The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has announced its decision to extend premium processing to applicants wishing to change their nonimmigrant status to F-1, F-2, M-1, M-2, J-1, or J-2, using Form I-539. This expanded premium processing will allow for expedited review of these applications, thus reducing waiting times at an extra cost of $2,500 per applicant. (As of 2023).
The extension of premium processing will be carried out in two phases: Starting June 13, 2023, USCIS will accept Form I-907 requests for applicants with a pending Form I-539. From June 26, the premium processing service will also be open for those who file a Form I-539 and a Form I-907 simultaneously.
However, additional guidelines must be followed for premium processing to be considered:
All biometric data must be submitted before premium processing can start. This means that even if USCIS accepts an applicant’s Form I-907 and accompanying fees, the time limit for premium processing will not start running until the applicant and all co-applicants included on the Form I-539 submit their biometrics.
Also, both forms, I-907 (premium processing form) and I-539, should be submitted in the same way – either online or through mail. Moreover, only F-1, F-2, M-1, M-2, J-1, and J-2 visa applicants can currently use the online service to file Form I-907.
USCIS indicated that expansion of premium processing will not lead to increased processing times for regular immigration benefit requests, following the guidelines set out in the Emergency Stopgap USCIS Stabilization Act. However, the steep cost of applying for premium processing will still be a practical barrier for many.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services today announced the expansion of premium processing for applicants filing Form I-539, Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status, and seeking a change of status to F-1, F-2, M-1, M-2, J-1, or J-2 nonimmigrant status. Online filing of Form I-907, Request for Premium Processing Service, will also be available for these applicants.
The premium processing expansion for certain Form I-539 applicants will occur in phases, and nonimmigrants requesting premium processing should not file before these dates:
Beginning June 13, USCIS will accept Form I-907 requests, filed via paper form or online, for applicants seeking a change of status to F-1, F-2, M-1, M-2, J-1, or J-2 status, who have a pending Form I-539, Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status.
Beginning June 26, USCIS will accept Form I-907 requests, filed either via paper form or online, for applicants seeking a change of status to F-1, F-2, M-1, M-2, J-1, or J-2 status, when filed together with Form I-539.
This phase of premium processing service is only available for change of status requests. Premium processing is not available for individuals seeking an extension of stay in M-1 or M-2 status.
We will reject premium processing requests for a pending Form I-539 if received before June 13. USCIS will reject premium processing requests when filed together with a Form I-539 if USCIS receives the request before June 26.
Important reminder: You must submit Form I-907 the same way you submit Form I-539.
If you mail a paper Form I-539 to us, you must mail a paper Form I-907.
If you submit Form I-539 online, you must submit Form I-907 online.
Applicants must submit their biometrics before premium processing can begin for these specific categories. Even if USCIS accepts an applicant’s Form I-907 and accompanying fees, the time limit for premium processing will not start running until the applicant and all co-applicants included on the Form I-539 submit their biometrics. Please note, USCIS may reject an applicant’s Form I-907 and/or Form I-539 if submitted with another benefit request, including multiple Forms I-907 requests filed together.
To file Form I-907 online, an applicant must first create a USCIS online account, which provides a convenient and secure method to submit forms, pay fees, and track the status of any pending USCIS immigration request throughout the adjudication process. There is no cost to set up a USCIS online account, which offers a variety of features, including the ability to communicate with USCIS through a secure inbox and respond to Requests for Evidence online.
As previously announced, the expansion of premium processing is part of USCIS’ efforts to increase efficiency and reduce burdens to the overall immigration system. USCIS is expanding premium processing in a phased approach to ensure compliance with the with the Emergency Stopgap USCIS Stabilization Act, which prohibits the expansion of premium processing if it will increase processing times for the immigration benefit requests.Source: USCIS, June 2023.