Triumph Against Odds: OPT Approval Secured Despite Terminated SEVIS Record
May 28, 2024

Table of ContenTS

The Law Offices of Sabrina Li are proud to have successfully assisted another client, and we are eager to share their story with you.

Client's Struggle with an OPT Application RFE

After graduation, our client promptly submitted his Optional Practical Training (OPT) application to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Unexpectedly, he received a Request for Evidence (RFE), asking for additional documents to prove the maintenance of his F-1 nonimmigrant status during his studies. The USCIS indicated that his SEVIS (Student and Exchange Visitor Information System) record showed a terminated status and that a previous reinstatement application had been denied. Confronted with this information, which was accurate, the client was at a loss for how to counter the claim. The stakes were especially high as he was on the cusp of filing for a green card, and without lawful status, he would be ineligible for adjustment of status under his category.

Law Offices of Sabrina Li: Embracing Complex Legal Challenges

Never one to shy away from a challenging legal scenario, the Law Offices of Sabrina Li accepted the case. Our initial review did not promise an easy path, as it revealed a situation with seemingly slim chances of success. Upon our client’s last entry into the U.S. on his F-1 visa, he was informed by an immigration official that a reinstatement application was necessary, which he then diligently filed. Yet, a misunderstanding of the Request for Evidence (RFE) for his reinstatement application led him to miss the critical response deadline, resulting in the denial of his application.

However, recognizing the critical importance of OPT approval for the client's future, our team was determined to find a creative solution. We committed to the case, assuring the client of our dedication to exploring every possible avenue to secure the best possible outcome.

Finding the Legal Key for a Complex OPT RFE

In response to the challenge, our legal team devised a comprehensive and strategic approach. We thoroughly examined the client's history as an F-1 student, emphasizing his lawful admission into the United States. We argued for favorable discretion, focusing on the client's commitment to adhering to the guidance provided by immigration officials. The client's proactive engagement with Designated School Officials (DSOs) showcased his dedication to navigating the complexities of immigration policies. Our approach combined a detailed analysis of the client's immigration history with a strong legal argument, highlighting their commitment and efforts to maintain legal status.  

To craft a winning response, our team spent hours examining evidence and researching the strongest legal arguments, while the client waited patiently. Our diligence was rewarded—less than a month after we submitted our response, the client's OPT application was approved by USCIS.

A Lesson for International Students: Always Maintain Your F-1 Status

As an F-1 student in the U.S., ensure you:

  • Consistently attend classes and make academic progress, consulting your DSO about any issues.
  • Maintain a full course load, with the possibility of a reduced load if approved by your DSO.
  • Speak with your DSO before dropping classes or if you anticipate needing a program extension.

Your DSO is your resource for guidance on legal status, program changes, travel, or moving. However, if you are experiencing difficulties or find yourself in a complex situation, and especially when in doubt, you should consult with an experienced immigration attorney to avoid falling out of lawful status.

Seeking Legal Professional Help

If you or someone you know is encountering a similar situation and needs the guidance of seasoned professionals, there's no better choice than turning to the Law Offices of Sabrina Li. Reach out to us today at (213) 375-8096 or send an email to We have successfully reversed many OPT and STEM OPT denials, and we are dedicated to offering the support and expertise you require. Don't hesitate to get in touch; we're here for you.

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