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USCIS Expands Premium Processing for Applicants Seeking to Change into F, M, or J Nonimmigrant Status

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Law IMM Analysis:
USCIS has announced that it is expanding premium processing service for applicants who have filed Form I-539 to change their status to F-1, F-2, M-1, M-2, J-1, or J-2 nonimmigrant status. There will also be the option to file the premium processing request form I-907 via online filing.

USCIS will be introducing premium processing in the Form I-539 applications in stages:

1. Starting on June 13, 2023, USCIS will accept Form I-907 requests via paper filing or via online filing for applicants who are requesting the change of status to F-1, F-2, M-1, M-2, J-1, or J-2 status, for those applicants who have pending Form I-539 with the USCIS already.

2. Starting on June 26, 2023, USCIS will accept Form I-907 requests via paper filing or via online filing for applicants who are requesting a change of status to F-1, F-2, M-1, M-2, J-1, or J-2 status, when filed concurrently with the Form I-539.

USCIS clarifies that this premium processing benefit is only available for change of status requests. It is not available for applicants who are applying for extension of stay in M-1 or M-2 status.

USCIS also reminds applicants who wish to pursue premium processing that if the applicant mailed the paper Form I-539 to USCIS, then the applicant must file a paper Form I-907. And if the applicant submitted the Form I-539 online, then the applicant must submit the Form I-907 online.

Furthermore, USCIS states that the applicants must submit their biometrics BEFORE premium processing can begin for those particular categories listed above. Even if USCIS accepts the application’s Form I-907 and filing fee, the time limit for premium processing will not start running until the applicant and all the co-applicants included on the Form I-539 have first submitted their biometrics.

USCIS also warns applicants not to submit multiple Forms I-907 filed together, because USCIS will reject them (i.e., USCIS may reject Form I-907 and/or Form I-539 if submitted with another benefit request).

USCIS does remind applicants who wish to submit Form I-907 online that they need to first set up their own USCIS account (which is free or charge).

USCIS explains that this initiative to expand premium processing benefit to Form I-539 applicants is their effort to increase efficiency and reduce burdens to the overall immigration system, while also doing so in phases to make sure it is in compliance with the Emergency Stopgap USCIS Stabilization Act, which prohibits the expansion of premium processing if it will increase processing times for the immigrant benefit requests.

With the introduction of premium processing benefit for Form I-539 now, it would appear that USCIS is confirming that it is in the position to take on these added requests and process them within reasonable time frame.

Should readers have any further questions about this latest expansion of premium processing service by USCIS and how it could affect your own cases currently filed with USCIS, please do not hesitate to schedule consultation with our office and we would be happy to assist further.

Pasricha & Patel’s Immigration Department has extensive experience in handling business and personal immigration matters. Our team is happy to speak with you on your specific issue.