No More “Bridging the Gap” for Students
On July 20, 2021, USCIS issued a policy alert stating that applicants who are in the process of changing their status to F-1 no longer need to apply to change or extend their nonimmigrant status to “bridge the gap” between the two statuses.
Previously, applicants who wanted to change their status to F-1 had to apply to extend their nonimmigrant status until 30 days before the F-1 program start date. F-1 students had to “bridge the gap” and maintain nonimmigrant status until 30 days before the program start date.
Now, USCIS has announced that it will grant the grant the change of status to F-1 effective the day it is approved. Applicants will no longer need to extend their current nonimmigrant status because their F-1 status is effective the day of approval. This limits costs to the applicants and to the government. USCIS will be issuing a new Form I-539 to reflect this change in policy.
The full policy memo is accessible here: https://www.uscis.gov/sites/default/files/document/policy-manual-updates/20210720-StudentsChangeOfStatus.pdf