In March 2023, the federal government (USCIS) announced that F-1 students can request “premium processing” for their Form I-765 when they apply for:
- Pre-completion OPT
- Post-completion OPT
- STEM OPT Extension
What is premium processing?
Premium processing provides expedited processing on Form I-765 for an additional governmental fee. In exchange for the additional fee, USCIS guarantees that it will take some adjudicative action (approval, denial, request for evidence, notice of intent to deny) within 30 calendar days.
If the application requires the submission of additional evidence or a response to a notice of intent to deny, the 30 day premium processing time period will stop and reset. A new premium processing time period will begin when USCIS receives a response to the request for evidence or notice of intent to deny.
How expensive is premium processing?
As of April 2023, the fee is $1,500.
How do I request premium processing?
You may submit the form (Form I-907) online through your USCIS online account or by paper, along with the Form I-765. The fee for the Form I-907 is an entirely different fee from the I-765 fee. If submitting the petition by mail, you need to send in two separate payments – one for the I-765 and one for the I-907. If submitting the petition online, follow the payment instructions there.
Remember – you must receive your endorsed OPT I-20, or STEM OPT I-20 from OIS before you submit Form I-765 and Form I-907 to USCIS.
Please refer to OIS’ online OPT and STEM OPT tutorials about how to receive an OPT or STEM OPT I-20 from OIS.
Should I request premium processing?
Ultimately, the decision is yours. However, as of April 2023, USCIS reports that 80% of cases are completed within 4 weeks of submission. OIS’ internal records also confirm this. After April 2023, you can check USCIS’ Case Processing Times by following these steps:
- Go to: https://egov.uscis.gov/processing-times/
- In the “Form” field, select “I-765”
- In the “Form Category” field, select “Based on a request by a qualified F-1 academic student [(c)(3)]
- In the “Field Office or “Service Center”, select “Potomac Service Center”
I have additional questions, or I want to discuss my situation. What should I do?
Contact your Immigration Specialist on OIS’ Student Team.