Under the previous policy, children of H-1B visa holders filing for F-1 student visas had to file multiple visa extensions to ensure that they did not have a gap in status.

H1-B VisaImage for representation
Money Visa Wednesday, July 21, 2021 - 19:21

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 ā€˜gapā€™ in status, between their earlier visa expiring and the student visa becoming valid, in order to remain in the country. 

ā€œTo prevent a 'gap' in status, USCIS will grant the change of status to F-1 effective the day we approve an applicantā€™s Form I-539, application to extend/change non-immigrant status. If we approve an application more than 30 days before the studentā€™s 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. 

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