U.S. Customs and Immigration Services recently announced changes to their policy regarding violation of status and the accrual of unlawful presence. While these changes will not affect the majority of our students, it is important to be aware of potential consequences should you violate your F-1 or J-1 status.
What Are the Changes?
Effective August 9, 2018, if you violate your F-1 or J-1 status, you will begin to accrue unlawful presence the day after you violate your status. Previously, you would only accrue unlawful presence if an immigration official or judge found that you had violated your status. Essentially, violating your status now poses a higher consequence.
However, if you submit an application for Reinstatement in a timely manner after the violation, you will not accrue unlawful presence while the application is pending. In this case, if Reinstatement is approved, any accrued unlawful presence will be forgiven. However, if Reinstatement is not approved, your accrued unlawful presence will remain, and you will continue to accrue unlawful presence the day after your application was denied. As such, it is important that you contact ISSS as soon as you are aware you have violated your status.
How Will This Affect Me?
The good news is you can avoid such violations by maintaining your status and communicating with ISSS anytime there are changes to your program or when you would like work authorizations. If you accrue a significant number of unlawful presence, you could be barred from entering the United States for 3 to 10 years or even permanently.
What Should I Do If I Violate My Status?
If you find yourself out of status, please schedule an appointment with an International Student Advisor as soon as possible (https://utexas-insight.symplicity.com/) or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org