USCIS Reminds F-1 Students About Actions Warranting Automatic Termination of OPT
On May 18th, USCIS issued a reminder to F-1 Students on Optional Practical Training (OPT) that transferring to another school or beginning study at another educational level automatically terminates the student’s OPT and corresponding Employment Authorization Document (EAD).
Once an F-1 student’s EAD is terminated, they are no longer authorized to continue work in the United States. It is considered a violation of lawful nonimmigrant status for a student to continue to work after their EAD is terminated. USCIS states that remaining in the U.S. in violation of lawful nonimmigrant status could lead to accrual of unlawful presence. Accrual of unlawful presence in the U.S. can cause an individual to be barred from remaining and reentering the country.
Currently, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) informs USCIS of the F-1 Student’s termination date. USCIS has updated its systems and will begin to enter EAD termination dates after being notified by SEVP. USCIS does intend to notify impacted students and provide them with a chance to correct any errors that may have occurred in the record through their designated school official (DSO).
This reminder may stem from USCIS’s May 11th policy memorandum regarding F-1 Students and when unlawful presence begins to accrue. Although the May 11th memo is not yet in effect, it does highlight how USCIS intends to change how it calculates unlawful presence for F-1 Students who have violated their status. When more information is received, additional updates will be provided.
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