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USCIS Releases New Policy Guidance For International Students Good news for students seeking US institutions!

USCIS Releases New Policy Guidance For International Students

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has recently updated guidelines concerning international students within the F and M student classifications in its policy manual. This new guidance provides consolidated clarity on existing policies for international students.

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Additionally, it covers topics like eligibility requirements, school transfers, practical training, and on- and off-campus employment. It also clarifies the agency’s role in adjudicating applications for employment authorization, change of status, extension of stay, and reinstatement of status for these students and their dependents in the United States.


A significant example of this additional clarification is related to F and M students involved in the permanent labor certification application process (PERM) and other similar immigrant petitions. For such students to sustain their visa classifications, they must show their intent to leave the United States following their temporary periods of stay, typically after the end of their degree program, along with any period of practical training.

The guidance now clarifies that as long as F and M students maintain a foreign residence that they do not intend to abandon, they may still be able to show their intention to leave the United States after a temporary period of stay, despite being the recipients of such immigrant petitions. USCIS notes that it will consider all facts and circumstances when deciding if a student has successfully demonstrated their continued intent to depart.

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Additionally, the updated guidance provides further details on startup companies seeking to employ F students in expanding their optical practical training (OPT) based on their degree in a science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) field. Per the updated policy manual, so long as the employer adheres to the training plan requirements submitted on behalf of the F student, remains in good standing with E-Verify, and provides compensation equivalent to that provided to similarly situated U.S. workers, among other regulatory requirements, then an F-1 student may be employed by a startup business.


These policy guidance updates will benefit international students and U.S. educational institutions, enabling more straightforward interpretation and insight into the considerations made by USCIS officers when determining eligibility for F and M student classifications and when evaluating employment options.

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