February 11, 2019

Last August, the USCIS announced policy changes that dramatically impacts foreign students in the US on visas, particularly those on the F, M, and J visas. In short, the changes impact the way that those on visas can accrue “unlawful presence” in the United States, which can lead to consequences such as a 3-year or a 10-year bar. Additionally, visa holders with unlawful presence can be deported.

Foreign students can even begin accruing unlawful presence time without knowing it! Regardless of whether they are informed by the government or not (and its likely that they are not), overstaying the visa unintentionally can lead to dramatic consequences.

Now that it has been more than 180 days since the start of the policy changes, the first waves of visa holders affected are now facing a 3-year ban. Maintaining unlawful presence for a year can result in a 10-year ban.

It is important for visa holders to continuously confirm their lawful status in the US in the face of ever-changing laws and regulation. If you are a F, M, or J visa holder who is concerned about your status, it is important to seek qualified legal assistance as soon as possible!

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