Excellent news for applicants pending a change of status!
The new policy announced by USCIS on July 20th eliminates the need for individuals who have applied for a change of status (COS) to F-1 student to request additional extensions, while their initial application for F-1 is pending, which will reduce workload and costs for both applicants and USCIS.
Under the previous policy, applicants were required to maintain status until 30 days prior to the program start date listed on their Form I-20 issued by the Academic institution, which required them to submit extensions, or an initial COS and subsequent extensions to ensure that they would not have a “gap” in status.
To avoid a “gap” in status, USCIS plans to grant the change of status to F-1 as of the day they approve Form I-539, Application to Extend / Change Nonimmigrant Status. And if the request is approved more than 30 days prior to the student’s program start date, the student must ensure that they do not violate their F-1 status during that time. A violation would be engaging in employment, including employment on campus, more than 30 days prior to the program start date as indicated on Form I-20.
USCIS is currently revising the instructions related to Form I-539.
For more information on this matter or to request a change of status or extension of stay, please contact us.