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Working with U.S. Government Agencies

Throughout your time in the U.S. you will interact with government agencies for a variety of reasons. Our office is here to help you navigate these complex systems. In general, we do not recommend that you contact U.S. government agencies directly. Most of the time, if the U.S. government needs something from you or has questions, they will contact you directly via mail. There are limited situations where you may have to contact a U.S. government agency to reply to a request for information or make an inquiry on a pending case. The below resources are meant to guide you in that communication. If you have any questions, please contact iss@scu.edu or visit during drop-in hours.

USCIS 

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) is the government agency responsible for reviewing applications related to U.S. immigration while inside the U.S. Most commonly, students interact with USCIS when applying for OPT, STEM OPT Extension or Change of Status applications.

You can look at the current status of your case and sign up for email alerts here: https://egov.uscis.gov/casestatus/landing.do

You will need the receipt number for your application for this process. 

You can look at the current normal processing times here: https://egov.uscis.gov/processing-times/ 

  • For OPT and STEM OPT extensions: under "Form" select I-765; under "Field Office or Service Center" select Potomac Service Center
  • For Change of Status Applications: under "Form" select I-539; under "Field Office or Service Center" select the Service Center where your application is pending.

It’s very common for students to get anxious while they have applications pending with USCIS. It’s important to remember that processing times vary throughout the year and no case is exactly alike.

If you think your application has been pending for too long, here are the steps you should take:

  1. Check the current processing time of your application.
    1. You can look at the current normal processing times here: https://egov.uscis.gov/processing-times/ (under "Form" select I-765; under "Field Office or Service Center" select Potomac Service Center).
    2. If your application is within the normal process range listed, you should not contact USCIS as this will only delay your application. 
  2. If your application is outside of the normal processing range listed, you can submit an inquiry to USCIS.
  3. Follow the prompts to submit an e-Request To USCIS here: https://egov.uscis.gov/e-request/Intro.do
  4. Once you submit your request, you should get an email confirmation within 48 hours. It can then take several weeks to hear back from USCIS on your request.

If you have questions or are not sure how to submit the request, contact iss@scu.edu or visit our office during drop-in advising hours.

It is common for USCIS receipt notices to take several weeks, occasionally up to a month to be delivered.

If you have not gotten your receipt notice within a month of your application delivery to USCIS, we recommend that you contact our office so that we can confirm that your application is pending.

You are not required to have a receipt notice, but if you would like to request a replacement receipt notice, you can submit the request here: https://egov.uscis.gov/e-request/Intro.do. Once you submit your request, you should get an email confirmation within 48 hours. It can then take several weeks to hear back from USCIS on your request. If you have questions or are not sure how to submit the request, contact iss@scu.edu or visit our office during drop-in advising hours.

 

Name Cut-Off: The most common typo on a receipt notice is for a name to be cut-off. If your given name(s) are more than 18 total characters, your name will be cut-off on your receipt notice and your EAD card. Once your receipt is issued you can either leave your name cut-off (which is how the name will print on your EAD card) or request that your second / third names be moved to the middle name field (and therefore show up as an initial on the EAD card). If you wish to have your names moved to the middle name field, you can submit the request here: https://egov.uscis.gov/e-request/Intro.do. Once you submit your request, you should get an email confirmation within 48 hours. It can then take several weeks to hear back from USCIS on your request. If you have questions or are not sure how to submit the request, contact iss@scu.edu or visit our office during drop-in advising hours.


All Other Typos: If you notice a typo on your receipt notice card, you should submit an e-Request to USCIS as soon as possible. You can submit the request here: https://egov.uscis.gov/e-request/Intro.do. Once you submit your request, you should get an email confirmation within 48 hours. It can then take several weeks to hear back from USCIS on your request. If you have questions or are not sure how to submit the request, contact iss@scu.edu or visit our office during drop-in advising hours.

If you notice a typo on your EAD card, please contact iss@scu.edu with a copy of the EAD card as soon as possible after it arrives. Do not take any action to correct the typo until you’ve heard from SCU ISS. The typo will be reviewed by our team and we will get back to you to schedule a time to discuss the issue with an advisor.

For more information on how to track the delivery of your EAD Card visit the USCIS website

If your USPS tracking information shows your package was delivered but you have not received it, contact your local post office immediately

We VERY STRONGLY discourage students from moving while they have any pending application with USCIS because the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) will not forward official immigration documents and will not deliver to any address where you are not officially registered to receive mail. For this reason, if you change addresses while your application is pending, the likelihood of your approval or EAD card going missing is extremely high. If possible, you should maintain your current residence until your card arrives.

If this is not possible you must immediately:

Once you have done this you should very carefully monitor your online case status. If your case is delivered to the wrong address or lost in transit you will need to file for a replacement card at your own cost, which could take several months and may impact your ability to maintain F-1 status, begin, or continue working.

If USCIS needs additional information, clarification or evidence to approve your application, a Request for Evidence (RFE) will be mailed to the address you listed on your application form. Contact iss@scu.edu with a copy of the RFE (all pages) as soon as possible after it arrives. Do not take any action to respond to the RFE until you’ve heard from SCU ISS. The RFE will be reviewed by our team and we will get back to you to schedule a time to discuss the rejection with an advisor. In some cases we will refer you to a qualified U.S.-based immigration attorney.

If you do not properly file your application, a rejection notice (and the rejected application) will be mailed to the address you listed on your application form. Contact iss@scu.edu with a copy of the rejection notice as soon as possible after it arrives. The rejection will be reviewed by our team and we will get back to you to schedule a time to discuss the rejection with an advisor. In most cases we will have to re-issue you a new I-20.

A denial notice will be mailed to the address you listed on your application form. Contact iss@scu.edu with a copy of the denial notice as soon as possible after it arrives. The denial will be reviewed by our team and we will get back to you to schedule a time to discuss the denial with an advisor. Most likely we will refer you to a qualified U.S.-based immigration attorney.

US immigration regulations are complex and change frequently.  The University strives to maintain a website that is both current and helpful, however, Santa Clara University is not responsible for students maintaining lawful immigration status; this is the responsibility of the student.  Further, resources and links do not constitute endorsement by Santa Clara University.