In what is being projected as good news for international students comprising a high percentage of Indian students, the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has decided to extend premium processing for some students on F1 visas.
It is being said that for foreign students, who have been facing long wait times for their OPT approvals, these new measures will help them obtain employment authorization more quickly, thereby enabling them to contribute to the U.S. economy.
But no one mentions that premium processing costs over $1500 above the $410 filing fee that’s charged for OPT. So international students must shell out around $2000 to process OPT.
Even with normal processing, any student can get OPT within a few weeks. So this just sounds like another ploy to extract the maximum amount from the desperate students luring them with fast processing.
This extension might be useful for only a handful of students who are running short of time, or rich, and who want to get an OPT within a few days and not weeks. The common complaint we hear is that USICIS is constantly coming up with ideas to make money instead of efficiently processing work authorizations.