On March 6th, 2023, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services revealed new online filing procedures for F-1 students looking to apply for Optional Practical Training (OPT) or STEM OPT extensions. As part of this announcement, USCIS also expanded premium processing for eligible F-1 students with pending Form I-765 applications for employment authorization. This expansion means that students seeking STEM OPT extensions and certain F-1 students pursuing OPT can now request an upgrade to premium processing for faster application review.
USCIS Director Ur M. Jaddou recently announced that F-1 students seeking OPT or STEM OPT extensions can now take advantage of online filing for Form I-907, Request for Premium Processing Service. This streamlined process makes it easier and more efficient for eligible students to apply for expedited application review. In addition to online filing, USCIS will continue to accept paper versions of the form by mail. According to Director Jaddou, USCIS remains committed to expanding online filing capabilities as part of their efforts to enhance operational efficiency and improve access to the immigration system for stakeholders, applicants, petitioners, requestors, and other beneficiaries. The availability of premium processing combined with online filing represents a significant step towards improving the overall experience for international students seeking to pursue OPT or STEM OPT extensions in the United States
It is important to note that students seeking premium processing should not submit their applications before the following designated dates to ensure timely processing:
Starting from March 6th, USCIS will begin accepting requests for Form I-907 from eligible F-1 students who have a pending Form I-765 application for employment authorization under the following categories: (c)(3)(A) for Pre-Completion OPT, (c)(3)(B) for Post-Completion OPT, and (c)(3)(C) for 24-Month Extension of OPT for STEM students. These requests can be submitted via paper form or online. Starting from April 3rd, USCIS will accept requests for Form I-907 from F-1 students in the same categories, provided that they file the form along with Form I-765. The option to submit these requests through either paper or online forms will remain available.
Premium processing requests for a pending Form I-765 will be rejected if submitted before March 6th. For any initial or concurrently filed Form I-765, USCIS will reject any premium processing requests submitted before April 3rd. To file Form I-907 online, applicants must first create a USCIS online account, which provides a secure and convenient method for submitting forms, paying fees, and tracking the status of any pending applications.
USCIS offers a range of online features to applicants throughout the adjudication process at no cost. These include secure communication with USCIS via a secure inbox and the ability to respond to Requests for Evidence online. Setting up a USCIS online account is easy and free, providing applicants with convenient access to important information about their case. Applicants who previously filed a paper Form I-765 and now wish to file Form I-907 online to request premium processing must reference the USCIS Account Access Notice they received for the Online Access Code and instructions on how to link their paper-filed cases to their online accounts. Failure to follow these instructions may prevent them from filing Form I-907 online, and they may need to file a paper Form I-907 with the Chicago Lockbox instead.
USCIS is committed to increasing efficiency and reducing burdens within the immigration system. As part of this effort, USCIS announced the phased expansion of premium processing for certain F-1 students pursuing OPT or STEM OPT extensions. This expansion aims to streamline the immigration process and provide faster processing times for eligible applicants.
With the addition of Form I-907, applicants can now file a total of 16 forms online. To access these forms, visit the "Forms Available to File Online" page, which provides links to file all of the available forms. While USCIS continues to accept paper versions of all forms by mail, online filing offers a faster, more convenient way to submit applications, petitions, and requests. In fact, the number of online filings increased by 53%, from 1.2 million in FY 2021 to over 1.8 million in FY 2022. This growth demonstrates USCIS' ongoing efforts to increase access to the immigration system and improve the overall application process for stakeholders.
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