On January 12, 2023 U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services announced the implementation of the final phase of the premium processing expansion for Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Workers, under the EB-1 and EB-2 classifications and Future Expansion for F-1 Students Seeking OPT and Certain Student and Exchange Visitors.
Most importantly, Premium Processing will soon be available for new (initial) petitions, in addition to all previously filed Form I-140 petitions under an E13 multinational executive and manager classification or E21 classification as a member of professions with advanced degrees or exceptional ability seeking a national interest waiver (NIW).
Beginning Jan. 30, 2023, USCIS will accept Form I-907 requests for:
- All pending E13 multinational executive and manager petitions and E21 NIW petitions; and
- All initial E13 multinational executive and manager petitions and E21 NIW petitions.
As previously announced, USCIS is also expanding premium processing to additional form types as part of its efforts to increase efficiency and reduce burdens to the overall legal immigration system. USCIS will announce specific dates for each group noted below in February.
March, 2023: Premium Processing will become available to certain F-1 students seeking Optional Practical Training (OPT) and F-1 students seeking STEM OPT extensions who have a pending Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization.
April, 2023: USCIS will expand premium processing to F-1 students seeking OPT and F-1 students seeking STEM OPT extensions who are filing an initial Form I-765.
USCIS reports that it continues working toward premium processing availability of Form I-539, Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status. USCIS anticipates expanding premium processing for certain student and exchange visitors with pending Form I-539 applications in May 2023 and certain student and exchange visitors who are filing initial Form I-539 applications in June 2023. USCIS will make an announcement when it is ready to implement these phases. USCIS is required to adhere to the legislative requirement that the expansion of premium processing does not result in an increase in processing times for immigration benefit requests not designated for premium processing or an increase in regular processing of immigration benefit requests so designated.
We will continue to report on this topic as information becomes available.
Alka Bahal is a Partner and the Co-Chair of the Immigration Practice of Fox Rothschild LLP, specializing in corporate immigration law and compliance. Alka is situated in Fox Rothschild’s Morristown, New Jersey office though she practices throughout the United States and at Consulates worldwide. You can reach Alka at (973) 994-7800, or firstname.lastname@example.org.