Legal Status

This section will describe some of the basics about students’ legal status, as well as assist with any change of status or regain of status issues. Please remember that it is always important to discuss these issues with an advisor, and that this webpage is to serve as a helpful guideline to frequently asked questions.

ISSS is here to advise students on matters related to their F-1 or J-1 status. In certain circumstances, the ability of ISSS to appropriately and accurately advise may be limited. This is not a reflection of our desire to assist students, but simply a limit of our immigration expertise regarding matters related to a status outside of F-1 and J-1 or other extenuating situations. Students who are in these situations will be advised to obtain the services of an immigration attorney. Our office not able to recommend a lawyer, but students can go to or to look for legal assistance.

Read about the Department of Homeland Security’s proposal to eliminate Duration of Status

On September 25, 2020, DHS posted a proposed rule to eliminate Duration of Status, or D/S for F and J students and their dependents. Proposals to change Federal Regulations must go through a public notification and comment period. Comments for this proposal are due on or before October 26, 2020.

Some very simplified, but important things to know about this proposed rule:

  • F-1 and J-1 students would only be admitted to the U.S. for either 2 or 4 years, depending on country of citizenship, field of study, and institution characteristics.
  • Students would need to apply for an “Extension of Stay” through USCIS if their program of study extends beyond the expiration date of their authorized stay.
  • The grace period for F-1 students would be reduced from 60 days to 30 days.
  • Current students in the U.S. with D/S would be transitioned to a fixed date of admission in the U.S. on the date the final rule becomes effective, not to exceed 4 years from the final rule’s effective date.
    • This means you do not need to travel home to get a new visa if your visa is or will expire, as long as your I-20 will still be valid.
  • Students would need to file for an Extension of Stay” in order to participate in OPT, and would not be allowed to participate in CPT or OPT work authorization while an “Extension of Stay” request is pending.

You can read about the proposal, learn how to comment, and find links to do so at NAFSA: Proposal to Replace Duration of Status

Please remember:

This is only a proposal. It has not been approved to take effect and could change or even be discarded, depending on the comments and review outcomes. ISSS will keep you informed via our website and newsletter.