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New policy on status violations and unlawful presence for J-1 and F-1 students

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has released new policy changes surrounding violations of status and unlawful presence policies in the United States. Previously, non-immigrants (F and J visa holders) would only accrue days of unlawful presence when either an immigration judge or USCIS determined a status violation. As of August 9, 2018, non-immigrants will now begin to accrue unlawful presence one day after the following:

  1. Expiration of a date specific I-94
  2. Failing to pursue the course of study or authorized activity
  3. Engaging in unauthorized activity
  4. Completing course of study/program/practical training plus grace period
  5. Removal order by immigration judge

If someone accrues between 180 - 364 days of unlawful presence, they can be barred from returning to the United States for three years. If someone accrues 365 days or more, the bar is for 10 years. Therefore, it is of upmost importance that you keep yourself as informed as possible, so as not to do anything to inadvertently violate your immigration status. In particular, be mindful to:

  1. Maintain full time enrollment during autumn and spring semester, and summer when required. If you think you must drop below full time, speak with an immigration coordinator at OIA immediately.
  2. Only engage in authorized employment. Do not exceed more than 20 hours per week of work on campus while school is in session. Never work off campus without prior authorization from OIA.

For more information, please visit the Policy Memorandum. Ultimately, maintaining legal status is your responsibility, but OIA is here to assist you and answer any questions you may have. You are always welcome to contact us at iss@osu.edu or give us a call at 614-292-6101.