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. 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,,  all other questions,

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,

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,  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,