Unfortunately, there is a major Catch-22 in the student enrollment process and a change to the F-1 status process. That Catch-22 is that the school may decide to “defer” the student’s enrollment date to the following term (such as the January 1 of the following year date). If the enrollment date is deferred, then the 30-day limit is deferred (in the case of the example to about December 2).
The deferment date means a student who didn’t need to bridge the gap – may now need to bridge the gap. This raises, at least, two complications:
1. The student may not learn of the deferral date in a timely manner. The Designated School Official (DSO) is often boxed in too. They rely on USCIS to make a timely decision. When approvals take 5 months or more, then the SEVP approved school is likely to defer the date. There is often a gap between the date the deferral postponement is made – and the date the student is notified he/she must file for a B-1 or B-2 extension.
2. The change request (from B-1 or B-2 to F) status may take months or even up to a year. The uncertainty of the decision date makes it extra difficult to know if the appliance needs to “bridge the gap” by requesting an extension.
Currently, experienced visa lawyers are arguing for some degree of fairness – where it is beyond the control of the student to file an extension request (due to a DSO deferral) in a timely manner.
Call Herman Legal Group at 1 (800) 808-4013 or complete our contact form to speak with us about what steps need to be taken to bridge the gap of your B-1 or B-2 nonimmigrant visa while waiting for approval of your F or M nonimmigrant visa.