On July 20, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services announced new policy guidance that eliminates the need for individuals who have applied for a change of status (COS) to F-1 student to apply to change or extend their nonimmigrant status while their initial F-1 COS application is pending. This new policy will effectively reduce workloads and costs for both the applicants and USCIS. Also, the USCIS is in the process of revising the Form I-539 instructions to reflect these changes.
USCIS will grant the change of status to F-1 status effective the day the pending application is approved at the USCIS, Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status, to prevent a “gap” in status. For instance, if an application is approved more than 30 days before the student’s program start date, the student must ensure they do not violate their F-1 status during that time and engage in activities such as engaging in employment, including on-campus employment, more than 30 days before the program start date as listed on their Form I-20.
Earlier within the previous policy, F1 applicants were required to maintain status up to 30 days before the program start date listed on their Form I-20, Certificate for Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status, which required them to file extensions, or an initial COS and subsequent extensions ensuring that they would not have a “gap” in status.
We, at Emandi Law Firm, are closely monitoring developments in this regard and will keep you posted with further updates.