Children of H-1B visa holders in the US are set to benefit as a new policy update from the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) was announced. With this, it will make it easier for children of non-immigrant visa holders in the US to transfer to an F-1 student visa.
The previous policy required applicants for F-1 student visas to maintain status up to 30 days before the academic programme start date. But this meant that children of H-1B visa holders had to file multiple visa extensions to ensure that they did not have a āgapā in status, between their earlier visa expiring and the student visa becoming valid, in order to remain in the country.
āTo prevent a 'gap' in status, USCIS will grant the change of status to F-1 effective the day we approve an applicantās Form I-539, application to extend/change non-immigrant status. If we approve an application more than 30 days before the studentās program start date, the student must ensure they do not violate their F-1 status during that time,ā the policy update stated.
The USCIS added that an example of a violation would be engaging in employment, including on-campus employment, more than 30 days before the program start date as listed on the studentsā Form I-20.
The move is likely to bring down costs and workloads for the applicants and the USCIS, the report adds.
What is the F-1 student visa?
There are two categories of non-immigrant visas for persons wishing to study in the United States, which are commonly known as the F and M visas.
The F-1 Visa (Academic Student) allows you to enter the United States as a full-time student at an accredited college, university, academic high school, elementary school, or other academic institution or in a language training program. You must be enrolled in a programme or course of study that ends in getting a degree, diploma, or certificate and your school must be authorised by the US government to accept international students.
F-1 students are not supposed to work off-campus during the first academic year, but can accept on-campus employment subject to certain conditions and restrictions. F-1 students may also be eligible to work off-campus on a case-by-case basis as a result of special situations such as severe economic hardship.