USCIS recently announced that it will now offer premium processing for certain petitions filed with Form I-539, Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status, by individuals seeking to switch to F (academic students), M (vocational students), or J (exchange visitors) nonimmigrant status. The premium processing option allows applicants to have their cases expedited, resulting in faster processing time.

This change will occur in the phases outlined below:

  • Starting June 13, USCIS will accept Form I-907 premium processing requests for those who have a pending Form I-539 application to change into F, M, or J status.
  • Starting June 26, the agency will accept premium processing requests from those seeking to change into F, M, or J status when their Form I-907 is filed concurrently with the Form I-539 application.
  • The Form I-907 fee for these newly eligible categories is $1,750, and the premium processing timeframe is 30 calendar days after USCIS receives all prerequisites for the adjudication, including biometrics.
  • USCIS will accept both online and paper filings of Form I-907 for these applications as long as the Form I-907 submission method matches the Form I-539 submission method.
  • Premium processing is not available for individuals seeking an extension of stay in M-1 or M-2 status.
  • Premium processing requests will be rejected for those with a pending Form I-539 if received before June 13th. USCIS will reject premium processing requests when filed together with a Form I-539 if USCIS receives the request before June 26. 

Again, Applicants opting for premium processing are required to pay an additional fee, which guarantees expedited processing and faster decision-making. USCIS strongly encourages applicants to submit their petitions and associated forms electronically through the USCIS online filing system to expedite processing.

Takeaway From Our Attorneys

This is an important development and will be hugely beneficial to applicants seeking to change their status to any of the above classifications. The current processing time without premium processing is over 10 months. This impacts the applicant’s ability to start school on F-1 or M-1 status until their applications are approved. It also benefits J-1 applicants who wish to start their J-1 program or J-1 residency and are unable to do so due to processing delays if filed under regular processing. J-2 dependents will be able to get their change of status approved in 2 weeks and seek a work permit right away.
If you need assistance with your case it is highly advised to contact our team who will best be able to guide your immigration journey.