Consular Officers May Waive Interviews for Some International Students Through End of 2021

On September 14, 2021, DOS expanded categories of visa applications that can be adjudicated without an in-person interview. DOS has authorized consular officers through the end of 2021 to expand the categories of F, M, and “academic J visa applicants” (students, professors, research scholars, short-term scholars, or specialists ) whose applications can be adjudicated without an in-person...

National Interest Exceptions Available for Visitors from China, Iran, India, Brazil, South Africa, Schengen Area, United Kingdom, and Ireland

Update 08/18/2021 DOS updated its FAQ regarding the extension of validity to 12 months from the date of approval and for multiple entries for National Interest Exceptions (NIEs) for travelers from China, Iran, Brazil, South Africa, the Schengen Area, the United Kington, Ireland, and India. Update Post 07/07/2021 The DOS on 06/29/2021 extended the validity of National Interest Exceptions (NIEs)...

Special Employment Authorization for Burmese F-1 Students

DHS will suspend certain requirements governing employment for Burmese F-1 students. This will provide relief to citizens of Burma who are lawful F–1 nonimmigrant students so that they may request employment authorization, work an increased number of hours while school is in session, and reduce their course load while continuing to maintain F–1 nonimmigrant student status. F–1 nonimmigrant...

ICE Will Continue to Allow Distance Learning in Excess of Regulatory Limits

F-1 students can breathe a sigh of relief. ICE will continue to allow students to engage in distance learning in excess of regulatory limits due to the ongoing covid pandemic. Please note that the guidance only applies to students who were actively enrolled at U.S. school on March 9, 2020, and are otherwise complying with the terms of their nonimmigrant status, whether from inside the U.S. or...

Special Employment Authorization for Venezuelan or Syrian F-1 Students

DHS just released notices that it has suspended certain requirements governing employment for Venezuelan or Syrian F-1 students. These notices provide relief to citizens of Syria or Venezuela who are lawful F–1 nonimmigrant students so the students may request employment authorization, work an increased number of hours while school is in session, and reduce their course load while continuing...

F-1 OPT May Now be Filed Online via Online Form I-765

USCIS announced today that F-1 students seeking optional practical training (OPT) can now file online if they are filing under one of these categories: (c)(3)(A) – Pre-Completion OPT;(c)(3)(B) – Post-Completion OPT; and(c)(3)(C) – 24-Month Extension of OPT for science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) students. Keep in mind that the online I-765 is only for OPT. If one files...

Cap Gap Extension is Now Automaticaly Added to the Record of F-1 Students

Those who just won the H-1B lottery will receive some more good news. Cap gap Extension is a benefit that many F-1 students take advatange of as a beneficiary of a receipted H-1B petition. The benefit helps those whose F-1 status is expiring between April 1 and September 29, and extends their F-1 and, if eligible, OPT to September 30 so that there is no gap between the end of their F-1 and the...

Flexibilities Announced for OPT Applicants

Update 07/29/2021 Pursuant to a court order, these flexibilities have been extended to include applications received from Oct. 1, 2020, through Oct. 31, 2021. For applicants who timely filed Form I-765 for OPT and STEM OPT and whose applications were later rejected, USCIS will accept a refiled Form I-765 as filed on the original filing date if: The original, timely filed application was received...

OPT and STEM OPT Ruled Valid

Foreign students can breathe a sigh of relief as a US District Court Judge concluded that DHS did not exceed its statutory authority under the INA in issuing the 2016 STEM Optional Practical Training (OPT) rule, and thus found that both the 12-month OPT and the STEM OPT extension programs are lawful. OPT grants foreign student upon graduation the opportunity to work lawfully for one year and...