Immigration Updates and Alerts
The following information is provided for you regarding immigration alerts and updates. If you have any questions or need further assistance please contact the International Students & Scholars Office. For additional resources, see the UMass Lowell's immigration resources webpage.
USCIS announced that it will expand the use of premium processing for applications for Change of Status to F, M, or J nonimmigrant status filed using the Form I-539 Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status.
Please note, Premium Processing will not be available for Reinstatement applications.
There will be two phases in the premium process options for certain I-539 applicants.
- Beginning June 13, USCIS will accept Form I-907 requests, filed via paper form or online, for applicants seeking a change of status to F-1, F-2, M-1, M-2, J-1, or J-2 status, who have a pending Form I-539, Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status.
- Beginning June 26, USCIS will accept Form I-907 requests, filed either via paper form or online, for applicants seeking a change of status to F-1, F-2, M-1, M-2, J-1, or J-2 status, when filed together with Form I-539.
Premium processing requests received prior to the dates above will be rejected. Also, USCIS provides an important reminder:
- “If you mail a paper Form I-539 to us, you must mail a paper Form I-907.”
- “If you submit Form I-539 online, you must submit Form I-907 online.”
IMPORTANT: Make sure you review and understand the entire official notice and set of instructions provided by USCIS before filing a premium processing application
F-1 Visa Issuance Window Extended by U.S. Department of State
The U.S. Department of State (DOS) has announced that for F-1 students, "visas for new students can be issued up to 365 days in advance of the start date for a course of study. However, you will not be allowed to enter the United States on your student visa more than 30 days before the start date."
Please note that even if this new visa issuance guidance has been publicly issued by DOS, it does not necessarily mean that each U.S. Embassy and Consulate abroad will be able to issue nonimmigrant student visas that far in advance. The ISSO recommends that new students consult their local U.S. Embassy/Consulate abroad if there are questions regarding visa appointment wait times and timelines for obtaining their F-1 visa.
USCIS Announcement - Expansion of Premium Processing for Certain F-1 students seeking OPT and STEM OPT Extensions
USCIS has announced on March 6, 2023 the expansion of premium processing for certain F-1 students seeking Optional Practical Training (OPT)or 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. Please note the below phases listed in the USCIS announcement:
Beginning March 6, USCIS will accept Form I-907, Request for Premium Processing Service, filed either via paper form or online, for certain F-1 students who already have a pending Form I-765, if they are filing under one of the following categories:
- (c)(3)(A) - Pre-Completion OPT;
- (c)(3)(B) - Post-Completion OPT; and
- (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.
Online filing of Form I-907, Request for Premium Processing Service, is now available to students in these categories. To file Form I-907 online, an applicant must first create a USCIS online account.
Important: Students are not required to file an OPT or STEM OPT Extension application with Premium Processing; this is just an available option now. Should you decide to file a Premium Processing request, the associated fee is $1,500. This is in addition to the standard application fee for the Form I-765 used to apply for F-1 OPT or F-1 STEM OPT Extension (the I-765 fee for OPT/STEM is currently $410, but may be subject to change).