Got an RFE from USCIS for OPT, requesting evidence of legal stay in USA?

We have noticed an increasing number of RFEs being issued in Optional Practical Training (OPT) extension cases. The RFEs typically request additional documentation to establish that the applicant maintained lawful and valid F-1 nonimmigrant status by engaging in a full course of study and by physically attending classes.

We tend to see these RFEs issued when the applicant participated in Curricular Practical Training (CPT) and the CPT employer’s address is far from the applicant’s school address because USCIS is trying to determine whether the applicant attended live courses and whether the applicant actually worked during CPT. Not attending live courses and not working during CPT can be considered violations of status and can render an applicant ineligible for OPT.

The RFEs are typically asking for the following information:

Evidence that the applicant attended classes and maintained valid F-1 non-immigrant status: Such evidence can include school transcripts, proof of tuition payments, receipts for books and school supplies, parking passes, copies of the student ID, class schedules, and Course Syllabi. If the applicant attended live courses and participated in CPT online, but the CPT employer’s address is far from the school, it is the burden of the applicant to establish that he or she attended live courses.

If you did not continually reside within normal commuting distance from your school, you can submit evidence of travel from your residence to school, including plane ticket receipts, train or bus passes and interstate gas receipts. Online courses can be considered as a violation of your student visa. Only one online course per semester is permitted by law.

Evidence of the applicant’s employment during CPT: Such evidence can include a letter from your previous CPT employer, evidence of how the CPT was related to your degree, evidence of your work progress or a training progress report, copies of your W-2s and individual tax returns and a notarized statement that you attended the classes while on CPT.

Evidence of the applicant’s employment during Curricular Practical Training (CPT) if it was an unpaid engagement: Such evidence can include an employment agreement or training certificates.

Evidence of the applicant’s employment during Curricular Practical Training (CPT) if the applicant worked at a third party site: Such evidence can include documentation of projects completed or time sheets.

We strongly recommend that you contact a competent lawyer before you respond to the RFE.

 

Reddy & Neumann, P.C. is an immigration law firm in Houston, Texas. For over 15 years, our firm has successfully represented corporate clients across the United States in their efforts to bring foreign workers and business professionals to the United States. Reddy & Neumann, P.C. is highly experienced in working with employment-based visas, adjustment of status, green cards, and PERM labor certification. From filing, through approval, and on to appeal, we do everything possible to ensure that your company can bring the best and brightest in the world to the United States.