Premium processing for change of status applications is finally being made available to students, marking a significant development. Previously, transitioning from say a B-1/B-2 to F-1 status could take more than 18 months, leaving individuals unable to commence their studies and stuck in a state of uncertainty. Moreover, due to the prolonged processing time, USCIS often issued Requests for Evidence (RFE) requesting a new I-20. In some cases, schools were unwilling to defer enrollment and declined to issue the I-20, putting individuals who had already waited extensively at risk of denial.
While premium processing has been an option for other types of applications, students were excluded until now. USCIS’s expansion plan, effective from June 13, includes accepting premium processing requests for applicants seeking a change of status to F-1, F-2, M-1, M-2, J-1, or J-2 status with pending applications. Starting from June 26, USCIS will also accept premium processing requests for new change of status applications.
Although the cost of premium processing is relatively high, it is preferable to endure an excessively long wait for an answer. Particularly for those transitioning to a Day 1 CPT course, paying an additional $1750 will be well worth it, as Day 1 CPT provides work authorization. This means that individuals entering on B-1/B-2 visas and filing for a change of status to F-1, while enrolling in a Day 1 CPT course, will be able to start working much sooner.
It is important to note that applicants will need to submit biometrics before the premium processing clock starts ticking. Unlike other cases where the premium processing clock begins upon receipt of the I-907 form, the time limit for premium processing will only commence once the applicant and all co-applicants on Form I-539 have submitted their biometrics.
The expansion of premium processing to students will significantly expedite the transition process, eliminating lengthy waiting times. While it does come with a financial cost, many individuals will find the additional fee worthwhile.
For any further inquiries, please reach out to PLG Partner via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.