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Legacy Immigration and Naturalization Service Operations Instructions - OI 214.2(f)

Source: USCIS web site. Text downloaded and formatted by NAFSA on November 6, 2017. Page since removed or relocated on USCIS website. Link now points to the archived version of the page on the Wayback Machine.

Legacy INS Operations Instructions are not maintained by successor bureaus within DHS. Many provisions have been superseded by subsequent laws and policies, and the INS OIs no longer serve as current guidance to DHS or to the public. NAFSA reproduces them here for historic context and research purposes.


(f) Contents of OI 214.2(f)

(1) Admission of student

(i) Admission of F-1 students (and accompanying F-2 dependents)

without Form I-20

(ii) Admission number

(iii) Unknown admission number

(2) I-20 ID copy

(i) General

(ii) Replacement of a lost I-20 ID copy

(iii) Additional space for endorsement

(3) Spouse and minor children following to join student: (Reserved)

(4) Temporary absence

(i) Definition of temporary absence

(ii) Endorsement of DSO on page 4 of Form I-20

(iii) Issuance of duplicate pages 3 and 4

(5) Duration of status

(i) General

(ii) Conversion to duration of status

(6) Full course of study Review of the decision by DSO to recommend a less than full course of study

(7) Extension of stay

(i) General

(ii) Grace period for students whose status pre-dates May 22, 1987

(iii) Extension of stay granted under the eight consecutive academic-year rule is conditioned upon normal progression by the

student in an educational level

(iv) Request for extension of stay after an extended period in an educational level

(v) Noncompliance with the extension of stay procedures

(8) School transfer

(i) General

(ii) Students who are not pursuing a full course of study

(iii) Change school after admission

(iv) Endorsement of transfer by DSO

(v) Timely reporting of the transfer

(9) Employment

(i) On-campus employment

(A) Definition

(B) Scholarship, fellowship, assistantship, or postdoctoral appointment

(ii) Off-campus employment

(A) One year work bar

(B) Economic necessity due to unforeseen circumstances

(10) Practical training

(i) Eligibility

(ii) Duration of practical training

(iii) Required practical training for candidates of a degree or a diploma

(iv) Duration of curricular practical training

(v) 50% deduction for part-time curricular practical training

(vi) Certification by DSO of the unavailability of comparable training experience

(vii) Resumption of studies after a period of post graduation practical training

(viii) Unused practical training time.

(ix) Change in employers during authorized practical training.

(x) Notation on I-20 ID by INS Officer or DSO.

(11) Decision on application for extension, permission to accept or continue off-campus employment or practical training.

(i) Form I-538 and application fee.

(ii) Action by DSO on Form I-538.

(iii) Notification of action by INS on Form I-538.

(12) Reinstatement to student status.

(13) School code suffix on Form I-20A-B.

(14) Supplemental instructions.

(i) About the operations instructions.

(ii) I-20 ID (Student) Copy.

(iii) Extension of stay.

(iv) Departure of short duration.

(v) Off-campus employment authorization.

(vi) Curricular practical training.

(vii) Split post-graduation practical training.

(viii) Revised Form I-20A-B.


(1) Admission of Student.

(i) Admission of F-1 students (and accompanying F-2 dependents) without Form I-20. A bona fide student may be admitted or readmitted as a nonimmigrant for 30 days if, for a valid reason, he or she does not have a Form I-20A-B. In that case, a Service officer will issue a Form I-515 and instruct the student to obtain a properly completed Form I-20A-B from the school the student is attending or intends to attend. The student must submit the Form I-20A-B to the INS office having jurisdiction over the school wit hin the 30-day period to apply for extension of stay. Upon approval, the student and the accompanying dependents will be given an extension of stay for duration of status.

(ii) Admission number. Since the admission number is a permanent record and is used as the key search element and identifier of a student in the automated student-school database (STSC), it is necessary to preserve it for accurate data entry and record keeping. Therefore, the Service recommends that the designated school official write the student's admission number, if known, on any new Forms I-20 issued. Similarly, Service officers should copy the admission number, if known, on any new Form I-94 issued subs equent to a student's initial admission.

(iii) Unknown admission number. When admitting a student who does not have an admission number, the Service officer should give the student the admission number from the new Form I-94. This new admission number will be consolidated electronically under the original admission number when it is entered into the automated student school system.

(2) I-20 ID Copy

(i) General. The admission number on the Form I-20 ID is a permanent record. A student is expected to keep his or her Form I-20 ID copy indefinitely. A student who has lost the I-20 ID Copy may request a replacement copy from the Service. To replace a lost I-20 with the applicable fee to the Service office having jurisdiction over the location of the school.

(ii) Replacement of a lost I-20 ID Copy. Upon readmission after a temporary absence from the United States, a student who has lost the I-20 ID Copy may be issued a new one without filing a Form I-102. (An F-2 dependent should not be issued a Form I-20 ID Copy.)

(iii) Additional space for endorsement. To comply with the requirements of employment verification pursuant to 8 CFR 274a , Service officers and designated school officials are expected to endorse the I-20 ID Copy to provide specific information concerning the authorized practical training. If there is not enough space, endorsements may be continued on a new Form I-20 ID Copy by attaching it to the one initially issued to the F-1 student by the Service at the time of admission.

(3) Spouse and minor children following to join student. (Reserved)

(4) Temporary absence.

(i) Definition of temporary absence. For the purpose of admitting or readmitting an F-1 student or the student's F-2 dependents with an endorsed page 4 of a Form I-20A-B, a temporary absence from the United States is defined as an absence of less than five months.

(ii) Endorsement of DSO on Page 4 of Form I-20.

When a student fails to obtain an endorsement on page 4 of Form I-20A-B from the designated school official for reentry after a temporary absence from the United States, a Service officer may issue a Form I-515 and admit the student for 30 days, as provided by 8 CFR 214.2(f) (1) if the student is otherwise admissible. The accompanying F-2 dependents may also be admitted for a 30 day period under the same provision.

(iii) Issuance of duplicate pages 3 and 4. If a student loses the student copy (pages 3 and 4) of the initial Form I-20 A-B, a designated school official may issue duplicate pages provided that they are in all respects identical to the initial pages.

(5) Duration of status.

(i) General. Any F-1 student admitted on or after May 22, 1987, the date on which the new regulations took effect, is admitted for duration of status. An F-1 student is considered in status for the entire length of time during which the student is enrolled as a full time student in an educational program plus any authorized period of practical training and an additional sixty days to prepare for departure.

Under this provision, a student may continue from one educational level to another, such as progressing from high school to a bachelor's program or a bachelor's program to a master's program, etc., simply by invoking the procedures for transfer schools as provided by 8 CFR 214.2(f) (8).

For the purpose of this paragraph, a student who is taking a less than full-time load because of illness or other valid medical reasons is considered in status for the duration of the illness or the medical condition. Similarly, any student who takes less than a full-time load on the advice of the designated school official for valid academic reasons is also considered to be in status.

(ii) Conversion to duration of status. Any bona fide nonimmigrant student who was admitted in the F-1 classification or granted a change of status to that of an F-1 student before May 22, 1987, is automatically converted to duration of status under this rule. Any dependent spouse and children who are maintaining their F-2 status are also converted to duration of status automatically.

Any F-1 student or F-2 spouse and children who are converted to duration of status under this rule will be issued a new I-94 at the time they apply to the INS for extension of stay or seek readmission after a temporary absence from the United States.

(6) Full course of study.

Review of the decision by DSO to recommend a less than full course of study. Service regulations at 8 CFR 214.2(f) (6) (v) gives DSOs the authority to recommend a less than full course of study to students who have not yet adjusted linguistically and culturally to this country. But the Service reserves the authority to review and approve any such permissions granted by the DSO.

The current regulations require minimal contact between the student and the Service after the student;s initial admission to the United States.

There are no established procedures for systematic review of recommendations made by DSOs pursuant to paragraph 8 CFR 214.2(f)(6)(v). The Service may review these decisions when an F-1 student makes contact with the Service -- for example, when the student files an application for benefits or extension of stay. Once the Service has endorsed a permission granted by the DSO, it will not be reviewed again. Only decisions made subsequent to the previous review are subject to examination in the student's la ter contact with the INS.

Where the INS finds the DSO's decision inappropriate, it is the responsibility of the DSO to demonstrate that the permission to take a less than full load was granted in good faith. Inability to offer a reasonable explanation will be construed as intentional abuse of the student school program. In that case, the INS will advise the student that he or she is out of status and will consider possible action against the institution involved, as prescribed in 214.4(b). In the absence of proof of abuse, the INS will not take action against either the student or the school.

(7) Extension of stay.

(i) General. As of May 22, 1987, the effective date of the student regulations, all students who have been in an educational level for an extended period as prescribed by 8 CFR 214.2(f) (7) (ii) or in student status for eight consecutive academic years must apply for extension of stay regardless of their initial admission date.

Students who need to apply for extension of stay should do so at least 15 days but no more than 60 days before the expiration of their current authorized stay. The application on a Form I-538 with the applicable fee should be submitted to the INS office having jurisdiction over the location of the school the student is attending.

Failure to file a timely application for extension of stay will result in the loss of student status. In that case, a student will have to request to be reinstated to student status in accordance with the provisions of 8 CFR 214.2(f) (12) . An application for extension of stay may be filed concurrently with a request for reinstatement.

(ii) Grace period for students whose status pre-dates May 22, 1987. To allow sufficient time for students and schools to adjust to the regulatory changes and to phase into the regulatory changes and to phase into a full implementation of the new extension of stay procedures, students who have been in F-1 status since before May 22, 1987, will be given a grace period for compliance with this rule. No penalties will be imposed on students for late application for extension of stay until Oct. 1, 1988.

(iii) Extension of stay granted under the eight consecutive academic-year rule is conditioned upon normal progression by the student in an educational level. A student who is admitted for duration of status is not required to have his stay extended until eight consecutive years have elapsed, provided that the student is taking a full load and progressing at a normal pace toward his final educational objective, e.g., master's degree, ph.D., etc. Normal progression is defined as completing a given academic or edu cational level within the time limit prescribed by 8 CFR 214.2(f) (7) (ii) . Extension of stay will be granted in eight-year intervals to students who are maintaining status. A student who applies for extension of stay in a timely fashion after spending an extended period in an educational level is considered to be maintaining status.

A student who fails to apply for extension of stay after spending an extended period in an educational level is considered out of status and will automatically lose the remaining period of the authorized stay. Any student who loses a previously granted extension of stay in the aforementioned situation may, however, request to be reinstated to student status. Upon establishing to the Service that there are valid academic or medical reasons for exceeding the time limit, the student may have the lost portion of the previously authorized stay restored.

(iv) Request for extension of stay after an extended period in an educational level. A student who applies for extension of stay after spending an extended period in an educational level will not be granted an additional eight-year extension. Under the extended period rule, a student will only be granted extension for the remaining time in an eight-year period. The student must apply for extension of stay again at the end of the eight-year period to continue the educational program. At that point, the studen t may be granted an extension for another eight years under the eight-year in-status rule.

(v) Noncompliance with the extension of stay procedures. On and after October 1, 1988, any student who fails to apply for extension of stay pursuant to 8 CFR 214.2(f) (7) of this section will be considered out of status whether or not the student is still pursuing a full time load. A student who is out of status is deportable from the United States and is not eligible for benefits such as part-time employment, practical training and school transfer. Any request for such benefits should be denied whether subm itted to the designated school official or to the Service. Benefits may be resumed only after the student has been reinstated to status by the Service as provided by 8 CFR 214.2(f) (12). Once reinstated, the student may continue attendance at the same school or transfer to a different school.

(8) School transfer.

(i) General. A bona fide nonimmigrant student may transfer to a different school through the notification procedure provided in this paragraph. The new school may issue a I-20A-B to a student after verifying the student's eligibility as provided by 8 CFR 214.2(f)(8)(i) .

After beginning classes at the new school, the transfer student is expected to complete page 2 of the I-20A-B form and return it to the designated school official for endorsement to effect the transfer. This should be done no later than 15 days from the date the student begins classes. Within 30 days of receipt of the I-20A-B, the designated school official should forward the top page of the I-20A-B to the INS data processing center. The designated school official must follow this procedure closely to en sure proper record keeping and to avoid undue penalty to the student for not maintaining status.

This transfer procedure should be followed by any student seeking attendance at a school other than the one he or she was last authorized to attend.

(ii) Students who are not pursuing a full course of study. With the exception of those who are advised to take less than a full load for valid academic or medical reasons by the DSO, any student who is not pursuing a full course of study at the school he or she is authorized to attend is considered out of status. Such a student may not transfer to a different school without first asking for reinstatement. If reinstated, the student may attend the new school without transfer. While the request for reinstateme nt is pending, the student may be enrolled in school subject to approval or denial of his request for reinstatement. In the case of a denial, the student must drop out of school and depart the United States upon notification by the INS.

(iii) Change school after admission. A nonimmigrant who is initially admitted into the United States as a F-1 student on an I-20A-B form is expected to attend the school that issued the form. A student who attends a different school is considered to be out of status and must seek reinstatement to status under the provisions of 8 CFR 214.2(f) (12) . The student's continued enrollment at the school is subject to approval of the request for reinstatement by the Service.

(iv) Endorsement of transfer by DSO. To effect a transfer, the designated school official must follow the transfer procedures in 8 CFR 214.2(f) (8), including proper verification of the student's nonimmigrant status and academic records at the previous school as well as the student's nonimmigrant status and academic records at the previous school as well as the student's actual attendance at the new school. The designated school official may adopt whatever method is most expedient to accomplish this task. For the purpose of this paragraph, verification of a student's attendance in class is synonymous with that of a student's registration or enrollment.

(v) Timely reporting of the transfer. To complete the transfer procedure, the designated school official must submit pages 1 and 2 of Form I-20A-B within 30 days upon receipt of the form from the transfer student to the INS Data Processing Center at: P.O. Box 140, London, Kentucky 40741, Attn: Student-School Program.

(9) Employment.

(i) On-campus employment.

(A) Definition. On campus employment means employment performed on the school's premises. This includes employment for a commercial firm providing services for students on campus, for example, in the school's bookstore or cafeteria. Working on the school's premises for a commercial firm that does not provide on-campus services for students, however, is not considered on-campus employment, for example, at a construction site for a new school building. On-campus employment must be performed on the school's pr emises and is limited to no more than 20 hours a week while school is in session. An F-1 student may be employed on-campus for duration of status.

(B) Scholarship, fellowship, assistantship or postdoctoral appointment. On-campus employment pursuant to the terms of a scholarship, fellowship, assistantship, or postdoctoral appointment which is a part of the student's academic program must normally be performed on the premises of the school. This type of on-campus employment may also be performed at an off-campus location that is educationally related to the school if it is done in conjunction with the student's educational program.

(ii) Off-campus employment.

(A) One year work bar. An F-1 student is prohibited from engaging in off-campus employment during the first year in the United States. After the first year, a student who has financial difficulties caused by unforeseen factors arising after the student's entry or change to student status may apply for employment authorization. A student who has been temporarily absent from this country for five months or less during the first year is considered to have satisfied the one-year in-status requirement and is elig ible for employment authorization. Any student who has been absent for more than five months during the first year is not eligible for employment authorization, however, until such a student has been in status for another full year.

(B) Economic necessity due to unforeseen circumstances. A student may be granted employment authorization if he or she can establish that the economic necessity is caused by factors beyond the student's control, such as loss of financial aid (scholarship, etc.) or on-campus employment, substantial fluctuations in the value of currency or exchange rate, inordinate increases in tuition and living costs, unexpected changes in the financial condition of the student's source of support, medical bills, and other une xpected expenses.

(10) Practical training.

(i) Eligibility. Under the provisions of 8 CFR 214.2(f) (10) , employment in the student's field of study for the purpose of practical training is made available to students both before and after the completion of their studies. A student must have been in status for at least nine consecutive months to be eligible for participation in any type of practical training.

This nine month in-status requirement is also applicable to students in curricular practical training programs, such as alternate work-study, internships, and cooperative education. Students who have been in full-time curricular practical training for six months or longer are not eligible for more practical training after completion of studies.

Students who are taking a less than full course of study on the advice of the designated school official are considered in status and are not precluded from participation in practical training if they are also otherwise eligible.

(ii) Duration of practical training. A student may be granted employment for practical training for an aggregate of 12 months before completing the educational program and for an additional 12 months of practical training after completing the educational program.

Pre-graduation practical training (including curricular practical training) and post-graduation practical training are two separate categories. A student should not be granted practical training exceeding a total of 12 months for each category.

(iii) Required practical training for candidates of a degree or a diploma. According to 8 CFR 214.2(f)(10)(i)(A)(2) , a student who is enrolled in an educational program that requires practical training of all candidates for a degree or diploma may be granted employment authorization by the designated school official. This provision is designed for short duration interships that are an integral part of the established curriculum or educational program. Students in these programs typically are required to complete practical training before they are issued a degree or diploma.

This intership may be optional under some circumstances. For example, a master's degree candidate may opt to undertake a period of practical training in lieu of writing a thesis, etc., to satisfy a degree requirement. An elective internship that is not required for the attainment of the degree or diploma is considered curricular practical training and is excluded from this category.

(iv) Duration of curricular practical training.

A student who engages in curricular practical training for more than than six months in the aggregate is precluded from participation in further training after completion of studies. An academic student enrolled in a curricular practical training program is limited to a total of 12 months of training time. The only exception is where the student's academic curriculum requires more than 12 months of training, and the student is unable to complete the educational program without completing the required trai ning.

(v) 50% deduction for part-time curricular practical training. The time a student is in curricular practical training should be deducted from the training time permitted before graduation. For a student engaging in full time off-campus employment as a part of the training program, the entire period of training time is deductable. Should a curricular practical training program require instructions or coursework along with part-time off campus employment, a 50% deduction is allowed in the calculation of actual training time. The 50% rate of deduction is only applicable to part-time off-campus employment that is 20 hours or less per week. For example, a student who works 10 hours a week for four months in a work-study program is only allowed a 50% deduction (two months out of four), and a student who works 30 hours a week for four months must deduct the whole amount (four months).

(vi) Certification by DSO of the unavailability of comparable training experience designated school official may grant employment authorization for practical training to eligible students, as provided by 8 CFR 214.2(f) (10) (i). When authorizing employment for practical training, the DSO must certify on a Form I-538 that comparable employment is not available in the country of the student's foreign residence and that it is directly related to the student's field of study. Certification by the DSO to this effec t is required of all students seeking employment for practical training except for students attending a school which makes practical training a mandatory part of its curriculum.

(vii) Resumption of studies after a period of post graduation practical training. A student may opt to split up the two periods of post-graduation practical training between two educational programs. For example; after graduating from a master's program, a student may wish to have six months of practical training before resuming studies in a ph.D. program. *In that case, the student can request to reserve the second period of practical training for use after the ph.D. program.

Any student who desires to split up the post-graduation practical training may ask the DSO to endorse the I-20 ID to that effect upon registration for the new educational program. Then the student may apply for the second period of practical training by filing an I-538 explaining all the facts with the INS after completing the new educational program.

* A student who is engaging in practical training is considered in status. To resume full-time studies in a new educational program after a period of post-graduation practical training, the student only has to invoke the transfer procedure.

(viii) Unused practical training time. An unused portion of employment authorization may not be reclaimed at a later date. If a student stops employment for any reason before the authorization expires, the remaining time may not be credited for later use. For example, a student who resumes a full course of study after three months of post-graduation practical training may not ask for credit for the remaining portion of the six months authorized for first-period practical training.

(ix) Change in employers during authorized practical training. An F-1 student may change employers during the authorized period of practical training. Any new employment must meet the requirements provided for in 8 CFR 214.2(f)(10) .

(x) Notation on I-20 ID by INS Officer or DSO.

For the implementation of part 274 - the control of employment of aliens--of the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986, the INS regulations at 8 CFR 274a require that a Service officer or a designated school official endorse the I-20 ID Copy for practical training to give the following information:

  • The type of training authorized, e.g., pre-graduation practical training, curricular practical training, first period practical training post graduation, etc.
  • the period of time during which the training is authorized, from _to _.
  • The occupation or field in which employment is authorized.
  • The name, title and signature of the authorizing official, and
  • The school code (location) and date of authorization.

The I-20 ID Copy should be given back to the student after endorsement. There is no need to send it to the Service data processing centre.

(11) Decision on application for extension, permission to accept or continue off-campus employment or practical training.

(i) Form I-538 and application fee. Any student applying to the Service for extension of stay, part-time off-campus employment or second period of practical training must submit a Form I-538 and the fee prescribed by 8 CFR 103.7 . A fee is not required, when the I-538 is submitted by the designated school official to the INS data processing center as a notification of employment authorization for practical training.

(ii) Action by DSO on Form I-538. DSOs should check the appropriate box on the I-538 form to indicate the decision made on th student's application. for approvals, the DSO should check the box indicating employment authorization and fill in the dates to show the period of time during which training is authorized. For denials, the DSO should check the box to show that the application for training is denied. In either case, the DOS should sign his or her name in the space reserved for official use, and write i n the date of action and the school code.

(iii) Notification of action by INS on Form I-538. When an application is approved, the Service officer will endorse the Form I-20 ID Copy and return it to the student in a window envelope using the address label on Form I-538. If the student is represented by an attorney, Form I-542 will be used in lieu of the address label.

If the application is denied, Form I-541 will be used to notify the student of the Service decision. The student's I-20 ID Copy and a Form I-438, if applicable, should be enclosed. Whenever an application for extension of stay is denied, a Service officer should note any voluntary departure granted on the student's form I-20 ID Copy.

On the request of a designated school official, the district director may furnish the school with a copy of Form I-541 or I-542. The student or the designated school official may also request that the student's I-20 ID Copy be returned care of the designated school official.

(12) Reinstatement to student status.

A request for reinstatement must be accompanied by a detailed written statement pursuant to requirements outlined in this paragraph. It is recommended, but not required, that the student submit a Form I-538 without fee to expedite a decision in the case. If the student's statement does not give sufficient information for a decision, the officer considering the request may ask for a Form I-538.

(13) School code suffix on Form I-20A-B. (Reserved)

(14) Supplimental [sic] instructions.

(i) Operations instructions. The purpose of the O.I.s is primarily to amplify an interpret the regulations as well as providing instructions or procedures where needed for the Service's officers. What the O.I.s provide are the guiding principles for adjudications rather than specific instructions for exceptional situations. Service officers are given the flexibility to exercise discretion in dealing with exceptional situations.

Therefore, the O.I.s should not be viewed as only a handbook on procedures. The O.I.'s are bound by the language of the regulations that they interpret as the regulations must conform to the statutes. The O.I.s may not contradict or amend the laws. Thus, the O.I.s may not be used to make what should be regulatory changes.

(ii) I-20 ID (Student) Copy. The copy (pages 3 and 4) of the new I-20 A-B will replace the old yellow I-20 ID card. Employment endorsement will be made on page 4 of the new Form I-20 A-B, which is also the new I-20 ID (Student) Copy. Replacement copies of the I-20 ID (Student) copy may be issued by the designated school official without the filing of an I-102 except where off-campus employment or the second period of practical training has been authorized. In that case, the designated school official must fi le a Form I-20 A-B. The designated school official should indicate in item 3 of the I-20 form that the form is issued or the replacement of a lost I-20 ID Copy. Students are expected to keep their I-20 ID copies indefinitely.

(iii) Extension of stay. Extension of stay under the eight year rule is conditioned upon normal progression toward the final educational goal. A student who completes an educational program within the time limits described in 8 CFR 214.2(f) (7) (ii) is progressing toward the final educational objective at a normal pace. A student who exceeds the time limits must establish that there are valid educational or medical reasons for not empleting the program in the prescribed time before the extension will be granted.

The Extension of stay rule is retroactive. Students whose status predates May 22, 1987, were originally given a grace period for late application until October 1, 1988. Because many students and schools are experiencing difficulty in meeting the October 1, 1988, deadline, the Service has decided to further extend the grace period to June 30,, 1989.

(iv) Departure of a short duration.

Regulations at 8 CFR 214.2(f)(7)(i) indicate that a departure from the United States for a short duration - not to exceed an annual vacation plus may be one semester or trimester - does not break the continuity of the educational program.

A student obviously has to be enrolled and carrying a full-time load for at least part of the academic year in order to meet the requirements for the eight consecutive year extension.

On the other hand, students who are permitted to take a leave of absence from the school for a year or two should be allowed to return to the same educational program without restarting the clock. In that case, designated school officials may determine whether a student is starting a new program or simply returning to finish an old program.

(v) Off-campus employment authorization.

Off-campus employment authorization granted under 8 CFR 214.2(f)(9) is terminated when the student transfers from one school to another or when the need for employment ceases. As long as the student is maintaining status, beginning a new educational program at the same school does not terminate the employment authorization. However, as off-campus employment authorization may not exceed the expected completion date of the student's current educational program, it is unlikely that a student would still have a valid employment authorization when he/she begins a new educati onal program, whether at the same school or not.

(vi) Curricular practical training.

Curricular practical training is an integral part of an academic program which is designed to prepare students for a career by supplementing theoretical training with actual work experience. Like work-study, intership and cooperative education programs, pre-completion training as described in 8 CFR 214.(f)(10)(i)(A)(2) is also curricular practical training.

The characteristics that make these two categories different are the duration of the training period and whether the training is required. In other words, required practical training under 8 CFR 214.2(f)(10)(i)(A)(2) may not be elective or longer than six months. All other kinds of co-op education, internship or work-study program are considered curricular practical training as described in 8 CFR 214.2(f)910)(i)(D).

In making this distinction, the Service is reiterating its longstanding policy of authorizing employment for practical training; authorization will only be granted to students who need practical experience to round out their academic studies. Where a student has participated in more than six months of structured full-time training, further employment for practical training will not be granted after the student completes his or her academic studies. Such a student is considered to have had the opportunity for a meaningful work experience.

(vii) Split post-graduation practical training. As specified inn the O.I.s, an F-1 student may opt to split up the two periods of post-completion practical training between two programs. In such a split, the two separate six-month segments may be regarded as two first periods.

Procedures for the first period post-completion practical training may be followed in both occasions. Students who desire to resume their studies after the first period of practical training should not apply for the second period of practical training since the unused portion of employment authorization may not be reclaimed.

(viii) Revised Form I-20 A-B. The Service has revised Forma I-20 A-B. to ensure a smoother transition from the old form to the revised form and to avoid confusion about when an I-20 ID card should be issued, the Service has stopped issuing the yellow I-20 ID card as of July 1, 1988. Where a student has been issued an unrevised I-10 A-B or I-20 M-N, the student copy pages (3 and 4) of the form may be used in lieu of the yellow card as the I-20 ID. All Service adjudications for F-1 and M-1 students will be noted on the empty space on page 4 of the I-20 form. Service adjudicating officers should use the following guidelines in replacing the I-20 ID card with the student's copy of the I-20 form:

(A) Fill in the student's admission number on the I-20 form (ensuring that it is printed through the carbon paper onto page 3) if the student is granted F-1 or M-1 status for the first time;

(B) Write or stamp "I-20 ID (Student) Copy" on the left side of page 3 of the I-20 Form if the student has been issued an unrevised I-20 form;

(C) Note the action taken by the Service adjudicating officer regarding the application for employment authorization, extension of stay, etc., on the "I-20 ID (Student) Copy",

(D) Return pages 3 and 4 of the I-20 form -- I-20 ID (Student) Copy -- to the student;

(E) Send the top page of the form to the data processing centre in London, Kentucky, for data entry if the student has obtained student status for the first time.

As of July 1, 1988, an F-1 or M-1 student may submit an application for benefits on a Form I-538 along with his/her I-20 ID (Student) Copy. Should the student submit his/her yellow card I-20 ID Copy instead of the "I-20 ID (Student) Copy" with the I-538, the Service adjudicating officer shall accept and process the application according to the current procedures and endorse the I-20 ID Copy to show that the request has been approved. When returning the I-20 ID Copy, however, the Service officer should adv ise the student of the recent change regarding the I-20 ID Copy and instruct the student to staple the yellow I-20 ID card to page 4 of his/her copy of the I-20 form. Students should keep their copies indefinitely.

(ix) Existing INS regulation preclude [sic] the authorization of practical training for F-1 student until they have been in F-1 status for nine months. The objective of this requirement is to safeguard the student program against potential abuses by individuals who are primarily interested in employment gains, and to ensure that new students have sufficient time to acclimate academically to the campus environment. In recognizing that many nonimmigrant students who attended school in other lawful nonimmigrant status prior to changing status to F-1 have already made the adjustment to American campus life, the Service gives special consideration to this group of students.

Thus, an alien who attended school in lawful nonimmigrant status prior to changing status to F-1 is permitted to count the time spent on campus towards the nine-month in status requirement for practical training. This special provision is intended for lawful nonimmigrants, such as J-1 students or dependents of A,E,F,G,H,J,L, and N visa categories, who were enrolled as full-time students at an INS-approved school immediately before changing status to F-1. Aliens who are attending school in the United States in violation of their status may not derive benefits from this provision. (TM 4/90)


Legacy Immigration and Naturalization Service Operations Instructions

Source: USCIS web site. Text downloaded and formatted by NAFSA on November 6, 2017. Page since removed or relocated on USCIS website. Link now points to the archived version of the page on the Wayback Machine.

Legacy INS Operations Instructions are not maintained by successor bureaus within DHS. Many provisions have been superseded by subsequent laws and policies, and the INS OIs no longer serve as current guidance to DHS or to the public. NAFSA reproduces them here for historic context and research purposes.