Why You Don’t Need OPT Premium Processing with USCIS Form I-765

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For international students in the U.S. navigating post-graduation employment opportunities, the OPT Premium Processing can be a pivotal point of consideration. Think of it as a fast-pass ticket from USCIS. It offers a quicker turnaround on certain petitions or applications.

Notably, the Form I-765, which F1 international students utilize when seeking Optional Practical Training (OPT), is eligible for this.

This encompasses everything from Pre-Completion OPT and Post-Completion OPT to the 24-month STEM OPT extension. However, it’s important to note a crucial distinction: while Premium Processing assures a quicker decision, often within 30 calendar days, it doesn’t influence the outcome of your OPT application.

Essentially, whether you’d get approved or denied remains consistent, only the speed of the decision changes.

When it comes to applying, there are two routes. You can opt for a paper-based method or take the online route, the latter being more efficient in most instances. It’s feasible to initiate this application at the same time as your initial OPT application or even afterward.

Some applicants prefer to hold off until they receive the USCIS receipt notice for their initial OPT petition.

Now, while the accelerated processing is tempting, it does come with a substantial price tag. As of the last known recording, the non-refundable fee for this premium service is $1,500. When you factor in the OPT application fee, which is around $410, the combined total hovers near the $2,000 mark. It’s essential to juxtapose this investment against its tangible benefits.

For instance, the average OPT processing time, without the premium option, is approximately 1.5 months from the date USCIS receives the application.

Given this, is the premium really worth it? In many scenarios, time is of the essence, but there might be alternate ways to maneuver. Take, for instance, the Post-Completion OPT. Students have the liberty to send in their applications as early as three months prior to graduation.

Since employment can only commence the day after graduation, a well-timed early application could naturally lead to a timely decision without incurring the extra costs of premium processing. Moreover, there are contingencies in place for unforeseen delays. An example would be the 6-month work allowance during the processing of the STEM OPT application.

Yet, there remain certain scenarios where the premium option is an invaluable asset. If you’re presented with a job offer that has an inflexible, early start date or perhaps there’s an unexpected delay from your school’s international student office in dispatching the Form I-20, this premium route can truly be a lifesaver. In conclusion, as with many aspects of international education in the U.S., the journey through employment options is layered and complex.

While the OPT Premium Processing provides a swift path, it’s vital to balance its advantages with its costs, and sometimes, strategic planning can be the most effective shortcut. For those keen on a detailed exploration of this topic, a comprehensive video guide is available for further insights.

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🎥 Related Video: A step-by-step guide on how to file a request for OPT premium processing online:    • How to Apply for OPT Premium Processi…  

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