Work authorization delays interfere with international students’ summer internships
International students at MIT and many other universities who applied for Optional Practical Training (OPT) work authorization are experiencing widespread government processing delays, preventing them from starting their summer internships.
Cathy ’20 was supposed to start her internship June 3, but she is still waiting for her OPT application — submitted in February — to be processed, according to a phone interview and emails with The Tech.
Cathy started a petition, which she intends to present to President L. Rafael Reif and the International Students Office (ISO) Monday.
The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) requires that students apply for OPT no more than 90 days before their projected start dates. In past years, this has typically been enough time for applications to be approved, but this year, processing times appear to be stretching towards four to five months, the petition said.