OPT Approved Despite Domestic Violence Arrest!
December 20, 2023

Table of ContenTS

The Law Offices of Sabrina Li takes pride in successfully assisting another client. We're pleased to share this case study with you.

Our client approached us after discovering that his student visa had been revoked due to a several-day detention following an alleged domestic violence incident with his girlfriend. We counseled the client to stay calm and informed him that a mere arrest doesn't necessarily result in the loss of legal status. Heeding our advice, the client completed his degree. Later, he returned to our office after self-filing an application for Optional Practical Training (OPT). However, he received a Notice of Intent to Deny (NOID) on his application because USCIS records revealed a prior arrest.

The challenge we faced was that the NOID requested the client's police report and court deposition documents, if they existed. Since the client’s arrest did not lead to a conviction, there were no court disposition documents available. Securing the police report posed its own difficulties, and it contained damaging information that could potentially lead the USCIS to deny his OPT application. Compounding the issue, the incident allegedly caused harm to another individual, and we had a limited timeframe to compile documents that portrayed our client in a favorable light.

Nevertheless, our team passionately advocated for our client. A significant aspect that worked in our favor was the support expressed by the alleged "victim." We submitted her support letter and our client’s statement along with our response. We emphasized that our client was never formally charged, was an outstanding student, and played an active role in his community, reflecting his strong moral character. Additionally, we underscored the potential setback he would face by missing out on a valuable employment opportunity without his OPT.

Our client was overjoyed to learn that his application was approved within the same week of our response submission, and he received his work permit shortly!

USCIS adjudicates OPT applications on the basis of the DSO's recommendation and other eligibility considerations, including whether the student merits OPT employment authorization as a matter of discretion. Discretionary factors include, but are not limited to, any facts related to the person’s:  

  • Conduct
  • Character
  • Family Ties or Other Lawful Ties to the United States
  • Immigration Status
  • Hardship Due to An Adverse Decision
  • Value to the Community
  • Length Of Lawful Residence
  • Compliance With Immigration Laws
  • Criminal History
  • Any Other Humanitarian Concerns  

If you or someone you know faces a similar situation and requires the expertise of skilled professionals, look no further than the Law Offices of Sabrina Li. Call us today at (213) 375-8096 or email us at info@sabrinali.law. We are committed to providing the assistance you need, so please don't hesitate to reach out. We're here for you.

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