***It is extremely important that you submit a request for OPT in a timely manner. ***
Traditional USCIS processing time has been 90 days or more, but currently processing times are exceeding 110 days. From point of approval, USCIS says it can take 30 days beyond to receive your EAD card; however, most cards arrive within 7-10 days after approval. In total, it is likely for your OPT application to take 90-120 days.
You may establish an account with USCIS (USCIS Account). This account allows you to track your case and in particular, track the EAD once USCIS has printed and mailed it to you. You cannot submit the application through the USCIS account.
Additionally, you may check the status of your case without creating an USCIS account (Case Status) and submit a Case Inquiry if your case has been pending for more than 5 months: Case Inquiry
For applications pending 90 days or longer from Received Date
The Bechtel International Center may no longer request an expedite on your behalf.
You may contact the USCIS National Customer Service number 1-800-375-5283 (Monday to Friday 8am-6pm) to request an expedite of your pending OPT if you have a valid expedite reason.
In order to request an expedite the student must meet one of the following criteria:
*Severe financial loss to company or individual
*U.S. Department of Defense or national interest situation (Note: Request must come from an official U.S. Government entity and state that delay will be detrimental to our Government)
Requesting expedite due to financial loss to the individual
It will be very difficult to request an expedite based on financial hardship. USCIS has stated that OPT is to gain practical experience in your field of study and not to earn money for living expenses or to fund your studies. Additionally, USCIS has provided this guidance: “F-1 students are required to establish that they have the financial ability to pay for their course of study and living expenses for the entire period of study as indicated on their I-20, thus they cannot claim financial hardship due to the very nature of their nonimmigrant status and maintenance thereof. In addition, an employment offer or start date does not qualify under USCIS's severe financial loss expedite criteria.”
After you file an expedite....
USCIS will email you the results of your expedite request. If the expedite is approved, it is normally processed within 3-7 days of the request, and the Employment Authorization Document (EAD) arrives within normal mailing time. You may not work until the EAD arrives. If the expedite is denied, your application will be returned to the queue where it was before.