RFE on OPT Extension – Letter from USCIS

Looks like there is increase in RFE on OPT Extension from USCIS. Recently,  few HSB readers reach out to me for help regarding RFE on 17 months STEM OPT Extension. Plus another reader’s 17 Month’s OPT Extension was denied.

OPT stands for Optional Practical Training.  OPT provides International students with Employment Authorization. Typically students apply for OPT right before graduation.  You can start working, even if you have a job offer only after you get the OPT Card from USCIS.  It takes about 2 months to get EAD/OPT Card after application.

You can get additional information about OPT, CPT and On-campus Employment Guide from the following links.

Initial OPT is given for 12 months and optional 17 months OPT Extension is available for certain STEM degree graduates. Following RFE was issues by USCIS to a student when applying for 17 months STEM OPT Extension.

RFE on OPT Extension Letter

Here is the actual letter from USCIS  :  RFE on 17 Months STEM OPT Extension below.

 

OPT RFE Page1

Page 1 – RFE on STEM OPT Extension

opt rfe page 2

Page 2 – RFE on OPT Extension

There are couple of important items that you have to pay attention in the RFE OPT Extension letter.

Deadline  and Employment History.

Deadline to respond to RFE : October 17, 2013 (for this RFE)

Employment History (Highlighted in Page 2)

  • A Complete Job History from OPT Start Date to Present
  • Include letter from each employer attesting to each period of employment and the number of hours per week you worked, along with copies of your earnings statements and W-2’s.
  • Please include paid and unpaid work
  • Include your position title, position description and detail how it relates to your degree program.

It will be a challenge to respond to RFE when you have more than 90 days of unemployment or don’t have ability to provide the requested letters.

Do you have any questions about RFE on STEM OPT Extension?

I will be talking to an Immigration Attorney about this RFE. I can ask some of your questions during the interview.

PS :  Person who got this RFE received OPT Extension approval after consulting attorney who I will be interviewing tomorrow.

Your Comments

  • Have you  or your friends received RFE on OPT or STEM OPT Extension?
  • How did you reply to the RFE?
  • How long did it take to get approval or denial notice.

35 Comments

  1. Nani on March 6, 2017 at 1:13 PM

    Hi ,

    I also have an rfe on my employment history. I have sent all the offer letters,paystubs , W2 and letters from my employers stating the position,responsibilities and start n end dates. I have sent them on feb 27 and the status updated on Mar3 2017 as response received. Is that documents enough for complete employment history. How many days it will take to get response for my case. Please let me know..

    Thanks

    • kittu on July 31, 2017 at 11:15 AM

      Did you get approval from USCIS?

    • vishal on October 11, 2017 at 4:36 PM

      Hi Nani,

      In how many days you got the response and what was final response.

      Thanks
      Vishal

  2. romit on January 10, 2017 at 3:17 PM

    Hi,
    i got RFE on dec 3o,2016 for OPT STEM extension for 24 months.they asked me to provide photos,passport copy,visa copy and i-94.They receive my document 9th jan,2017 morning 11am.After sometime i checked my status online and its shows again requested for initial evidance mailed on 9th jan,2017.How its possible they review my case too fast??And i sent all required documents which was they asked,So why again RFE.??Can any one have idea on this??

    • Nani on March 6, 2017 at 12:29 PM

      Hi ,

      I also have an rfe on my employment history. I have sent all the offer letters,paystubs , W2 and letters from my employers stating the position,responsibilities and start n end dates. I have sent them on feb 27 and the status updated on Mar3 2017 as response received. Is that documents enough for complete employment history. How many days it will take to get response for my case. Please let me know..

      Thanks

  3. Akhil on August 26, 2016 at 3:10 PM

    Hi Raghu,

    This is Akhil , iam in a strange situation i got RFE for STEM OPT REQUEST due to some issues i have mailed reply to my RFE and posted it to POTOMAC delivered on August 11th , Deadline to reply was August 13th. Today August 26th my status got updated as “On August 15th, received your application for RFE….. POTOMAC will start working on this case” as OPT STATUS.

    I see the date as August 15th but it was delivered on August 11th i have the tracking details with me.

    Because if it’s August 15th the day they received my Docs as per their record i might get a denial on my STEM REQUEST as it crossed my deadline of August 13th.

    The date in Status relates to the “the day USCIS OR POTOMAC received my Documents”
    (or) “The day POTOMAC updated my status”.

    Please help me if you can clarify this doubt.

  4. Raju on June 20, 2016 at 11:48 PM

    OPT Extension RFE but H1B approved.

    I applied for OPT Extension in March 2016 and and H1B (Premium)April 2016. My OPT ended on May 2016. But by the time it ended I got the H1B picked (Thus status changed to Cap-gap) and later H1B was approved. But i got RFE for OPT Extension.

    Questions:
    1. What should I do with this RFE? When I contacted my International advisor , they told me to reply for that RFE and face it so that there will be no problems in future (Dont know what could be the problems).
    2. My employer is not willing to encourage OPT Extension.
    3. Can I withdraw my OPT extension application, if so, what could be the consequences??
    4. What will happen if I don’t respond to RFE??

    Any information about this is highly appreciated.

    Thanks!

    • venkata abbanaboina on August 2, 2016 at 4:31 AM

      Hi Raju I have the same issue .If you hear back anything can you please let me know.

  5. zubairuddin mohammed on January 5, 2016 at 8:58 AM

    I got an RFE same questions were asked but one thing bothers me I got a letter from my employer I am really not sure what needs to be written how it is relate to my job so kind of confuse even my I have MS Computer Science does any one has a sample how did they rreply to this question.

    • Raghuram Sukumar on January 5, 2016 at 10:12 AM

      Hey, please consult Attorney Murali for OPT RFE questions. You can ask an Immitorney via Ask an Attorney – https://www.happyschools.com/ask-an-attorney/

      Submit an email request with the copy of your OPT Letter. He can advice if you can respond or you have to hire him to respond. I strong advice you to work with an attorney.

  6. Mahesh on December 29, 2015 at 2:07 PM

    Hi Raghuram,

    I have recently got an RFE on OPT Stem Extension asking me to provide the following Details on my Employment History:

    Please provide your complete employment history(including Start and end dates) and proof of employment for your initial grant of OPT.Evidence of employment may include but not limited to:
    –> Letter(s) from employer(s) establishing job title(s),duties,location,pay rate and number of hours per week
    –>Employment history from Jan 15 2015 through July 6 2015.

    At the moment,I can provide the pay stubs from from Jan 15 2015 to April 15 2015 (No Payrolls after April 2015) and my Employment offer Letter.”

    I reported XX as an Employer to my college but the payrolls were run from a different company named YY (XX and YY are sister Companies and I am not aware of that), Now my employer X X is not willing to provide a letter stating that both XX and YY are sister companies

    Can I proceed saying that I have worked as an unpaid Intern for XX company from Jan 15 2015 to July 2015?(Also there are no Payrolls after April 2015 and Payrolls that were generated also belongs to a different company YY) Please advise?

    • Raghuram Sukumar on December 29, 2015 at 4:32 PM

      Thanks for asking. I’m, not an expert on Immigration to answer your questions 🙂 Plus when your legal stay/status in USA could be affected, always seek legal help. Ask an Attorney – https://www.happyschools.com/ask-an-attorney/

  7. JC on November 5, 2015 at 2:56 PM

    I got notified that should receive an RFE. I am doing some research to check what kind of information they looking for. I see that for OPT STEM extension is mostly the employment history. I believe that is going to be the same for me.

    Now, during my normal OPT time, I was a volunteer for two companies first before starting to work in the last company where I am currently at. Because I was a volunteer, doing research and looking for approaches to optimize their current business operations, I didn’t get to sign an I-9 nor will get a W-2 (according to the USCIS website, an employer is not obligated to have an I-9 if it is a volunteer). Unfortunately, one of the companies that I volunteered decided to close. I still have contact the owner’s contact information, but I don’t know if he is going to be able to give me the letter. I do have the first employment letter when I started, stating that I am a volunteer and described the work that I would perform.

    In case that the USCIS ask for the employment history, can I submit the first employment verification letter? Should I ask for new one? What happens if the company is not in business anymore?

    • Raghuram Sukumar on November 5, 2015 at 3:01 PM

      Just work with an Attorney for RFE on OPT. Talk to Murali via Ask an Attorney. It’s not worth the risk if its about employment.

    • Sai Raghava Kashyapa Harshavardhan Paturi on August 22, 2017 at 11:28 PM

      I have the same issue. How did you send the documents? Please guide me as well. Thanks

  8. RAM on October 31, 2015 at 6:45 PM

    If the address of employer is missing some part of address on I-20 for STEM extension can i get RFE for that ?

    • Raghuram Sukumar on November 2, 2015 at 3:21 PM

      Hard to tell. You need to consult an attorney or ask DSO to issue new I-20 (just in case).

  9. [email protected] on June 12, 2015 at 11:10 AM

    As a PDSO and an Indian, my experience is that when the DHS sees an employer that is also Indian (Or Chinese for Chinese students) and the company/firm is relatively new and has not sponsored anyone of any other nationality and the employees of the firm are all of the same ethnicity as the student, then they request RFE’s and provide a deadline by which to complete. Some RFE’s require the student provide receipts for books, utility bills, rental leases etc., to show that the student was actually physically present through the entirety of their education at the campus that issued the I-20 and where the student graduated. In a recent case, the student was also asked to provide a transcript and indicate all on-line courses the student did while getting his degree.

    I think, when this happens, the chances of visa approval are miniscule.

    • Raghuram Sukumar on June 13, 2015 at 9:40 AM

      Hello Zahir, Thanks for sharing your experience here. I remember seeing a post in NAFSA community from your about RFE for an OPT or H1B extension.
      Students should be wary of Major Area of study and related job. RFE cam come back to haunt them.

  10. chinni on August 10, 2014 at 5:24 PM

    Hi,

    I have a question regarding travelling to abroad in the opt period. I lost my opt card and applied for the new one and I got some emergency work to go to my home town. Is it recommended to go out of country in this situation. If not suggest me something for this situation.

    • Raghuram Sukumar on August 11, 2014 at 10:48 AM

      You need to ask this ti an immigration attorney. Don’t trust the answers in the blog/forums for your situation.

  11. PB on January 21, 2014 at 11:33 AM

    Hello All,

    I have a question can you please take some time and answer this. My companies name was XYZ Crew and Rental tools,LLC and recently it changed to XYZ International. Now in my I-765 application I wrote it as XYZ Casing Crew and Rental Tools,LLC. Now my question is will it be a problem for me if I dont let USCIS know that my companies name got changed recently. I spoke to HR in my company that if they have changed the name to XYZ International or not in E verify, and my HR said he did not change as my opt decision is pending. Now I was planning to send USCIS all the pay stubs, offer letter, time sheets.

    Will it be wise to send USCIS a letter from the company that it changed it name recently. I have all the pay checks but some checks with names XYZ casing crew and rental tools,LLC and other with names XYZ International.

  12. PB on January 20, 2014 at 1:53 PM

    Hello ALL,

    Can you please provide me information in my case. I applied for STEM opt on oct 31st i.e USCIS received my application on oct 31st 2013 and on jan 17th 2014 I got RFE ( request for Initial evidence ). What is intial evidence and how risky it is.

    Thanks,
    Pavan

  13. auro on December 28, 2013 at 1:44 AM

    Hi,
    I had applied for OPT extension on Nov 5, 2013. Today, my online case status was updated to RFE (Initial Evidence). I looked at the photocopy of all documents in my application packet and I cannot see any reason as to why I might be issued an RFE for initial evidence. Do any of you know of reasons as to why RFEs for initial evidence are issued ? Are bad photos a reason ?

    Awaiting your responses.

    Thanks,
    Auro

    PS: I have not yet received the RFE by mail but I am just worried.

    • PB on January 20, 2014 at 1:52 PM

      Hi,

      I got RFE for Intial evidence. I remember I have sent every thing. I am waiting for the letter from usscis. But can any one tell me how risky is RFE for initial evidence

  14. tejas on October 28, 2013 at 2:03 PM

    I got the same employment history rfe. I have responded it back on
    Oct 7,2013.My current status shows Request for Evidence response review.Its been 3 weeks now.When can i expect a decision?.
    I have applied to Nebraska Service Center.

  15. mike on September 26, 2013 at 9:54 PM

    Had a slightly different rfe experience.

    First they asked for a letter from employer regarding details of current position and company details.

    Next a month later they sent a notice that the e-verify number was not matching for the company which I working at.

    Turned out to be the fault of my employer, they had given the incorrect number. Sent the correct number again along with proof this time. Waiting for a reply eagerly….

    • mike on October 9, 2013 at 3:40 PM

      Update: got my EAD confirmation.

      • Nag on March 24, 2018 at 1:46 AM

        Hi same thing happened to me i sent e-verify number 4 days ago how long it takes to get my OPT card. Thanks!

        • Murali on April 9, 2018 at 6:26 PM

          Hello Nag,

          I do have the same issue Please send me an Email your suggestion will be greatful for me.

  16. Sowmya on September 26, 2013 at 3:51 PM

    Hi,

    Even I got RFE on May 27th for my OPT stem extension on My employment history.
    Employment History a)Copies of Job offers/ Contract agreements.
    b) Copies of pay vochers during my OPT period.

    I Submitted all my Job offer letters i.e., I changed an employer so submitted 2 offer letters.
    I submitted all my pay stubs from start of my OPT to current.

    I got approved for my OPT ext within a week.

    • tejas on October 28, 2013 at 2:01 PM

      Hi sowmya,
      I got the similar rfe.I responded it back on Oct 7,2013..Still the status shows Request for Evidence Response Review..When can i expect a decision of approval or denial?

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