 2021, it will deny the application and the fee will not be refunded.

Suggestions if I filed a Form I-765 for Optional Practical Training (OPT)?

  • USCIS has extended certain flexibilities for foreign students (F-1 nonimmigrants) affected by delayed Form I-765 receipt notices. These flexibilities apply only to applications received by USCIS on or after Oct. 1, 2020, through May 1, 2021.
  • Please refer to the USCIS website for additional information related to OPT for F-1 students and instructions to file Form I-765.

How can the CIS Ombudsman help if I need an appointment with the Application Support Center (ASC)?

  • If your ASC appointment was scheduled and then canceled due to COVID-19, and was not rescheduled within 45 days, you may file a request for case assistance with the CIS Ombudsman.
  • If your ASC appointment was scheduled for a location other than the one closest to the address on file with USCIS at the time the appointment was set, and you are unable to travel to the designated location, and you have already asked USCIS to reschedule your appointment (but no action has been taken within 45 days from the request), you may file a request for case assistance with the CIS Ombudsman.
  • USCIS has indicated it will not expedite ASC appointments, except in extremely rare circumstances.

Can the CIS Ombudsman help me if my application for Employment Authorization Documents (EADs) is pending beyond USCIS' posted processing times?

  • If your Form I-539 application (not the associated Form I-765 application) is pending beyond USCIS’ posted processing times, you may submit a request for case assistance to the CIS Ombudsman.
  • If your Form I-765 is based on a Form I-539 (even if it was not filed at the same time), you must first look at the Form I-539 case inquiry date to determine if that application is outside of the posted processing times. Your Form I-765 will not be adjudicated before your Form I-539 (regardless of the processing times for Form I-765). The CIS Ombudsman has asked USCIS to look into the significant processing times discrepancy for Form I-539s pending at the California Service Center. The CIS Ombudsman understands that these delays cause many difficulties for applicants, not only regarding their work authorization, but also with driver’s licenses, health insurance, and the ability to travel. We are continuing to work with USCIS on solutions to mitigate these problems.
  • If your Form I-821D (not the associated Form I-765 application) is pending beyond USCIS’ posted processing times, you may submit a request for case assistance to the CIS Ombudsman. (The Form I-765 cannot be adjudicated prior to the Form I-821D.)
  • USCIS policy currently excludes applicants for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals from requesting expedited processing. However, if your Form I-821D is outside of the posted processing times, the CIS Ombudsman will inquire with USCIS about the status of your pending application.
Last Published Date: May 10, 2021

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