On July 20, 2021, USCIS announced that filing a bridge petition is no longer required for applicants who are changing status to F-1. This is extremely positive change for all applicants who are changing their status to F-1, as under the new guidance, they no longer have to file bridge the gap petitions while their change of status petitions are pending. This will save applicants both time and money on the filing fees.
Under the previous guidance, if you were changing status to F-1 status , USCIS would not approve the petition if your status expired more than 30 days before the program start date. This meant that you had to maintain your status during the whole time the change of status petition was pending, and in many cases you had to file “bridge the gap petition” (in some cases even multiple of them). Please see more about the previous guidance when you click here.
USCIS will now no longer require submission of the bridge petitions if 2 conditions are met:
- You had a valid status at the time of filing the F-1 Change of status petition, and
- You are otherwise eligible for the F-1 change of status.
If USCIS approves the petition, it will be effective from the date of the approval. However, if it’s approved more than 30 days before the program start date, you must make sure not to violate your status during that time (e.g. engaging in unauthorized employment).
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