United States: New Public Charge Rule, published August 14, 2019

Proposed effective date October 15, 2019, https://www.uscis.gov/greencard/public-charge.

  • Under a new regulation, applicants for adjustment of status will undergo a closer review of their personal circumstances to determine whether they have used “or” are likely to need certain federal public benefits in the future.
  • Nonimmigrants (i.e., F-1, J-1, H-1B, O-1, TN, etc.) who have used certain federal public benefits after their admission to the United States may be denied an extension of stay or change of status. 
  • At this point, we understand that it may not impact those with pending applications for adjustment of status, change of status or extensions of stay filed before the above-mentioned effective date.  But you should check with an attorney to review the particulars of your  situation to evaluate potential risks.
  • Some of the benefit programs that are impacted are (SSI, TANF, SNAP, and section 8 vouchers and rental assistance, among others).
  • Feel free to consult with an attorney for more detailed guidance, https://www.uml.edu/Immigration-Resources/legal-help.aspx.   You may also want to check these websites https://www.masslegalservices.org/publiccharge and https://www.ilrc.org/sites/default/files/resources/overview_of_public_charge-20181214.pdf.  This type of information changes regulary, so the best course of action is always to check in with an attorney as per above.
  • The ISSO does not provide official advice on Public Charge matters.

SEVIS TO BEGIN AUTO-TERMINATING OPT/STEM STUDENTS WHO GO OVER THEIR ALLOTTED UNEMPLOYMENT TIME

We are writing to you to inform you of a new SEVIS action. The functionality has been on SEVIS for years, but was never activated.

As you know, F-1 Post-OPT students have a TOTAL of 90 days of unemployment time and 24-Month STEM Extension students receive an additional 60 upon their approval of STEM Extension.

SEVIS will begin terminating the SEVIS record of students who have accrued more than their allotted unemployment time during their OPT period. It is more important now than ever to report your employment as soon as possible.

Post-OPT Reporting Requirements:
Update your SEVIS Portal within 10 days:

  • If there is a change in your US address (also update on SiS)
  • Of your initial employment, change in employment, adding a new employer/ending employment, concurrent employment, etc.

Update the ISSO within 10 days if:

  • There is a change in your immigration status – submit COS E-form
  • If you decide to not use OPT and depart the US – email isso@uml.edu

24-Month STEM Extension Reporting Requirements:

ISSO STEM E-forms:

If you are unsure how many unemployment days you have, go to your SEVP Portal and review your EAD start date, and your employment start/end dates. ISSO cannot provide you with a total of unemployment days you have accrued – you are required to keep track of these. Please also know that the information submitted to the SEVP Portal is not official proof of your employment history. We recommend all students keep documentation from each employer, in case of a USCIS audit. This may be offer letters, resignation letters, paystubs, etc.

Always upload a copy of your latest EAD to the ISSO via EAD E-form. ISSO will review to make sure that SEVIS accurately reflects the same information listed on your card. We have encountered many errors that could potentially cause you future status problems. If you’ve already submitted a card to the ISSO, we have already checked and you need not check again.
If you have any questions, please contact us during our Advising Hours.

USCIS Provides Background Information on Issuance of Return for Evidence (RFE) And on Notice of Intent to Deny (NOID)

On Sept. 6, 2018, the CIS Ombudsman (CISOMB)1 held a stakeholder teleconference to discuss the USCIS “Issuance of Certain RFEs and NOIDs” policy memorandum (PM) that was issued on July 13, 2018. USCIS representatives provided an overview of the memorandum and addressed many questions submitted in advance by the CISOMB. The updated policy went into effect on September 11, 2018. . . click on the following link for full article https://www.uscis.gov/sites/default/files/files/nativedocuments/USCIS_Policy_Update_on_Issuing_RFEs_and_NOIDs.pdf

F-1 “Cap-gap” Status and Work Authorization Extension Only Valid Through Sept. 30, 2018

F-1 students who have an H-1B petition that remains pending on Oct. 1, 2018, risk accruing unlawful presence if they continue to work on or after Oct. 1 (unless otherwise authorized to continue employment), as their “cap-gap” work authorization is only valid through Sept. 30. Due to increased demand for immigration benefits . . . click on the following link for full memo https://www.uscis.gov/news/alerts/f-1-cap-gap-status-and-work-authorization-extension-only-valid-through-sept-30-2018

USCIS Policy Memo on Accrual of Unlawful Presence, Effective 8/9/18 

All non-immigrants must have a valid status at all times while in the U.S. or else they may start to accrue “unlawful presence.”  Accumulation of 180 days of unlawful presence could result in a three-year, re-entry bar to the U.S.  Accumulation of 365+ days of unlawful presence could result in a ten-year, re-entry bar to the U.S. https://www.uscis.gov/legal-resources/unlawful-presence-and-bars-admissibility Students in F/J/M non-immigrant status never accrued unlawful presence but as of 8/9/18 USCIS will be subject to the same rules as other non-immigrant categories.  Do not remain in the U.S. after completion of academic degree, practical training or academic training or beyond any authorized grace period without a new authorized non-immigrant status.  Be sure to comply with any parolee instructions and timelines, when applicable.  Anyone on an UMass Lowell sponsored status (i.e., F-1, J-1, H-1B, O-1, TN, OPT or STEM) may contact our office with any question specific to their UMass Lowell non-immigrant status, https://www.uml.edu/ISSO/Contact/,  all other questions, https://www.uml.edu/ISSO/.

Practical Training (OPT & STEM OPT) and Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is  being scrutinized carefully by USCIS – Check out ISSO’s Employment section and familiarize yourself with the law, https://www.uml.edu/ISSO/Employment/

USCIS Updates its Policy on Filing Bridge Applications for Change of Status, effective 9/16/17

Deciding whether to change your status while remaining in the U.S. through a USCIS Service Center or by applying for a visa from outside of the U.S. at a U.S. Consulate recently got much more difficult.  Non-immigrants applying to change to a different non-immigrant status must be holding a valid non-immigrant status at the time that the USCIS Adjudicator reviews their Change of Status petition.  Petitions may take 7-12+ months and maintaining status during that time can be difficult.   ISSO advises that all Change of Status cases be carefully discussed with an immigration attorney, who can help assess the risks between a Change of Status through a USCIS Service Center or through travel, https://www.uml.edu/immigration-resources/.  Please also refer to the following guidance on changing to a nonimmigrant F or M student status.  

 

USCIS Adjudicators will have the ability to outright deny a petition, Effective 9/11/18 without issuing a Request for Evidence (RFE) or Notice of Intent to Deny (NOID) 7/13/18 Policy Memo.  Also check the NAFSA RFE and NOID policy.  Be certain all applications are complete, signed, and checks written properly to avoid an outright denial which could lead to unlawful presence.

 

USCIS plans to expand Policy on Initiating Removal Proceedings

Policy Memorandum

Non-immigrants not in valid status the day a petition/application is denied could now find themselves in removal (deportation) proceedings once this new policy goes into effect.  Also review the NAFSA article on USCIS Expands Policy on Initiating Removal Proceedings. 

Travel Ban Advisory Update

NAFSA Indefinite Entry Bar Under Executive Order

Check the ISSO travel section if you are on an UMass Lowell sponsored F-1, J-1, H-1B, O-1, or TN status, https://www.uml.edu/ISSO/Travel/

Critical June & July Immigration Updates

June 28, 2018    USCIS Updates Policy on Notice to Appear,

https://www.uscis.gov/news/news-releases/uscis-updates-notice-appear-policy-guidance-support-dhs-enforcement-priorities.  Feel free to consult with an immigration attorney with any question you may have on this, https://www.uml.edu/Immigration-Resources/.

August 8, 2018 USCIS Policy Memo on Accrual of Unlawful Presence

USCIS will carefully monitor maintenance of status for all non-immigrants on all non-immigrant categories.  Accumulation of 180 days of unlawful presence could result in a three-year, re-entry bar to the U.S.  Accumulation of 180+ days of unlawful presence could result in a ten-year, re-entry bar to the U.S.

All non-immigrants must have a valid status at all times while in the U.S.  Do not remain in the U.S. after completion of academic degree, practical training or academic training or beyond any authorized grace period without a new authorized non-immigrant status.  Be sure to comply with any parolee instructions and timelines, when applicable.  Anyone on an UMass Lowell sponsored status (i.e., F-1, J-1, H-1B, O-1, TN, OPT or STEM) may contact our office with any question specific to their UMass Lowell non-immigrant status, https://www.uml.edu/ISSO/Contact/,  all other questions, https://www.uml.edu/ISSO/.