USCIS Announces Premium Processing, New Online Filing Procedures for Certain F-1 Students Seeking OPT or STEM OPT Extensions
On March 6, 2023, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced the expansion of premium processing for certain F-1 students seeking Optional Practical Training (OPT) and F-1 students seeking science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) OPT extensions who have a pending Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, and wish to request a premium processing upgrade.
Online filing of Form I-907, Request for Premium Processing Service, is now also available to F-1 students in these categories. USCIS continues to accept the latest paper version of this form by mail. Premium processing expansion for certain F-1 students will occur in phases, and students requesting premium processing should not file before these dates:
· Beginning March 6, USCIS now accepts Form I-907 requests, filed either via paper form or online, for certain F-1 students who already have a pending Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, if they are filing under one of the following categories:
– (c)(3)(A)—Pre-Completion OPT
– (c)(3)(B)—Post-Completion OPT
– (c)(3)(C)—24-Month Extension of OPT for STEM students.
· Beginning April 3, USCIS will accept Form I-907 requests, filed either via paper form or online, for F-1 students in the above categories when filed together with Form I-765.
SOURCE: ABIL Immigration Insider, March 12, 2023; and https://www.uscis.gov/newsroom/news-releases/uscis-announces-premium-processing-new-online-filing-procedures-for-certain-f-1-students-seeking-opt
Department of Homeland Security Extends Enforcement Date for REAL ID
On May 3, 2021, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) published an interim final rule extending the REAL ID card-based enforcement deadline to May 3, 2023. A new final rule published on March 9, 2023, further extends the date for card-based enforcement of the REAL ID regulations to May 7, 2025. Beginning on that date, federal agencies cannot accept a state-issued driver’s license or identification card for official purposes unless it is REAL ID compliant and issued by a state that DHS has determined is in full compliance.
Current regulations also permit federal agencies to accept noncompliant driver’s licenses and identification cards for official purposes until May 2, 2023. The final rule also extends that date, authorizing federal agencies to continue to accept noncompliant driver’s licenses and identification cards for official purposes until May 6, 2025.
SOURCE: ABIL Immigration Insider, March 12, 2023; and https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/FR-2023-03-09/pdf/2023-04496.pdf
USCIS Issues Guidance on Mobile and Remote Biometrics Collection
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) issued policy guidance on March 7, 2023, to address mobile biometrics collection and the biometrics collection of benefit requestors in remote locations.
USCIS said the guidance is intended for benefit requestors who may be unable to attend appointments at USCIS Application Support Centers (ASC) due to health or other issues, or because their physical location requires multiple modes of transportation or substantial travel times to reach an ASC, where USCIS generally collects biometrics. The policy provides for circumstances under which USCIS may conduct mobile biometrics collection for benefit requestors who reside in remote locations in relation to ASCs, and provides an alternative method to fingerprint collection, to include fingerprint cards and coordination with other agencies, for certain benefit requestors who live in locations so remote that USCIS mobile biometric services would not be practical, the agency said.
SOURCE: ABIL Immigration Insider, March 12, 2023; and https://www.uscis.gov/sites/default/files/document/policy-manual-updates/20230307-MobileBiometrics.pdf