It will now be easier for children of non-immigrant visa holders in the US to shift to an F-1 student visa, thanks to a new policy update from the US Citizenship and Immigration Services. This will be useful to children of thousands of H-1B visa holders in the US.
The previous policy required applicants to maintain status up to 30 days before the programme’s start date, for which they had to file several visa extensions to make sure that their status does not have a “gap”.
“To prevent a ‘gap’ in status, USCIS will grant the change of status to F-1 effective the day we approve an applicant’s Form I-539, application to extend/change non-immigrant status. If we approve an application more than 30 days before the student’s program start date, the student must ensure they do not violate their F-1 status during that time,” the policy update was quoted as saying.
It is expected that the move would reduce costs and workloads for applicants and the USCIS.
“USCIS does away with burdensome ‘gap’ status applications when one changes to F-1. This will provide some relief to children of backlogged skilled immigrants who age out, although the optimum solution is to get rid of per country limits and add more visas….,” said immigration attorney Cyrus Mehta on Twitter.
The H-1B is a visa in the United States under the Immigration and Nationality Act, section 101(a)(15)(H). This visa allows US employers to employ foreign workers in speciality occupations temporarily. The duration of stay is three years and can be extended to six years. After this period, however, the visa holder may have to reapply.
To stay in H-1B status, a person already in the status must continue to be employed by their employer. If their employment ends for any reason, they must leave the United States. They can, however, continue to stay in the US if they apply for and are granted a change of status or if they manage to find another employer compatible with the H-1B status.