A blog about U.S. immigration matters by Paul Szeto, a former INS attorney and an experienced immigration lawyer. We serve clients in all U.S. states and overseas countries. (All information is not legal advice and is subject to change without prior notice.)

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Tuesday, July 20, 2021

USCIS No Longer Requires Applicants for Change of Status to F-1 to "Bridge the Gap"

For the past few years, applicants who file for a change of status application to F-1 student status must maintain their status until the application is approved.  Oftentimes the change of status application would take many months to process and approve, forcing students to miss their program start dates.  Further, USCIS required that the applicants must file multiple change of status applicants to "bridge the gap" of their status up until the point that their F-1 status was approved. This requirement caused confusion and inconvinence for the student applicants.  

Today, USCIS announced that it no longer requires applicants to file multiple change of status (I-539) to bridge the gap of their status.  When the initial change of status application to F-1 is approved, the new status will be effective immediately.   

This new guidance will be extremely helpful to foreign students who aspire to study in the United States.  However, foreign students are reminded that they must still file their change of status applications before their legal nonimmigrant status expires. Further, they must ensure that they continue to be eligible for the new status requested.  

(Immigration laws and policies change regularly.  If you have any questions regarding this article, please visit www.1visa1.com to schedule legal consultation.) 

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