Jun 14, 2023
USA
Super News

USCIS Expands Premium Processing Eligibility for Change of Status to F, M, or J Visa Categories

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has recently announced an expansion of the premium processing program. It allows certain applicants seeking to change their status to F, M, or J visas to expedite their application processing.

USCIS Expands Premium Processing Eligibility for Change of Status to F, M, or J Visa Categories

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has recently announced an expansion of the premium processing program. It allows certain applicants seeking to change their status to F, M, or J visas to expedite their application processing. This new development aims to streamline and facilitate the immigration process for eligible individuals. In this article, we will delve into the key details of this update, its significance, and what it means for applicants.

What’s happening

Applicants seeking to change their immigration status from another nonimmigrant status from within the United States to F (student), M (vocational student), or J (exchange visitor) visas often face significant processing delays, resulting in prolonged uncertainty and challenges in planning their educational or exchange programs. Recognizing the need for efficiency, USCIS has expanded the availability of premium processing for these visa categories, allowing applicants to expedite their case processing for a fee.

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.

Background

Premium processing is a service USCIS provides that expedites the processing time of certain immigration applications. By paying an additional fee, applicants can receive a decision on their case within 15 calendar days, significantly reducing the overall processing time. Historically, premium processing has been available for employment-based immigration categories, but this expansion now encompasses applicants seeking a status change to F, M, or J visas.

Premium processing provides expedited processing for the following forms:

  • Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker;
  • Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker;
  • Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, and
  • Form I-539, Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status.

USCIS should process the above mentioned applications within the time periods described below or will refund the premium processing fee. Processing times for the petitions are as follows:

  • 15 calendar days for most classifications;
  • 30 calendar days for Form I-765 for F-1 students seeking OPT or STEM OPT extensions;
  • 30 calendar days for Form I-539 applicants requesting a change of status;
  • 45 calendar days for Form I-140 EB1C multinational executive and manager and Form I-140 EB-2 national interest waiver classifications

Additional Insight for Form I-539 Premium Processing

Under the new expansion, eligible applicants can utilize premium processing for the following applications:

  • Change of status to F-1 (student) or F-2 (dependent) visa.
  • Change of status to M-1 (vocational student) or M-2 (dependent) visa.
  • Change of status to J-1 (exchange visitor) or J-2 (dependent) visa.

Applicants must meet certain criteria to qualify for premium processing, including filing Form I-539, Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status. They must also submit a separate Form I-907, Request for Premium Processing, along with the required fee. Upon approval, the applicant will receive a decision within 15 calendar days.

What to expect moving forward

The expansion of premium processing to include F, M, and J visa categories signifies a positive step towards enhancing efficiency in the immigration process. By allowing applicants to expedite their cases, this update reduces waiting times and facilitates better planning of educational or exchange programs.

Applicants should thoroughly review the eligibility requirements and ensure accurate and comprehensive application preparation. Seeking guidance from an experienced immigration attorney can provide valuable assistance throughout the process, ensuring a smooth and successful application submission.

USCIS is committed to prioritizing efficiency and customer service. It is anticipated that further expansions of premium processing may be introduced in the future. Staying informed about these updates and changes is crucial for individuals navigating the immigration system.

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