Changes to Premium Processing in 2023

Changes to how the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services department handles premium processing have begun, and the latest round began on April 3, 2023. These adjustments directly affect students in certain F-1 categories and those petitioning for nonimmigrant foreign worker visas. This blog explains how you may be affected by the new regulations for premium processing.

OPT Training Students

The latest changes that took effect on April 1 include allowing certain students under an F-1 visa to file premium processing upgrades. Those seeking Optional Practical Training (OPT) or students requesting OPT extensions in STEM fields can file the Application for Employment Authorization (Form I-765) alongside a premium processing request (Form I-907).

This change is in addition to the recent round of adjustments on March 6, allowing those in the same categories who already had a pending Form I-765 to retroactively file for premium processing of their request.

Why Premium Processing is Important

Most work visas require a sponsor to petition for the beneficiary and pay all applicable fees. The exception is premium processing, an optional upgrade that expedites the adjudication action on a case. Depending on the individual situation, the employer or beneficiary may cover this fee.

Currently, premium processing is offered along with filing Form I-129, which is the petition necessary for nonimmigrant workers. Form I-140, the petition for alien workers, and Form I-765, the employment application. USCIS guarantees that filing premium processing ensures at least some action will be taken on your case within a set period.

This period varies, but most classifications have a 15-calendar-day guarantee. Form I-765 for F-1 students asking for an OPT or STEM OPT extension has a 30 calendar day adjudication guarantee, and Form I-140 E13 for multinational executives or E21 national interest waiver classifications have 45 calendar days.

The premium processing period starts when Form I-907 is received properly at the correct filing center. This form must be accompanied by an accurately completed petition or application, including the proper signature and filing fee.

USCIS guarantees that one of the following actions will happen within the associated period:

●     You’ll receive an approval or denial notice

●     You’ll receive a notice of intent to deny

●     You’ll receive an RFE (request for evidence)

●     They will open an investigation for fraud or misrepresentation

Should USCIS require further evidence or a response to the intent to deny, the time period for premium processing stops, then resets when the response is received.

Eligibility for 2023 Premium Processing

If you’re not sure if you’re eligible for this expedited status, talk to your immigration representative. Legislation continues to change, and your lawyer will know the latest impacts to your visa status. Since premium processing is an optional upgrade, USCIS has the right to stop or pause accepting new requests. They can also permit those who have already filed to retroactively add on premium processing services.

At the moment, those within the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands who are filing Form I-129 for a chance or initial status grant are not able to file for this service. H-1B and certain other H classifications may have a numerical cap restriction as to how many petitions are accepted, and premium processing does not increase your chances of selection in the lottery or eliminate any cap limits.

What’s Next?

Are you ready to see how you can advance your career by obtaining a work visa in the United States? Contact Visa2US today and talk to our expert legal professionals about your unique situation. We’re here 24/7 to advise you on your next steps based on the latest changes in America’s legislation and what’s expected to occur soon. 

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H-1B Visa

H-1B Visa

H-1B visa is used by businesses and organizations in the United States to employ foreign nationals with the preferred qualifications, knowledge, and expertise in a role.

I-485 Adjustment of Status

I-485 Adjustment of Status

Submit a form I-485 application to apply for lawful permanent resident status.

National Interest Waiver (NIW)

National Interest Waiver (NIW)

An applicant must either hold an advanced degree or have an exceptional ability in their field that would substantially benefit the U.S. to be qualified.