On March 6, 2023, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced the expansion of its premium processing service to include certain F-1 students seeking OPT (optional practical training) and STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) OPT. The USCIS’ expansion of premium processing to certain F-1 students reflects its continued initiative to improve processing efficiency and reduce burdens to the system.
As background, OPT employment authorization provides eligible F-1 students an opportunity to apply for up to 12 months of temporary employment related to their field of study. Eligible F-1 students may apply for OPT employment authorization pre-completion and/or post-completion of their academic studies. Eligible F-1 students who earned a degree in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics may seek a 24-month extension of their post-completion OPT work authorization.
The USCIS implemented the premium processing expansion in two phases covering F-1 students who file Form I-765, Application of Employment Authorization within eligibility categories (c)(3)(A) - Pre-Completion OPT; (c)(3)(B) - Post-Completion OPT; and (c)(3)(C) - 24-Month Extension for STEM students.
Form I-907 filing fee for eligible F-1 students is $1,500, and the USCIS will render a decision within 30 calendar days of receipt. Per the announcement, the USCIS accepts applications via mail and now allows for online filings as well.
Currently, Requests for Premium Processing Services are designated for the following visa petitions:
Chart source: Form I-907: Instructions for Request for Premium Processing Service