Imagility News

USCIS Revises Policy Guidance for International Students

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has released updated policy guidance for F and M student nonimmigrant classifications, outlining the agency’s role in processing applications for various purposes such as employment authorization, change of status, extension of stay, and reinstatement of status for students and their dependents within the United States.

This comprehensive guidance consolidates existing policies and aims to offer clarity to international students and U.S. educational institutions on various aspects, including eligibility requirements, school transfers, practical training, and both on- and off-campus employment.

The guidance provides specific clarifications, such as the requirement for F and M students to maintain a foreign residence they do not intend to abandon. It also addresses scenarios where these students may be beneficiaries of permanent labor certification applications or immigrant visa petitions, allowing them to demonstrate an intention to depart after a temporary stay.

Moreover, the guidance outlines the conditions under which F students seeking an extension of optional practical training (OPT) based on STEM degrees can be employed by startup companies. The employer must adhere to training plan requirements, maintain good standing with E-Verify, and provide compensation comparable to that of similarly situated U.S. workers, among other stipulations.

The F-1 nonimmigrant academic student classification permits entry into the U.S. for full-time study at various educational institutions, while the M-1 nonimmigrant vocational student classification includes students in recognized nonacademic programs, excluding language training programs.

For detailed information on the USCIS guidance, refer to the Policy Alert and Volume 2, Part F of the Policy Manual. Additional information on the role of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in administering these nonimmigrant student programs can be found in the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVIS).

Source: USCIS