The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) recently announced that it would be extending premium processing to certain F-1 students who are seeking Optional Practical Training (OPT) and STEM OPT extensions, and who have pending Form I-765 applications. This is excellent news for those international students who are looking to work in the US after completing their studies.
OPT is a program that allows F-1 students to work in the US for up to 12 months after completing their studies. Students who graduate with a degree in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM) may be eligible for a 24-month extension of their OPT. This extension is known as the STEM OPT extension.
To upgrade a pending OPT application to premium processing, F-1 students must submit Form I-907, Request for Premium Processing Processing Service, which is now available for online filing to F-1 students. USCIS will accept requests in two phases.
- Beginning March 6, USCIS will accept Form I-907 from students who already have a pending Form I-765 for Pre-completion OPT, Post-completion OPT, and 24-month extension of OPT for STEM students.
- Beginning April 3, USCIS will accept Form I-907 when filed together with Form I-765.
Premium processing is a service offered by the USCIS that allows applicants to receive a decision on their application within 15 calendar days, for an additional fee. This service is especially useful for those who need to start working or studying in the US quickly.
With the extension of premium processing to certain F-1 students seeking OPT and STEM OPT extensions, the USCIS aims to reduce processing times for these applications. The USCIS has also stated that it will issue requests for evidence (RFEs) within 60 days of receiving an application, which should further speed up the process.
Overall, this is great news for international students who are looking to work in the US after completing their studies. By extending premium processing to certain F-1 students seeking OPT and STEM OPT extensions, the USCIS is providing a faster and more efficient way for students to receive decisions on their applications.
About the Author
Alexandra Vasquez Sarrine is Senior Counsel at Garvish Immigration Law Group, LLC in Atlanta, Georgia. She has been practicing immigration law since 2012. Prior to joining Garvish Immigration Law Group, Alexandra worked at another Atlanta-based immigration law firm, focusing her practice on family-based immigration and removal defense. Now, Alexandra focuses her practice on employment-based immigration, assisting businesses obtain nonimmigrant and immigrant visas for their employees, as well as family-based immigration including waivers.