USCIS Announces Premium Processing and Online-Filing for Certain F-1 Students

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...

Continue reading

USCIS Announces Final Phase of Premium Processing Expansion for Initially Filed EB-1 and EB-2 NIW Form I-140 Petitions and Future Expansion for Students and Exchange Visitors  

USCIS announced last week  it will begin implementing its final phase of premium processing by permitting new (initial) Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Workers, filed under the E13 multinational executive and manager classification (EB1C) or the E21 classification as a member of professions with advanced degrees or exceptional ability seeking a national interest waiver (NIW) to be filed with premium processing.   Beginning January 30, 2023, USCIS will accept premium processing requests for:  All initial EB1C multinational executive and manager and E21 NIW petitions; and All pending EB1C multinational executive and manager and E21 NIW petitions.    Moreover, USCIS announced that beginning in March...

Continue reading

Impact of ACICS’ Loss of Accreditation on F-1, H-1B, and I-140 Applicants

In an alert released today, USCIS announced that on August 19, 2022, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) no longer recognizes the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS) as an accrediting agency. This determination immediately impacts two immigration-related F-1 student programs:  1. English language study programs  2. F-1 visa holders applying for a 24-month science, engineering, technology, or mathematics (STEM) optional practical training (OPT) extension.   For the English language study program applicants, USCIS will issue Requests for Evidence (RFEs) to any individuals who have filed an I-539, Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status, on or after August 19, 2022, requesting a...

Continue reading

Employer Alert (STEM Expansion)

Employer Alert: Recent Immigration Policy Changes to Promote STEM Fields On January 21, 2022, the Biden Administration released a series of policies aimed to attract and retain talent in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (“STEM”) fields in the United States. These policies include: Expansion of STEM fields relating to Optional Practical Training (“OPT) for F-1 students: The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has updated and expanded its list of STEM fields to include 22 new fields of study, which includes Business Analytics, Mathematical Economics, and Financial Analytics, just to name a few.  This addition will enable F-1 student visa holders to...

Continue reading

24 month STEM OPT Extension

Students with STEM designated degrees are now eligible to apply for 24-month STEM OPT extensions.  In order to qualify,  the student must have been granted initial OPT and in a current valid period of OPT, earned a bachelor’s, master’s or doctoral degree from an accredited institution, and the student’s proposed STEM OPT job opportunity must be directly related to the student’s STEM degree. As part of the extension process, the F-1 student must provide their Designated School Official (DSO) with a completed and signed Form I-983.  Subsequently, the DSO will issue the student an updated I-20 recommending the student for the...

Continue reading