USCIS has offered relief to F, J & M Student Visa holders’ with respect to ‘Unlawful Presence’ through a revised and final Policy Memorandum. This is keeping in mind the feedback received during the 1 month public comment period. The new PM is effective from 9 August 2018 for F, J & M Student Visa holders.
The revised PM is regarding the non-immigrant students whose status lapses and who file for well-timed reinstatement of their status. The accrual of their ‘Unlawful Presence’ will be in suspension while the application is pending.
The USCIS had posted a PM dated 10 May that altered the way it calculates the unlawful presence. This was for Non-immigrant F Student, Non-immigrant J Exchange Visitor, and Non-immigrant M Vocational Student Visa holders.
The revised PM supersedes the earlier memorandum, as quoted by the USCIS Gov News. It describes the rules for calculation of unlawful presence of F, & M Student Visa holders. These must have filed a well-timed application or received approval for reinstatement. The fresh guidelines are also applicable to J Visa holders who have been reinstated by the US Department of State.
The revised PM states that the accrual of unlawful presence remains in suspension. This is when F and M Visa holders file an application for reinstatement within the window of 5 months. Their application must also be pending with the USCIS.
The accrual of unlawful presence resumes on the day after the denial if the application for reinstatement is denied. The F, J & M Student Visa holders whose reinstatement application is finally approved will usually not accrue unlawful presence while out of status. This is irrespective of whether the reinstatement application was filed timely or not.
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