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USCIS Expands Premium Processing to Include Form I-539 Applications to Change Status to F, M, or J Status
Tuesday, June 20, 2023

On June 12, 2023, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced an expansion of premium processing service for applicants filing Form I-539 to change their status to F, M, or J status. The initiative is part of USCIS’s overall expansion of premium processing, which was authorized in October 2020 by the Emergency Stopgap USCIS Stabilization Act.

Quick Hits

  • USCIS is expanding premium processing service for applicants who wish to change their nonimmigrant status to F, M, or J status.

  • The premium processing timeframe for Form I-539 applicants requesting changes of status to F-1, F-2, M-1, M-2, J-1, or J-2 status is thirty calendar days, once all prerequisites, including USCIS’s receipt of biometrics, have been met.

  • Applicants must submit Form I-907 the same way—via paper form or online—that they submitted Form I-539.

During this phase of USCIS’s premium processing expansion, the agency will make available premium processing service for I-539 applications to change status to F, M, or J status; applications to extend F, M, or J status are not included in this phase. USCIS is implementing the current phase of expanded premium processing service in two stages:

  • As of June 13, 2023, USCIS is accepting Form I-907, Request for Premium Processing Service, for applicants with pending Form I-539 applications to change status to F-1, F-2, M-1, M-2, J-1, or J-2 status.

  • Beginning on June 26, 2023, USCIS will accept Form I-907 requests filed together with Form I-539 applications to change status to F-1, F-2, M-1, M-2, J-1, or J-2 status.

The premium processing timeframe for Form I-539 applicants requesting changes of status to F-1, F-2, M-1, M-2, J-1, or J-2 status is thirty calendar days, once all prerequisites, including USCIS’s receipt of biometrics, have been met. USCIS stated in the announcement that the premium processing clock “will not start running until the applicant and all co-applicants included on the Form I-539 submit their biometrics.”

USCIS’s announcement also noted that applicants “must submit Form I-907 the same way [they] submit Form I-539.” In other words, if an applicant filed an I-539 application by mail, the applicant must file the I-907 by mail. If the applicant filed the I-539 application online, the applicant must file the I-907 online.

USCIS previously extended premium processing to include Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, for F-1 students seeking initial grants of Optional Practical Training (OPT) and F-1 students seeking science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) OPT extensions.

USCIS continues to take a phased approach to the expansion of premium processing as announced in a March 2022 final rule that aligned premium processing regulations with the Emergency Stopgap USCIS Stabilization Act.

Ogletree Deakins’ Immigration Practice Group will continue to monitor developments with respect to these and other policy changes and will provide updates on the Immigration blog as additional information becomes available.

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