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I cancelled my Post-Completion OPT and reapplied again

Post-Completion OPT — EAD Summary:

International Students in the United States are eligible for Post Completion Optional Practical Training (OPT). The student files an application to the USCIS to obtain this Employment Authorization to be able to work in the States. The University provides all the guidance and information needed to apply for the authorization.

The most appropriate time for students to apply for the EAD is during the final semester of the program. Once the EAD is issued, the student has to start working within 90 days from the Start date to maintain the Visa status. The process is streamlined and straightforward: submit the necessary documents and wait for USCIS to make a decision on your application.

Context: Why I had to withdraw/cancel my OPT EAD:

Here’s why my case is a bit different:

I applied for my post-completion OPT Employment Authorization in my final semester. But due to some unforeseen turn of events, I had no option but to extend my academic program for another semester. So I have one more semester to complete. As per law, I have to start working within 90 days from my EAD start date. For me, that would have been in the middle of November, I would still be at my University. I can only graduate in December as per my University schedule.

As an international student, such events cause unrest and anxiety. I was thinking of several scenarios that could happen, and if my Visa status was on the lines.

I tried searching for how to face this situation, but I couldn’t find a lot of resources online. I scanned Google, Reddit, Immigration advice websites, and Blogs for several hours. I couldn’t find anyone documenting their experience going through such a situation before. But I’m sure that I’m not the first one, and I will not be the last. I’m sharing my experience here so that if someone ever faces such a situation, this can give them an idea.

Disclaimer: This is not legal advice, but documenting my experience here.

Here’s my timeline of events, starting from Day 0 of my filing my application, and ending at getting my reapplied EAD delivered to my mailbox.


  1. Day 0: Submitted I-765 EAD application for Optional Practical Training.
  2. Day 43: My Graduate program was extended for another semester.
  3. Day 45: Sent a Physical mail to USCIS, requesting withdrawal of the I-765 application with the required documents.
  4. Day 47: The mail was delivered to the Service Center Mailroom.
  5. Day 48: Before the withdrawal request could be processed, My EAD application had been approved.
  6. Day 58: I received my EAD card through USPS Priority mail.
  7. Day 59: I sent the EAD card back to the USCIS service center, along with a letter in which I explained my situation and why I would like to cancel my EAD. Proofs and Documents were mailed to the Service center.
  8. Day 78: Case Reopen notice issued by USCIS
  9. Day 98: Official notice from USCIS that my EAD has been withdrawn.

Timeline — Reapplying EAD:

  1. Day 0: Submitted another request for EAD with the updated start date (113)
  2. Day 3: EAD Application was approved.
  3. Day 31: Received my EAD card through USPS Priority mail.

Withdrawal vs Cancelling EAD:

When you have applied for your EAD, and it still hadn’t been approved yet, you can request EAD Withdrawal. Once the EAD has been approved, you have to request cancellation of the EAD. In both cases, USCIS will make a decision on how to proceed with your request.

In my case, I had to do both. I first applied for the Withdrawal, but before it could be processed my authorization was issued. So I had to request for cancellation, so I can reapply again.

My Withdrawal process:

Applying for Employment Authorization can be done online, but withdrawal and canceling must only be sent through physical mail (by the time of this writing). So, I FedEx’d the withdrawal package to the USCIS Service Center which processed my application (Information about which Service center is processing can be found in the communication letters we receive after filing the EAD).

I drafted a letter requesting the USCIS to withdraw my EAD, by briefly describing the reason, and attaching copies of the receipts and communications received so far.

I used this recommended template for the letter:

Before my withdrawal could be processed, my EAD was approved, so I had to request for cancellation of my EAD.

My Cancellation process:

For cancellation, I waited till I got the EAD card to be delivered by USPS. Once I received the card, I put together another package with the following documents:

  1. EAD Card.
  2. I-765 Receipt Notice.
  3. Shipping Receipt and Proof of Delivery Document of Withdrawal request.
  4. I-765 Standalone Approval Notice.
  5. Letter requesting to cancel the EAD.

In this letter, I explained my situation more elaborately. I also did mention that I sent a withdrawal request, but the authorization was issued before the withdrawal could be processed. I included information about my USCIS online account details.

After a few weeks, my USCIS portal mentioned that my case is reopened again, and they are working on my request. It took a few more weeks, to see the official withdrawal status on my USCIS portal.

Reapplication Process:

Now that the previous EAD has been withdrawn, I could reapply for PostCompletion EAD again. I realized, the earlier the application, more sooner the process gets completed. So I applied early, with an updated start date, and this time the approval process was much faster than my first application. Due to address changes, I got my EAD card a bit late.

My 2 cents:

If you are going through the same process, these would be my suggestions:

  1. Speak with your University and International Students Office. They know the best.
  2. Have copies of all the documents and information that you receive. You can even scan the documents and store them as a backup in the cloud for easier access.
  3. Getting legal advice can be expensive, but if that gives you peace of mind and more clarity, go for it.
  4. Have good and supportive people around you, who support you through tough times. Ignore negative people and their opinions.
  5. Be patient, and make sure to do everything from your end. Then wait for the decision from the USCIS.


It was a very challenging experience to go through, especially when you are an International student and Visa status is on the line. I’m really grateful for the people who were helping me through this process, mainly these people:

  • The Office of International Services at my University was really helpful in making me understand the different options that I could take, and help me understand the process, and guiding me throughout.
  • My Cousin greatly helped me by getting legal advice and guiding me throughout the process.
  • My family and best friends were following and checked on me throughout this process.

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