News & Articles

Significant Delays by USCIS in Processing and Issuance of Post-Completion OPT EADs for International Students

Published on 6/18/2019

Hundreds of international students are unable to begin their post-graduate Optional Practical Training (OPT) employment due to USCIS delays in processing their applications for work authorization.  The post-completion OPT program allows international students attending a U.S. school to receive one year of work authorization after completion of their course of study, in a position directly related to their field of study. Students can apply for an OPT Employment Authorization Document (EAD) by filing a Form I-765 Application for Employment Authorization up to 90 days before their degree completion date, and are eligible to start working for a U.S. employer after receipt of their EAD.

In previous years, the processing time for OPT EADs was 60-90 days, however, USCIS is currently projecting a processing time of up to 5 months or longer. In a statement to the New York Times, the agency said that a “surge in employment authorization requests” has created a “small backlog” and that it had “implemented a plan to address this and return to standard processing times soon.”

If you have any questions regarding work authorization for foreign students, please contact any member of Ryan Swanson’s Immigration Group.


Marsha Mavunkel can be reached at [email protected].
Amy Royalty can be reached at [email protected].
Cody Nunn can be reached at [email protected].
Jen Chen can be reached at [email protected].
Joel Paget can be reached at [email protected].
Janet Cheetham can be reached at [email protected].

This message has been released by the Immigration Group at Ryan, Swanson & Cleveland, PLLC to advise of recent developments in the law. Because each situation is different, this information is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended to provide legal advice on any specific facts and circumstances. Ryan, Swanson & Cleveland, PLLC is a full-service law firm located in Seattle, Washington.

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