Premium Processing Expansion for F-1 OPT and STEM OPT Work Authorizations29 Mar 2023
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is expanding premium processing service for F-1 students applying for employment authorization documents (EADs) pursuant to OPT and STEM OPT extensions. The USCIS goal is to offer a more predictable process for timely adjudication for F-1 students applying for OPT and STEM OPT EADs.
Eligibility for Premium Processing During First Phase
The USCIS currently permits only certain F-1s with pending I-765 applications for EADs to request premium processing. F-1 students who have submitted form I-765 applications based on the categories listed below are eligible to request to upgrade their applications to premium processing:
- (c)(3)(A) – Pre-Completion OPT
- (c)(3)(B) – Post-Completion OPT
- (c)(3)(C) – 24-Month Extension of OPT for STEM Students
F-1 students may submit requests to upgrade to premium processing online. The USCIS began accepting such premium upgrade requests on March 6, 2023.
Eligibility for Premium Processing During Second Phase
Effective April 3, 2023, applicants in the above categories may also apply for premium processing concurrently with the initial filing of form I-765. Any premium processing requests filed concurrently requesting premium processing prior to April 3, 2023, will be rejected.
Process to Request Premium Processing
An applicant who wants to file an EAD premium upgrade to a currently pending application, may do so by submitting a form I-907 request for premium processing online or by mail, with the required fee of $1,500.
To submit the application online, the applicant must first create an online account with USCIS. There is no fee to create an account. Through the online account the applicant may pay the required fee, submit the form, and track the case. An applicant also may respond to requests for evidence via the online account. The USCIS is required to adjudicate such premium requests within 30 days.
On or after April 3, 2023, an applicant who wishes to file a premium request concurrently with form I-765 must follow the same process, and file form I-765 and form I-907 concurrently online or by mail.
This premium processing expansion for EADs is part of the USCIS effort to expand online offerings and make the immigration process more practical. We expect the USCIS to continue taking steps to make premium processing available to more case types.
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