USCIS Updates Policy Guidance for the Change of Status Process for F-1 Applicants

In a policy update, USCIS eliminated the requirement for individuals who have applied for a change of status (COS) to F-1 student to extend their status while their F-1 COS application is pending.

According to the announcement on July 20, USCIS will prevent a “gap” in status by granting the change of status to F-1 effective the day they approve an applicant’s Form I-539, Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status. In cases where the application is approved 30+ days before the student’s program start date, the student must ensure they do not violate their F-1 during that time.

The new policy will streamline the process and reduce costs for applicants and USCIS. According to the announcement, USCIS is revising the Form I-539 instructions to reflect these changes.



The previous policy required applicants to maintain status up to 30 days before the program start date listed on their Form I-20, which required them to file extensions, or an initial COS and subsequent extensions ensuring that they would not have a “gap” in status.


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