The United States announced the expansion of premium processing of work authorisation for specific categories of foreign students, which is said to be beneficial to a large number of Indians who go to the country to study in the STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) programme.
What did the US say? A statement by the Citizenship and Immigration Services said:
"US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced today the expansion of premium processing for certain F-1 students seeking Optional Practical Training (OPT) and F-1 students seeking 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."
When will the process begin? According to the statement, the premium processing will begin on 6 March for some categories of students and on 3 April for others.
The online filing of Form I-907, which pertains to the premium processing service, is currently available to F-1 students. "The availability of premium processing for certain F-1 students, in addition to the ease of online filing, will streamline the immigration experience for a great many international students," USCIS Director Ur M Jaddou said, according to news agency ANI.
"The ongoing expansion of online filing is a priority for USCIS as we continue to create operational efficiencies and increase access to the immigration system for stakeholders, applicants, petitioners, requestors, and those we serve," the director added.
Further, the premium processing expansion for F-1 students will be conducted in phases.
"USCIS immigration requests throughout the adjudication process. There is no cost to set up a USCIS online account, which offers a variety of features, including the ability to communicate with USCIS through a secure inbox and respond to Requests for Evidence online," the statement said.
The latest move is a part of the USCIS' efforts to reduce burdens on the country's immigration system.
(With inputs from ANI.)