Accruing Unlawful Presence
On August 9, 2018 USCIS issued new policy guidance on the accrual of unlawful presence for F, M and J nonimmigrants. Under the new policy, USCIS will begin counting unlawful presence when there is a violation of status. The violation may be intentional or unintentional, knowing or unknowing. Accrual of unlawful presence days begins the day after a violation occurs. Accrual of more than 180 days of unlawful presence triggers a bar to reentry to the U.S. of three years. Accrual of more than 365 days of unlawful presence triggers a bar to reentry to the U.S. of ten years.
Maintaining lawful status has always been critical, but this change in policy makes the penalties for a violation of status much more severe. OVIS works closely with our F-1 student population to monitor student data reported in SEVIS, advise students on maintaining valid status including reporting obligations, travel and employment restrictions, and to communicate changing policy and regulations. Students, in turn, are responsible for understanding and following the rules and regulations governing their F-1 status.
If you have questions about maintaining your status, contact your OVIS advisor.