OPT Application Problems and Troubleshooting.

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NOTE: The steps outlined in this post are an outcome of research on other websites such as USCIS.GOV and other immigration discussion sites. Some of the methods of contacting USCIS mentioned in this post are available on the USCIS.GOV.  These steps may not be in the correct order or may not be appropriate for your case. Please use your best judgement depending on your case. Please use the comments section to ask questions. Good Luck!

OPT Application Problems?

This has become a trend with USCIS and Applicants where, the application receipt is not received by the applicant within 10 days, the check is cashed by USCIS, or their application is pending for more than 90 days. What can be done? I have been trying to research on it and it all comes to basics.

Be Aggressive, don’t wait till the last minute, do it now, do it all.
Aggressive approach to obtain information starts with keeping documentation from confirmation receipts from USPS or UPS or FedEx, Bank Account Transaction of the check that was cashed by USCIS or the emails you wrote to USCIS or your international advisor.

Be prepared to re-apply. Keep the $350 or odd dollars ready.
If everything fails, do it again, just in time. Do not wait too long. This time make sure you keep a paper or electronic trail.

Be cool, be Open, Don’t get discouraged by the organizations or institutions. Life is hard in any country, it sucks, but it’s the way it is, you need to come out a winner.

Okay now, coming to actual steps you could take,

1. Email your advisor, and make him call USCIS and open a case.

If you advisor has good contacts with USCIS and is a friendly advisor who is ready to help take his/hers full advantage. Sit in his/her office till he can help you. They may already have experienced this problem with another student.

2. Email the USCIS Service centers. Remember; make a ‘copy’ of all the copies of

  • US Postal Service/UPS/FedEx Confirmation Receipt
  • Bank Transaction of your Check, if your check was cleared.
  • Your OPT application (Extension or new)
  • Any other information, such as email copies of communication between you and USCIS, Your International Advisor.

** Always CC (Carbon Copy) your International Advisor and yourself, when emailing any communication between USCIS and you.

USCIS Service Centers ( Text extracted from USCIS.GOV )

If you contacted the National Customer Service Center with a case-related inquiry and more than 30 days have passed and you have not received a response, you may email the appropriate USCIS Service Center with your inquiry:

California Service Center: csc-ncsc-followup@dhs.gov

Vermont Service Center: vsc.ncscfollowup@dhs.gov

Nebraska Service Center: ncscfollowup.nsc@dhs.gov

Texas Service Center: tsc.ncscfollowup@dhs.gov

If you do not receive a response within 21 days of contacting the Service Center, you may contact the USCIS Headquarters Office of Service Center Operations by email at SCOPSSCATA@dhs.gov.

3. Call the NCSC, see if they can help. ( Text extracted from USCIS.GOV )

Call the National Customer Service Center (NCSC) at 1-800-375-5283 if:

You believe you have submitted your application but: You did not receive a Confirmation Receipt Number Your case remains in the “Action Needed Status” on the My Forms screen, or You were charged for the fee (and have checked with your Credit Card merchant or banking institution to confirm) but have not received your Form I-797, Notice of Action, by mail within 10 days of filing your application.

4. Finally, bite the bullet and re-apply.

You have tried everything and no solution yet? Don’t give up! Not yet! Take a day’s break relax and go to your advisor and tell I want to re-apply. This time, make sure you do the following correctly

  • Make sure your application is correctly filled out
  • Take tracking/confirmation upon receipt from the shipping service.
  • Keep an eye on the tracking. You should see a ‘delivered’ status from the shipping service. Print this out for your records.
  • You should receive a receipt within 10 days from the date your application was received. If you don’t see it then make the necessary calls (Steps 1 through 3).

Lastly, remember that you have right to information. You can write a detailed message about your application and send it to the address below asking about the information on your case.

Freedom of Information

USCIS Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and Privacy Act (PA) Contact:

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
National Records Center, FOIA/PA Office
P. O. Box 648010
Lee’s Summit, MO 64064-8010
Fax: 816-350-5785

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