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USCIS issuing policy guidance for change of status (COS) in Nonimmigrant Student (F-1) Visas

To limit costs to applicants and the government, USCIS no longer requires the applicant to submit subsequent applications for extension or change of nonimmigrant status (EOS/COS) 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 had historically only granted applications to change to F-1 status that fall within 30 days of the program start date listed on the applicant’s Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status (Form I- 20). To prevent a “gap” in status, USCIS will grant the COS to F-1 effective on the day of the COS approval. If an application is approved more than 30 days prior to the program start date, these nonimmigrants must ensure that they do not violate their F-1 status during that time. An example of a violation would be engaging in unauthorized employment, including on-campus employment, more than 30 days prior to the start of classes. The new policy highlights include: • Explaining that for approvable COS applications, USCIS will grant F-1 status effective the date of approval, which may be earlier than 30 days before the program start date.

• Updates maintenance of status requirements for nonimmigrants seeking a COS to F-1 status while their COS application is pending.

• Clarifies activities that nonimmigrant students may not engage in if USCIS approves their COS application to F-1 status more than 30 days before the program start date. Please visit the USCIS website for the entire policy announcement:


https://www.uscis.gov/sites/default/files/document/policy-manual-updates/20210720-StudentsChangeOfStatus.pdf


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