USCIS Updates Policy for F and M Student Nonimmigrant Classifications

Jan 9, 2024 | UCIS

uscis updates policy

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has recently issued crucial policy guidance that significantly impacts F and M student nonimmigrant classifications. This comprehensive update outlines USCIS’s role in processing applications related to employment authorization, change of status, extension of stay, and reinstatement of status for international students and their dependents in the United States.

USCIS Updates Policy for F and M Student Nonimmigrant Classifications

Consolidation of Existing Policy

The issued guidance consolidates and clarifies existing policies, aiming to provide a welcomed sense of clarity for both international students and U.S. educational institutions. This blog post will delve into the key aspects covered in the USCIS guidance, shedding light on important topics such as eligibility requirements, school transfers, practical training, and on- and off-campus employment.

Key Points from the USCIS Guidance:

  1. Foreign Residence Requirement Clarification
    • The guidance emphasizes the importance of F and M students maintaining a foreign residence they do not intend to abandon. Notably, it addresses scenarios where students are beneficiaries of permanent labor certification applications or immigrant visa petitions, highlighting the possibility of demonstrating an intention to depart after a temporary period of stay.
  2. STEM OPT Extension and Startup Employment:
    • For F students seeking an extension of optional practical training (OPT) based on STEM degrees, the guidance permits employment with startup companies. Specific conditions, including adherence to training plan requirements, good standing with E-Verify, and fair compensation, are outlined.

Understanding F and M Student Classifications:

  • F-1: This classification enables noncitizens to enter the U.S. as full-time students in various academic institutions or language training programs.
  • M-1: Encompassing students in established vocational or nonacademic programs, excluding language training programs.


In a nutshell, make sure you stay in the loop and feel confident by keeping up with the newest USCIS policy updates for F and M student classifications. This rundown aims to break down the important changes in a way that’s easy to understand, so you, as an international student or part of an educational institution, can handle these updates with ease.

For the full USCIS policy updates, eligibility details, and more, visit the USCIS official website.