F1 Reinstatement pending while OPT unemployment days increase

In May, I went out of F1 status in my school in Chicago, IL. I applied for reinstatement and extension of F1 status in June, 2013. The average processing time for form I-539 is 2.5 months at the Vermont Service Center where my application was filed. It has been 2.5 months now and I still haven’t received an update from them as of now.

My approved OPT (Optional Practical Training) started in July and I was told that I cannot work while my reinstatement is pending. The main problem is that my OPT expires on Sept 30th and I am not sure if I will receive my reinstatement before that. [b]My question is, am I allowed to start work right now on my OPT as I wait for my reinstatement result? Also, is there any way that I can expedite my reinstatement process or learn what is going on?[/b] I have been told that if I receive my reinstatement after my OPT ends, I will have to leave the country.

I recommend you talk to the DSO at your school in Chicago and get it sorted out. You should NOT break any Immigration rules. If your DSO suggests that you cannot work, then you should not work…I am not sure, if there is a premium processing option for re-instatement. Be patient and talk to your DSO, everything will be fine.