USCIS Lockbox Issues: Delays in Receipt Notices and New Address for OPT Applications

January 08, 2021

Update 1/26/21:

ISSO is aware and cares deeply about the hardships caused by these delays. Today, January 26, ACE (American Council Education) sent a letter to USCIS on behalf of 37 associations of higher education requesting immediate action.

Original Article:

Today, January 8, 2021, USCIS provided an update regarding their significant delays in issuing receipt notices for some applications and petitions, with an explanation of the current situation, what they are doing about it, and tips for applicants who are waiting for their receipt notices. Link to the USCIS memo here. Hopefully the process will speed up now because of the additional resources being applied.

The unprecedented and prolonged delay in USCIS receipting of applications is causing anxiety and hardship for OPT and STEM OPT applicants nationwide. The ISSO has reported these delays to NAFSA which is in contact with the USCIS Ombudsman's Office about this distressing issue.

If it has been 30 days since your application was received, you may contact the USCIS Lockbox (see “Inquiries Based On Filing Location”). It may also be possible to ask for Case Assistance through the USCIS Ombudsman. For now, all applicants are advised to keep confirmation of the delivery of their application. OPT/STEM OPT Extension deadlines are linked to the date USCIS receives your application, not the date you receive your Receipt Notice. 

If you receive any letters from USCIS, including the possible notification that your application has been transferred to another lockbox facility, please email a pdf of the letter to ISSO for us to review and advise you accordingly. 

New Address for New Applications

Also, starting today, all new OPT and STEM OPT extension applications must be sent to the USCIS Chicago Lockbox. Prior to January 8, 2021, Form I-765 application for OPT or STEM OPT extension were filed at one of two other USCIS Lockbox facilities depending on the mailing address of the applicant. The ISSO OPT web pages have been updated with the Chicago Lockbox address.