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.

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