On Monday, March 6, 2023, U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services announced the launch of premium processing for F-1 students applying for Optional Practical Training (OPT). Premium processing means for an additional (substantial) fee, USCIS will provide expedited review/adjudication of an application and issue a decision faster than normal processing times. In this case, for an additional $1,500, you will receive a decision on your application within 30-calendar days.
- Starting Monday, March 6, USCIS will accept Form I-907 premium processing requests for F-1 students with a pending Form I-765 employment authorization document (EAD) application if the student is filing for pre- or post-completion OPT, or for a STEM OPT extension.
- Starting April 3, USCIS will accept premium processing requests from these students when their Form I-907 is filed concurrently with a Form I-765 employment authorization application.
- The Form I-907 fee for these newly eligible categories is $1,500, and the premium processing timeframe is 30 calendar days after USCIS receives all prerequisites for the adjudication.
- USCIS will accept both online and paper filings of Form I-907 for these F-1 EAD applications.
USCIS processing times for OPT can vary - with recent OPT applications taking approximately 2 months from submission to approval. Keep in mind, students applying for OPT may not apply for post-graduation OPT any earlier than 90-days before the last day of their final quarter of enrollment. You can review normal USCIS processing times here: https://egov.uscis.gov/processing-times/ (please select Form I-765; then F-1 student; then Potomac Service Center) - as of the posting date of this message, USCIS indicates 80% of all OPT applications are processed in 2 months time from the date of application.
To learn more about the OPT application: https://internationalaffairs.uchicago.edu/page/opt-optional-practical-training