F, J and I nonimmigrants have long been allowed to remain in the United States for an unspecified period provided that they engage in the activities authorized under their respective nonimmigrant classifications. A D/S (Duration of Status) admission for F-1s is the time it takes to complete an academic program and practical training plus a 60-day grace period; for J-1s is the time it takes to participate in the J-1 program plus a 30-day grace period; and for I nonimmigrants is the duration of assignment/employment.
The proposed rule would change this practice of admitting F, J and I nonimmigrants for D/S, and bring these classifications in line with other nonimmigrant categories by subjecting them to defined periods of stay. A copy of the proposed rule is now available. The rule will be published in the Federal Register on September 25, 2020. DHS will accept public comments on the proposed rule for 30 days after publication.
Where F, J or I nonimmigrants require additional time to complete their program, OPT or employment, they would need to file Form I-539, Application to Extend or Change Status, with USCIS and complete biometrics screening. The proposed rule indicates that in order for an extension to be approved, foreign nationals would need to demonstrate compelling academic reasons (such as unexpected research problems, inability to take certain required classes, changes in faculty, changes in major, etc.); illness or medical condition; or other circumstances beyond the foreign national’s control.
Where an F, J or I nonimmigrant fails to depart or file to change or extend their status, they would begin to accrue unlawful presence in the same manner as other nonimmigrants.
There are a number of additional changes that the proposal is seeking to implement. This post is for informational purposes only. If you would like to discuss your specific situation, please schedule a consultation.