On March 6th, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced the expansion of premium processing for certain F-1 students applying for OPT. This is welcome news for the thousands of F-1 students anxiously waiting for the approval of OPT and the issuance of their EAD cards to be able to commence employment. This expansion will occur in phases.
Beginning March 6
USCIS will accept the Premium Processing Form I-907 requests, filed via paper form or online, for certain F-1 students who have a pending Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, if they are filing for one of the following:
- Pre-Completion OPT;
- (Post-Completion OPT; or
- 24-Month Extension of OPT for STEM students.
Beginning April 3, USCIS will accept Form I-907 requests, filed via paper form or online, for F-1 students in the above categories when filed together with a Form I-765.
Students should not file before the dates indicted above. USICS will reject any requests for premium processing submitted before the date of implementation.
To file Form I-907 online, applicants must first create a USCIS online account, which provides a method to submit forms, pay fees, and track the status of a case through the adjudication process.
Applicants who previously filed a paper Form I-765 and wish to file Form I-907 online to request premium processing should reference the USCIS Account Access Notice they received for the Online Access Code and details on how to link their paper-filed cases to their online account, or they will not be able to file Form I-907 online and will need file a paper Form I-907 with the Chicago lockbox.
USCIS has been working in a phased approach to implement premium processing for other types of applications. It is anticipated that premium processing for Form I-539 Extension of Stay/Change of Status for certain students and exchange visitors with pending Form I-539 applications will soon become available.