US to Fast-track Processing of Work Permits for STEM Students

Good news for Indian students seeking Optional Practical Training (OPT) or Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) OPT extensions. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) on March 6 announced the phased expansion of premium processing of work authorization.

The premium processing began on March 6th while that for some other categories would begin on April 3rd. “The availability of premium processing for certain F-1 students, in addition to the ease of online filing, will streamline the immigration experience for a great many international students,” said USCIS Director Ur M Jaddou.”The ongoing expansion of online filing is a priority for USCIS as we continue to create operational efficiencies and increase access to the immigration system for stakeholders, applicants, petitioners, requestors, and those we serve,” he said.

Noting that the concurrent filing of new I-765 with I-907 will also be accepted by USCIS from April 3, Bhutoria said the new procedures are expected to streamline the OPT approval process and provide greater convenience to F-1 students. These new measures will help F-1 students obtain employment authorization more quickly, thereby enabling them to contribute to the US economy and society, he added. 

Students with a pending Form 1-765, Application for Employment Authorisation, and wish to request a premium processing upgrade can now do so, as per an official release.

More than 1.8 million online applications, petitions, and requests in FY22.

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