The USCIS approved my application for optional practical training (OPT) and issued me an employment authorization document (EAD) following my completion of a master’s degree two years ago. …

… However, instead of starting employment, I decided to enroll in a second master’s program of study, from which I graduated three months ago. Before graduation, I applied for OPT again, since I did not use my OPT approval after my first degree. The USCIS denied my application, indicating that I am ineligible for a second period of OPT based on the same level of study. I feel this decision is unfair because I never used my first EAD. I would like to file a motion to reopen / reconsider this decision. What is the likelihood that my motion will be successful?


Unfortunately, even though you did not use your first period of OPT authorization, you are not likely to recover this period of unused OPT based on your second degree. The general rule barring a second period of OPT based on a subsequent program of study on the same level would also apply in a situation in which the initial period of OPT was previously approved but not used. In limited circumstances, it may be possible to withdraw the OPT request prior to issuance of an EAD from the USCIS. Once the OPT is approved, however, there is no mechanism to recover the entire or any of the unused portions of the OPT period.

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