Set to expand premium processing for students seeking OPT and exchange Visitors from March
US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is expanding premium processing for employment-based, first and second preference visas for foreigners with extraordinary ability (EB-1) and holding an advanced degree (EB-2) from Jan 30.
This will be followed by premium processing expansion for F-1 students seeking OPT and F-1 students seeking STEM OPT extensions and certain student and exchange visitors between March and June in a phased manner, the immigration agency announced Jan 12.
Read: USCIS proposes hike in immigration, naturalization fees (January 4, 2023)
Noncitizens of extraordinary ability, who are an outstanding professor or researcher, or are a certain multinational executive or manager may be eligible for first-preference (EB-1) visa.
A member of the professions holding an advanced degree or its equivalent, or a person who has exceptional ability may be eligible for an employment-based, second preference (EB-2) visa.
Unlike previous phases of the expansion, this final phase of premium processing expansion for EB-1 and EB-2 applies to new (initial) petitions also, USCIS said.
This will be in addition to all previously filed Form I-140 petitions under an E13 multinational executive and manager classification or E21 classification as a member of professions with advanced degrees or exceptional ability seeking a national interest waiver (NIW), USCIS said.
Petitioners who wish to request premium processing must file Form I-907, Request for Premium Processing Service, it said. Beginning Jan. 30, 2023, USCIS will accept Form I-907 requests for all pending E13 multinational executive and manager petitions and E21 NIW petitions; and all initial E13 multinational executive and manager petitions and E21 NIW petitions.
Read: USCIS weighted median processing time increased by 80% since 2014: report (January 1, 2023)
In March, USCIS will expand premium processing to certain F-1 students seeking Optional Practical Training (OPT) and F-1 students seeking STEM OPT extensions who have a pending Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization.
In April, USCIS will expand premium processing to F-1 students seeking OPT and F-1 students seeking STEM OPT extensions who are filing an initial Form I-765. Specific dates for each group will be announced in February.
USCIS said as it implements the expansion of premium processing in a phased approach, it will continue working toward premium processing availability of Form I-539, Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status.
Read: USCIS Announces Final Phase of Premium Processing Expansion for EB-1 and EB-2 Form I-140 Petitions and Future Expansion for F-1 Students Seeking OPT and Certain Student and Exchange Visitors (January 12, 2023)
The immigration agency said it anticipates expanding premium processing for certain student and exchange visitors with pending Form I-539 applications in May and certain student and exchange visitors who are filing initial Form I-539 applications in June.
As it implements premium processing in phases, USCIS said it will also adhere to the legislative requirement that the expansion of premium processing does not result in an increase in processing times for immigration benefit requests not designated for premium processing or an increase in regular processing of immigration benefit requests so designated.