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rachel175

Expediting OPT: My 47 day timeline

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Apologies for starting a new thread on a widely discussed topic, I just felt given my own frustration during the process it might be helpful if I shared my success story in getting the OPT expedited, having learned a few lessons along the way.

I was offered a job starting on May 4th, but I had only submitted my OPT application March 27th as I wasn't expecting to find something so soon. I ultimately ended up managing to get the EAD card in a total of 47 days, which could potentially have been less if I'd started to panic and take action earlier.

Below is the process I went through:

March 27th - Mailed application

March 29th - Application received by USCIS
April 10th - Received job offer, placed initial expedite request by phone
April 14th - Email received from USCIS:
"Upon receipt of your request for expeditious handling, your case was reviewed and a determination was made that we need additional information to make a decision regarding your request. Please submit proof of your financial hardship or other reason for expeditious handling via email to tscsrmtdoc@uscis.dhs.gov. Please note that the employment offer letter alone is not sufficient. The letter MUST indicate that the offer will be rescinded after a specific date. This information must be received within 2 days of the date of this notice. A decision in regards to expediting your request cannot be made until this documentation is received."
April 16th - Supporting information for expedite sent. In my case I submitted a letter from my employer stating they needed me by no later than mid May and didn't want to have to consider backup applicants, etc, and evidence of my "financial hardship" in the form of the past three months bank statements showing no income.
April 21st - Email confirmation of receipt of additional documents and:
"We have received the information and/or documents you submitted and found that they meet the requirements for expedited processing of your I-765. You should receive a decision or notice of further action on your I-765 within 45 days of the date of this letter." (Note at this point I needed to start within 2 weeks, so 45 days still wasn't sufficient..)
April 22nd - Contacted local congresswoman's office explaining situation, they requested privacy/authorization form, copy of F1, passport and notice of action (ie USCIS receipt)
April 23rd - Congresswoman's office contacts USCIS with request for expedite
April 28th - Congresswoman's office sends 2nd follow-up email after no response being received
April 29th - Congresswoman's office receives following response:
"I checked on this application and the file is currently in transit to an adjudicator for review. Once the review is completed, a decision or other Notice of Action will be sent to the individual. I will notify the urgency to the adjudicator in this case." Then..
"The request to expedite form I-765 is approved. The case has been requested, once receive, the Officer will adjudicate the I-765 ASAP."
May 7th - Status update from USCIS: application approved, "your EAD will be mailed.."
May 12th - Card mailed

I highly recommend trying the local congressional office route if you are in a dire situation. I'm sure they don't want to be inundated with expedite requests, but in an emergency, I think that was the step that really made the difference. I had to start a week later than I hoped, but ultimately it worked out well given that I could have been waiting until July.

Good luck, and please feel free to ask any questions.

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