IssueNet Quarterly Summary - January 2018

January 16, 2018


Top Issues

  • H1-B denials and the 60-day window. Multiple cases were reported of F-1 students whose H1B petitions were denied in early October and lost their 60 day grace period (immediate termination). SEVIS Response Center (SRC) refused reactivation requests, stating the grace period was for leaving the US and not for transferring in active status, despite 8CFR regulations to the contrary.
  • SRC refusals of Authorized Early Withdrawal (AEW) reactivation requests. SRC began denying reactivation requests if the student did not request the leave before the start of the term, or if the "date student requested withdrawal" was not before the last attended date, and/or if the last attended date (as opposed to the termination date) was less than 15 calendar days from the student's date of departure. IssueNet posts stated that these stances were not supported by regulation nor by SEVP guidance on AEWs, and did not fit the circumstances under which a student might legitimately find themselves needing an AEW (i.e. sudden death in the family).
  • EAD cards not being received. EAD cards are not reaching students in a timely manner. Either cards are sent back as undeliverable (even when all other correspondence reaches that address) or card is lost in mail. Students are being penalized for this, as USCIS requires a new fee and replacement processing period.
  • Increased scrutiny at consular offices. Several reports of use of the proposed DS-5535 "extreme vetting" form. Several reports of denials out of Bangladesh for not showing full funding (even for those with high scholarship amounts). Several reports in September of those having applied for change of statuses in the US (i.e. B-1 visa to F-1 or R-1 to F-1) being denied F-1 visas upon returning home. Stated reason was overstay on previous visa despite pending COS.

Strength in Reporting

Here is an update of recent actions taken (and some success stories):

  • H1-B Cap Gap denials. NAFSA has inquired with both SEVP and USCIS with regards to this change in practice. Updates and additional agency guidance are being posted to this page.
  • AEW requests: NAFSA met with SEVP management on December 6th to discuss the Authorized Early Withdrawal reports. SRC has begun to again approve reactivation requests in accordance with previous practice and published guidance.
  • EAD mailing issues. NAFSA ISS RP Regulatory Ombuds continue to liaise with USCIS on this issue. Continued IssueNet reports are appreciated.