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This article was prepared with the assistance of ABIL, the Alliance of Business Immigration Lawyers, of which Loan Huynh, Fredrikson Immigration Department Chair, is a member.

Earlier this year, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) rolled out premium processing for F-1 students seeking optional practical training (OPT) or science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) OPT extensions. As students began to file premium processing requests, stakeholders informed the Citizenship and Immigration Services (CIS) Ombudsman that they were experiencing delays in receiving their Employment Authorization Documents (EADs). The CIS Ombudsman is reminding stakeholders that premium processing times are separate from work permit production timelines.

Specifically, the 30-day premium processing timeframe does not include the time it takes to produce an EAD. When an F-1 student files Form I-907, Request for Premium Processing Service, for a work authorization application (Form I-765), the EAD may take one to two weeks to be produced after U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) approves the Form I-765 application. USCIS will then mail the EAD via U.S. Postal Service "Informed Delivery." Wait times may vary depending on USPS delivery times.

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