USCIS Expands Premium Processing Eligibility to Certain F-1 OPT and STEM OPT Applications

March 8, 2023
On March 6, 2023, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced the expansion of premium processing for certain F-1 students applying for Optional Practical Training (OPT) or STEM OPT Extensions. The premium processing fee is $1,500, with a 30-calendar day processing timeframe for a decision on your complete application. Premium Processing requires you to file a separate I-907 application form, by paper or online*.
USCIS will accept Form I-907 premium processing requests for F-1 students in two phases:
  • Starting now, USCIS will accept requests for those of you who have a pending Form I-765, for pre-completion OPT, post-completion OPT, or STEM OPT extension. 
  • Starting April 3, 2023, USCIS will accept requests for those of you filing a new pre-completion OPT, post-completion OPT, or STEM OPT extension when your Form I-907 is filed concurrently with your Form I-765. Please note that USCIS will reject any premium processing request for an initial or concurrently filed Form I-765 that is received before April 3. 
OISS recommends that you give careful consideration prior to submitting a premium processing application to USCIS. Given current USCIS processing times**, those of you who have already applied or will apply soon by mid-March might get your EAD cards prior to Commencement and it may not be necessary for you to file for premium processing right now. We recommend that you monitor USCIS I-765 processing times at the Potomac Service Center and consider the date when your OPT application was received by USCIS, your requested OPT start date, and potential travel plans before deciding to pay for premium processing for a 30-day adjudication on your case (please note that the 30-day window starts when you properly file the Form I-907 and pay the premium processing fee).
* To request premium processing on a pending OPT application that you have previously filed online:
  • Go to USCIS My Account
  • Choose “File a Form Online”
  • Choose “I-907, Request for Premium Processing Service” in the drop-down menu under “Select the form you want to file online.”
  • Click “Start Form”
  • Your pending OPT case should display under “Add Premium Processing to a Case.”
** To check processing times for any type of OPT (pre, post, STEM), please select:
  • I-765 Application for Employment Authorization” under “Form”,
  • Based on a request by a qualified F-1 academic student [(c)(3)]” under “Form Category”, and 
  • Potomac Service Center” under “Field Office or Service Center.”