The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has recently released updated policy guidance that directly affects F and M student nonimmigrant classifications. This guidance outlines USCIS’s role in adjudicating various applications, including employment authorization, change of status, extension of stay, and reinstatement of status, for international students and their dependents in the United States.
This policy update serves to consolidate existing regulations, providing much-needed clarity for international students and educational institutions across the country. It addresses a wide range of topics, including eligibility requirements, school transfers, practical training opportunities, and on- and off-campus employment options.
For instance, the updated guidance brings clarity to the requirement that F and M students must maintain a foreign residence they do not intend to abandon. However, it also recognizes that these students may be beneficiaries of permanent labor certification applications or immigrant visa petitions while still demonstrating their intent to depart after a temporary period of stay.
Furthermore, the guidance specifies the conditions under which F students seeking an extension of optional practical training (OPT) based on their STEM degree can be employed by startup companies. Such employment is permitted as long as the employer adheres to the training plan requirements, remains in good standing with E-Verify, and offers compensation commensurate with that provided to similarly situated U.S. workers, among other stipulations.
The F-1 nonimmigrant academic student classification enables noncitizens to enter the United States as full-time students at various educational institutions, including colleges, universities, seminaries, conservatories, academic high schools, elementary schools, or other academic institutions, as well as language training programs. Conversely, the M-1 nonimmigrant vocational student classification encompasses students in recognized nonacademic programs, particularly vocational programs, other than language training courses.
Stay informed about these policy updates and their implications for international students by consulting with our immigration law experts at Jeelani Law Firm.
Contact JLF today to begin your immigration case.