USCIS Expands Premium Processing for Change of Nonimmigrant Status Applications
In a recent announcement, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) revealed the expansion of premium processing for applicants filing Form I-539, Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status. This expansion aims to streamline and expedite the processing of applications seeking a change of status to F-1, F-2, M-1, M-2, J-1, or J-2 nonimmigrant status. The USCIS will also allow online filing of Form I-907, Request for Premium Processing Service, for these applicants.
Phased Approach for Premium Processing
The premium processing expansion for certain Form I-539 applicants will be implemented in phases. It is important to note that nonimmigrants requesting premium processing should adhere to the following dates:
- Beginning June 13: USCIS will accept Form I-907 requests, whether filed via paper or online, for applicants with a pending Form I-539 who seek a change of status to F-1, F-2, M-1, M-2, J-1, or J-2 status.
- Beginning June 26: USCIS will accept Form I-907 requests, filed either via paper 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.
It is essential to note that this phase of premium processing service is solely available for change of status requests. Premium processing is not applicable to individuals seeking an extension of stay in M-1 or M-2 status.
Submission Guidelines for Premium Processing
To ensure a smooth and accurate premium processing experience, it is crucial to follow these submission guidelines:
- Consistent Submission: When submitting Form I-539 and Form I-907, both forms must be submitted in the same manner –both online or both by paper.
- Paper Filing: If you choose to mail a paper Form I-539, you must also mail a paper Form I-907.
- Online Submission: If you decide to submit Form I-539 online, you must also submit Form I-907 online.
Biometrics Requirement and Processing Time
Applicants must complete their biometrics before premium processing can commence for the specified categories. Even if USCIS accepts an applicant’s Form I-907 and accompanying fees, the premium processing time limit will not initiate until the applicant and all co-applicants included on the Form I-539 have submitted their biometrics.
It is important to note that USCIS may reject an applicant’s Form I-907 and/or Form I-539 if they are submitted with another benefit request, including multiple Form I-907 requests filed together.
Advantages of Filing Online
To facilitate the premium processing expansion, applicants are encouraged to create a USCIS online account. By doing so, they gain access to a secure platform where they can submit forms, pay fees, and track the status of their pending USCIS immigration requests throughout the adjudication process. The USCIS online account provides a convenient method for communication through a secure inbox and responding to Requests for Evidence online. Notably, setting up a USCIS online account incurs no cost.
The expansion of premium processing for applicants filing Form I-539 seeking a change of nonimmigrant status to F-1, F-2, M-1, M-2, J-1, or J-2 nonimmigrant status is a significant development by the USCIS. By introducing this phased approach and allowing online filing, the USCIS aims to enhance efficiency.
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