STEM extension request denied for a mistake on USCIS

Anonymous Poster

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Hello everyone,


I applied for STEM OPT before my initial OPT ended. My STEM OPT application has been rejected by the USCIS citing the check returned by the bank as the reason. However, I submitted a CASHIER'S CHECK with my application, which cannot be returned by the bank as I've already paid for it. USCIS mentioned that I can apply again for STEM OPT with another payment. I received the rejection notice after my initial OPT expired. I checked with my bank about the cashier's check. My bank mentioned that the check is still good and that there has been no attempt made to encash the check. The bank also mentioned that if there has been an attempt made to encash the check and if the check was returned by the bank, it would have been recorded with them. My entire application packet was returned to me, except the cashier's check. I raised service requests twice with the USCIS seeking for an answer for not returning my check. It's been 3 months since then, but I haven't received any response from them yet.

I applied again for STEM OPT, but with a money order this time. I contacted my DSO for their help with this issue. My DSO gave me a letter stating that the mistake is not on me nor the school nor the bank, on their letterhead. I even attached a document from the bank that showed the cashier's check being still valid. However, my application has been denied citing that I have applied late, i.e. after my initial OPT expired.

I clearly have applied the second time after my initial OPT expired only because USCIS rejected my first application for a mistake on their part. I'm looking to file an MTR now. Can anyone let me know how effective the MTR will be in this case? Also, will I be able to sue the USCIS for this incident as I'm close to losing my status because of a mistake done by the USCIS?

One possible reason that I could think of, for USCIS not returning my cashier's check, is that they possibly could have damaged my cashier's check and this could be a cover-up. I'm just trying to find how effective an MTR would prove in this case, as a cashier's check being returned by the bank makes no sense. I haven't cancelled the cashier's check yet, to have it as a proof supporting my case.


First STEM OPT application received:                        June 21st, 2019 (as mentioned on the receipt notice)

Initial OPT expiration:                                                 July 1st, 2019

STEM application rejection date:                               July 5th, 2019

Rejection notice received:                                          July 11th, 2019

Second STEM application received:                           July 19th, 2019 (as mentioned on the receipt notice)

Second application denial date:                                October 10th, 2019 (as mentioned on the denial notice)

Second application denial mentioned on website: October 16th, 2019 (case status says "We denied the request today, i.e. October 16th)

Denial notice received:                                               October 18th, 2019

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