OPTRFERecently we have handled many RFEs (Request for Evidence) cases on OPT (Optional Practical Training) , H1B and H4 EAD RFEs based on OPT or CPT (Curriculum Practical Training). The idea of those RFEs are to make sure that the students did not abuse OPTs or CPTs. The most common questions on those are based on the time of the candidates F1 student/OPT visas namely:

  • Proving that the students have actually attended classes including proving their living within commuting distance of the schools;
  • How much was being paid under OPT and CPT;
  • Details about the participating company in the CPT program;
  • How many hours of CPT;and
  • Proving that CPT was an integral part of the curriculum and participation was required.

The above are but few RFE questions that we have encountered in several change of status applications or for OPT, H1B, and H4 visa/H EAD applications. It is incumbent upon the students to actually to properly understand  the questions and answer them carefully. Any mistakes or wrongful calibration of the answer can result in a denial.  Having handled many of such cases, our law firm has developed some experienced ways to deal with such situations. Below are five tips how to deal with the issues. Note that there might be a lot more questions;

Tip #1. Show that you actually attended classes by showing attendance cards, parking tickets/bus tickets, pictures with friends on campus, receipts of books etc.

Tip #2. Show your pay check stubs and W2s. If unpaid, show a letter from organization where the student was working. Also have a letter and details of the company which has participated in the CPT program including articles of incorporation, taxes, etc.

Tip #3. Make sure you kept a record of your time on CPT or OPT

Tip #4. A letter from your school explaining in detail why CPT was required in the specific course of study including any experts analysis. Note that for CPT, this is one of the most important issues which need to be addressed.

Tip#5. Make sure you prepare a good cover letter explaining both the law and facts of CPT and OPT. An analysis of the law is not sufficient. There should be a combination of both law and facts.

It is sometimes stressful when students receive a RFEs on cases. However, RFEs are just tools used by the USCIS to investigate cases. With all the pressure on students who are using student visas, OPTs and CPTs, it is important that you understand the RFE and answer in real terms. Trying to just ‘dump’ a bunch of documents on the USCIS will not actually make your case.  You need to put a logical answer.  While many of the answers follow a logical path, it is often difficult to explain both the law and the facts in the context.  This is why having an experienced immigration lawyer help you on the case might make a big difference.

The Shah Peerally Law Group PC has processed hundreds of such cases and we shall be glad to help, please call us at 510 742 5887 to work on your case or simply for a consultation.