Published: March 7, 2023

As noted in a January 24, 2023 ISSS announcement regarding Potential USCIS Fee Increases and Premium Processing For OPT, USCIS announced it will begin accepting premium processing applications for OPT applications.

How much does premium processing cost?

$1,500 if you are filing the premium processing Form I-907 for a Form I-765 with eligibility category (C)(3)(A) (for pre-completion OPT), (C)(3)(B) (for post-completion OPT), or (C)(3)(C) (for the 24-month STEM OPT Extension).

How quickly will my application be processed if I file with premium processing?

Premium processing provides expedited processing for a fee. Specifically, USCIS guarantees that they will take some adjudicative action on the case within the following time period, or they will refund the premium processing fee:

  • 30 calendar days for Form I-765 for F-1 students seeking OPT or STEM OPT extensions from the time USCIS receives the Form I-907 and payment for premium processing

Does ISSS recommend I file my OPT application with premium processing?

ISSS recommends students give careful consideration prior to submitting a premium processing application to USCIS. Given current USCIS processing times, it may not be necessary to file for premium processing. At this time, USCIS processing times remain unchanged. Unless there are significant changes to the USCIS I-765 processing times, ISSS does not necessarily recommend students file their applications with premium processing. ISSS encourages students to consider current processing times, when their OPT application was received by USCIS, their requested OPT start date, and potential travel plans before paying for premium processing.

How do I check the USCIS processing times?

You can check USCIS’s OPT processing time by going to the USCIS processing times website, selecting “I-765 Application for Employment Authorization” under “Form”, selecting “Based on a request by a qualified F-1 academic student [(c)(3)]” under “Form Category”, and selecting “Potomac Service Center” under “Field Office or Service Center.” There you will be able to see their estimated time range for processing OPT applications.

Is my OPT application eligible for premium processing?

The USCIS announcement released March 6, 2023, states:

  • Beginning March 6, USCIS will accept Form I-907 requests (requests for Premium Processing), filed either via paper form or online, for certain F-1 students who already have a pending Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, if they are filing under one of the following categories:
    • (c)(3)(A) – Pre-Completion OPT;
    • (c)(3)(B) – Post-Completion OPT; and
    • (c)(3)(C) – 24-Month Extension of OPT for STEM students.
  • Beginning April 3, USCIS will accept Form I-907 requests, filed either via paper form or online, for F-1 students in the above categories when filed together with Form I-765.

USCIS will reject premium processing requests for a pending Form I-765 if received before March 6, and will reject any premium processing request for an initial or concurrently filed Form I-765 that is received before April 3. You must have your USCIS I-765 receipt notice for the pending OPT application in order to apply for premium processing.

How to Request Premium Processing

If you are requesting premium processing for a pending Form I-765 under one of the following categories, submit your Form I-907 either online or as a paper file with the Chicago lockbox. Go to our Filing Form I-907 to Upgrade a Pending Form I-765 page to see where you should file your application. Do not submit Form I-907 and Form I-765 together because until April 3rd, premium processing is only available for pending OPT applications.

  • (C)(3)(A) – Pre-Completion OPT
  • (C)(3)(B) – Post-Completion OPT
  • (C)(3)(C) – 24-Month Extension of OPT for STEM students

If you previously filed a paper Form I-765 and you wish to file Form I-907 online to request premium processing, please reference the USCIS Account Access Notice you received for the Online Access Code and details on how to link your paper-filed cases to your online account. If you do not link your paper-filed Form I-765, you will not be able to file your Form I-907 online and will need file a paper Form I-907 with the Chicago lockbox.

If you have any questions or concerns about the option to file your OPT application with premium processing, please contact ISSS. You may also make a remote advising appointment or come to the ISSS office during walk-in advising hours.