Visa Crunch

Children of H-1B visa holders will benefit from a new US policy for F-1 student visas

US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has revised its rules on petitions for change of status to F-1 visa classification, which may benefit thousands of H-1B visa holders’ children. Certain non-immigrants, such as offspring of H-1B visa holders, have the option to request a change to a different nonimmigrant classification.

Nonimmigrants were needed to acquire an F-1 student visa up to 30 days before the program’s start date under the prior regulation. The adjudication of the change of status (COS) to F-1 was difficult to match with the varied program dates, according to USCIS, which sometimes forced applicants to request several extensions to avoid a “gap” in status. Multiple filings and extensions resulted in a higher administrative burden and expenditures for both applicants and the government.

To keep expenses down while the COS application for F-1 status is pending with USCIS, the applicant is no longer required to submit subsequent applications for extension or change of nonimmigrant status, 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, according to the policy update. 

If the change of status application is granted more than 30 days before the commencement of the program, the applicants must guarantee that they do not breach their F-1 status during that time. It is a violation of F-1 status to engage in unauthorized employment, including on-campus employment, more than 30 days prior to the start of the program.

“When switching to F-1 status, USCIS eliminates the time-consuming “gap” status applications. Although the ideal answer is to do rid of per-country limitations and introduce additional visas, this will bring some relief to children of backlogged skilled immigrants who age out,” commented US immigration attorney Cyrus Mehta on Twitter.

To read about how the US recently eased travel restrictions, click the link below:

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