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Key Points

  • USCIS has issued new guidance for individuals applying for a change of status to F-1
  • Applicants are no longer required to apply for a change or extension of nonimmigrant status with a pending F-1 COS application
  • USCIS enacted the change to prevent a gap in status
  • Change to F-1 status will be effective on the same day USCIS approves a Form I-539

Overview

US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has issued new guidance for individuals who have applied for a change of status (COS). Individuals who have applied for a COS to F-1 student status are no longer required to apply for a change or extension of their nonimmigrant status while their F-1 COS application is pending.

What are the Changes?

USCIS will no longer require the applicant to submit subsequent applications for extension or change of nonimmigrant status while the COS application to F-1 status is pending with USCIS, provided that the applicant’s nonimmigrant status is unexpired at the time of filing the initial COS application and the applicant is otherwise eligible for a COS. USCIS made the changes to prevent a gap in status. The agency will grant the change to F-1 status effective the same day that it approves the applicant’s Form I-539, Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status. If USCIS approves an application more than 30 days prior to the student’s expected start date, the student must not violate his or her F-1 status during that time.

Looking Ahead

The new USCIS policy is designed to reduce workload and fees for both the agency and applicants.

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