USCIS (US Citizenship and Immigration Services) has proposed a change in immigration regulations governing whether an individual in F or J status has accrued “unlawful presence” in the United States.
F-1 and J-1 students/scholars and their dependents who have violated their status will start accruing days of “unlawful presence” as of August 9. Examples of a status violation are as follows: not studying full-time, working without authorization, remaining in the U.S. beyond the grace period (60 days for F visa holders, 30 days for J visa holders).
If an individual accrues more than 180 days of unlawful presence, they could be subject to an admission bar that would prevent their return to the U.S. for 3 or 10 years, depending on the number of days of unlawful presence.
You can read the USCIS Policy Memo and the response from NAFSA (Association of International Educators) here: http://www.nafsa.org/Content.aspx?id=58700.
F-1 and J-1 students and their dependents who have maintained and continue to maintain their nonimmigrant status should not be affected by the new policy.
Please refer to following links for guidance on maintaining your status:
If you believe that you may have violated your status or you have questions about your status, please contact the OISS immediately.
NOTE: This policy change has not yet gone into effect. The new policy will be published on August 9, 2018. We do not know at this time whether the unlawful presence policy will be exactly the same as the proposed policy published in May. We will provide further information as it becomes available.