UNITED STATES – USCIS Final Phase Premium Processing

January 27, 2023

On January 12, 2023, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced its proposal to expand the premium processing service available for some immigrant and non-immigrant benefits in 2023. Specifically, USCIS will implement the last phase of the premium processing expansion for Form I-140 EB-1C multinational executive classification and EB-2 National Interest Waiver (NIW) classification starting January 30, 2023. This expansion phase will include initial petitions filed after January 30, 2023, along with all previously filed EB-1C and EB-2 NIW petitions currently pending at USCIS. Petitioners requesting premium processing service for new or pending EB-1C or EB-2 NIW petitions must file Form I-907, Request for Premium Processing Service, with the necessary filing fee of $2,500.

Expanding premium processing service to additional form types is part of the agency’s effort to increase efficiency and reduce burdens to the overall U.S. immigration system. Accordingly, USCIS will respect the legislative requirement that the expansion of premium processing service does not cause an increase in processing times for immigration benefit applications not eligible for premium processing or filed under regular processing.

USCIS will also expand the premium processing service for F-1 students seeking OPT or STEM OPT extensions and will provide specific dates for each expansion in February 2023. USCIS has divulged that in March 2023, it will expand premium processing service to some F-1 students applying for OPT and F-1 students seeking STEM OPT extensions who have a pending Form I-765 (Application for EAD) at USCIS. In addition, in April 2023, USCIS will add premium processing to all F-1 students requesting OPT and F-1 students applying for STEM OPT extensions who are filing an initial Form I-765.

USCIS also disclosed that it will expand premium processing for specific Form I-539 applications, including F-1 and J-1. However, USCIS foresees that it will expand premium processing for certain F-1 and J-1 applicants with pending Form I-539 in May 2023. USCIS also expects to expand premium processing for certain F-1 and J-1 applicants filing their first Form I-539 applications in June 2023.

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This immigration update is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for legal or scenario-specific advice. Furthermore, it is important to note that immigration announcements are subject to sudden and unexpected changes. Readers are encouraged to reach out to Newland Chase for any case- or company-specific assessments.