I am an international student and my OPT(working permission) application was received in the fist week of November 2016. I got an job offer today (Jan 10, 2017) but I have not received OPT, the job offer says:"We look forward to your joining us on January 17, 2015, subject to our mutual understanding that your start date may be sooner or later depending upon your satisfying all obligations to your duties at school and obtaining the proper work permits from the US government." According to that, I think I could probably postpone my start date, but I have two questions towards that: 1. When I respond to the job offer, what should I say to postpone the start date properly? Before I mentioned I could start in January 2017 but I did not mention an exact date. 2. Generally, how long can I postpone my start date? Is there a range?
They already know that your paperwork may be delayed. So just be truthful and to the point.
In addition to the usual "I'm-happy-to-accept-your-offer" language, give the current state of your paperwork (including the date you submitted it) and indicate that you'll be in touch regularly with updates.
How long you can postpone is not really something we can answer - that's going to depend on the company.