USCIS announced on March 6, 2023, that they will accept requests to “Premium Process” an OPT application, which will obligate USCIS to adjudicate an OPT request within 30 days. This requires filing an “I-907 Request for Premium Processing” form, along with an additional $1500 fee, to USCIS. Instructions can be found here.
This is a new program offered by USCIS; we have little information about how this option will work and what it will mean for standard OPT processing times. The HIO does NOT recommend using the Premium Processing option at this time. Instead, we advise that students apply for OPT in a timely manner, which should make it unnecessary to request Premium Processing. As more information becomes available, we will continue to update students. If you are graduating in May 2023 and have not yet applied for OPT, please start the application process as soon as possible.
Please note “Premium Processing” does not mean that USCIS will approve the application within 30 days, only that they will adjudicate the application within 30 days (i.e., approve, deny, or issue a Request for Evidence).