USCIS has been found to respond to Covid 19 situation in an effective way. The field offices and asylum offices of USCIS have been resumed face-to-face services. The decision to continue such services has been taken by considering the requirement of ordinary people. However, USCIS has to enacted precautions to prevent the spread of Covid 19.
In this regard, it is essential to remember that Covid 19 has caused several international students’ difficulties. Their educational process has been poorly affected due to Covid 19 and its associated travelling boundaries and the lockdown situation.
Several international students face visa-related issues, and USCIC is found paying adequate attention to their problems and is trying to make the education and career development path of international students smoother by providing some flexibilities. In the following section of the paper, a discussion regarding the flexibilities that USCIC is offering to certain applicants who are filling the form for F-1 visa students will be highlighted.
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The flexibilities that USCIC is providing for the applicants of F-1 visa students
It is certainly the happiest matter to those applying for F-1 visa students and who have applied for Employment Authorization that USCIC is extending some flexibilities by considering their requirements in the current situation. However, the flexibilities are not applied to every applicant. The applicants are required to meet some criteria to get the flexibilities. This rule (these flexibilities) is only applicable to those whose applicants are being received within October 1, 2020 – May 1, 2021.
As per the report, several people who hold F-1 visas have not obtained receipt notices in early February. In some cases, they have waited for more than two months. However, any receipt has not been received by them.
USCIC states that F-1 visa holders are allowed to stay 60 days in the country if they do not join any optional professional training. Otherwise, transiting to another visa would be required. This 60-days-related flexibility is considerable, especially in such a pandemic situation where traveling-related decisions are just getting ruined by implementing new boundaries that the governments are applying by considering the position of the infection and people’s safety.
Now, confusion can occur among those students who have submitted an application for OPT but have not obtained any decision from USCIC. There is good news for them too. They are now allowed to remain in the country until they are getting a decision from USCIC. In any case, the application is not processed within the 60 day grace period. They are allowed to live in the country until the application gets processed, and they acquire information regarding it.
By considering the viewpoint of USCIC, it has been possible to understand that the delay in processing the applications related to OPT is occurring due to the Covid 19-related instability and new boundaries that are being applied. Due to the situation, many people are filling out for certain benefits, and postal service-related issues are also being faced. This is why they are not getting the chance to process the OPT-related application on time, and it can cause people to face some issues in getting the receipt on time. By considering this kind of issue of people, USCIC is providing them with such facilities.
It is essential to discuss the categories for OPT applications that would benefit from the announcement made on Friday.
Categories of OPT applications that can take the benefits of USCIC-related flexibilities
First of all, it can be stated that F-1 students who have not been able to use their 12-month OPT are categorized to take advantage of the USCIC’s announced flexibilities. It is a fact that there is an obligation that OPTS should be completed within 14 months after graduation. However, as lockbox delays are occurring and students are not getting any information regarding the decision of USCIC, they will now be allowed to complete the full period.
Some students got their Form 1-765 rejected. Many of them may intend to resubmit a form and have been unable due to lockbox-related issues. Now, they are providing with the chance to re-file the form. It is a matter of relief to them. If USCIC did not announce such flexibilities, they would be put into great dilemmas, and it would ultimately affect the career development path.
As the facilities are mainly applicable to students interested in optional professional training, there is a need to discuss it. It is going to be illustrated in the following section.
A brief discussion regarding Optional Professional Training
Optional professional training can be regarded as temporary employment. It has a direct relationship with the significant area of study of F-1 students. There are mainly two types of OPT that students can apply for. The first one is the pre-completion OTP. After a student gets lawfully enrolled for one full academic year and on a full-time basis, they can apply for this kind of professional training.
In this regard, it is essential to remember that these students have to be enrolled in any college, university, seminary, or conservatory certified by the immigration and Custom enforcement student and Exchange visitor program of the United States.
On the other hand, students can consider being involved in an operational training program after completing their studies. In this regard, it is essential to remember that students who are authorized for post-completion OPT can consider working on a part-time basis. By considering all of these facts, it can be stated that OPT plays a significant role in students’ career development path.
In this regard, getting flexibilities related to F-1 visas and OPT was required by international students. Otherwise, they would be involved in such a dilemma overcoming which would be difficult for them. From this perspective, it can be stated that USCIC has taken effective decisions, and these flexibilities are expected to make the career development path of internationals students smoother and effective.