USCIS announced last week that it will expand premium processing to certain F-1 students requesting employment authorization based on their being approved for optional practical training (OPT) or STEM OPT. This expansion will occur in phased approaches.
Beginning March 6, USCIS started accepting Form I-907 requests, filed via mail or online, for certain F-1 students who have a pending Form I-765 under the following categories:
- (c)(3)(A) – Pre-Completion OPT;
- (c)(3)(B) – Post-Completion OPT; and
- (c)(3)(C) – 24-Month Extension of OPT for STEM students.
Beginning April 3, it will accept Form I-907 requests, filed via mail or online, for F-1 students in the above categories that are filed concurrently with a Form I-765.
It is worth noting, however, that prior to this expansion, STEM OPT applicants who timely file an extension application automatically receives an extension of their employment authorization for 180 days or until a final decision has been reached on the application, whichever date is earlier.
USCIS reiterates that it continues to work towards expanding premium processing to other applications. It anticipates expanding premium processing for certain F-1 students and J-1 exchange visitors with pending Form I-539 applications in May and certain students and exchange visitors who are filing initial Form I-539 applications in June.