J/F/M 学生签证和访问学者的 15/30/60 天「宽限期」

我之前解释过,B1/B2  签证一旦 I-94  过期,身份立刻失效,这时哪怕你有 pending case 、可以合法在美国停留,但通常不能再次申请延期或转换身份,因为 change / extension of status 的前提是你有合法的「status」(有例外情形,参见这篇文章解释)。今天有读者问,J-1  结束后的宽限期内是否可以转换到 H1B?

什么是宽限期?

在学业或访问结束后,为了让 J/F/M 签证持有人准备离境,USCIS 默认会给一个宽限期,即「Grace Period」,其中 F-1 是 60 天、 J-1/M-1 是 30 天。但是,如果你违反身份,你的 J/F/M 身份会立刻失效,没有任何宽限期,参见 DHS 说明

Termination ReasonDuration of Status
Termination for any violation of statusNo grace period. If the student and/or any dependents are still in the United States, the student must apply for reinstatement, or student and/or dependents must leave the United States immediately
Authorized Early WithdrawalStudent and/or any accompanying dependents must leave the United States within 15 days of termination date. This grace period only applies to F-1 students and their dependents. It does not apply to M-1/M-2 students and dependents.
Change of Status ApprovedStudent loses F-1/M-1 status and remains in authorized stay under new status.
Change of Status DeniedStudent remains in previous nonimmigrant status and must follow the authorized stay requirements of that status.

宽限期内可以转换身份吗?

F/M 可以

参见 DHS  说明:When F-1 or M-1 students finish their programs of study and/or post-completion practical training (employment), they have a grace period during which they can do the following:

F-1 Student 60-day Grace PeriodM-1 Student 30-day Grace Period
  • Apply and be accepted to a new academic program to start within five months
  • Apply to United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for a change of class of admission
  • Travel within the United States and make preparations to depart by the end of the grace period
  • Apply to United States Citizenship and Immigration Services for a change of class of admission
  • Travel within the United States and make preparations to depart by the end of the grace period

F/M 都可以在宽限期内向 USCIS 申请「change of class of admission」转换身份。 USCIS  官网在解释 F-1  申请 H-1B  的 Cap-Gap  时也说

The cap-gap extension is available to students who, as of April 1 of the current calendar year:

– Are either on approved OPT or in their 60-day grace period; and
– Have a pending or approved H-1B change-of-status petition with an Oct. 1 start date that was filed prior to the expiration of their OPT or 60-day grace period. 

F-1 只要在 OPT  或 60 天宽限期结束前申请 H-B  即为有效。

J1 可以吗?

我查到比较可信的资料如下:

  • University of Washington, International Student Service: “Period of Authorized Stay. Your admission to the U.S. is for ‘duration of status,’ that is, for the length of your J-1 status. J-1 status covers:[…] 30-day ‘grace period’ after completion of studies, to prepare to depart the U.S. or change to another status.
  • University of Miami, International Student & Scholar Services: “Upon completion of your J-1 activity, you and your J-2 dependents may remain in the U.S. for an additional 30 days. This 30-day grace period is given to you so that you may pack your belongings and travel in the U.S. before you leave this country. Unless you are eligible to apply for a change of status and do so within the 30-day grace period, you cannot remain in the U.S. beyond the 30-day grace period. Staying in the U.S. beyond the 30-day grace period without a pending application for a change of status is considered illegal and will have a negative effect on your ability to come to the U.S. in the future.”
  • University of Chicago, the Office of International Affairs: “Following completion of your J scholar program, you have a 30 day grace period to remain in the U.S. as a tourist and finalize departure plans.  During this grace period J scholars are NOT permitted to work. This grace period simply provides you the opportunity to prepare for departing or traveling within the U.S., or apply to change to another status.
  • 在法律问答网站 AVVO  上也有多名律师明确回复了类似的问题,比如 New York  的移民律师 Alexander Joseph Segal  回答:”valid grace period is valid J1 status so you can seek the change if you are not subject to INA 212e.”

因此,从我看到的可信资料来看,J-1  在 30 天宽限期内提交 H-1B  没有问题(当然,前提是你可以豁免回国居住两年的要求,即 INA 212e);提交之后、在 USCIS  批复之前可合法在美国停留。

J/F/M  与 B1/B2  有何不同?

为何 B1/B2  的 I-94  过期之后不能转换身份、也没有任何宽限期,而 J/F/M  则有宽限期、可以继续转换身份呢?因为 J/F/M  的合法身份是 duration of status (D/S),并没有明确的 I-94  日期,只要没有违反身份的行为,其在美国停留的所有时间,包括宽限期内,都是合法身份,因此符合转换身份的资格;提交转换身份申请之后,在案件尚未批复之前可继续在美国停留。

退学或休学有宽限期吗?

如果你打算休学,需要先跟学校的官员(DSO; designated school official)沟通。如果获得了 DSO 的许可,他会在 SEVIS 系统里注明你是「Terminated for Authorized Early Withdrawal」,这种情形下,你在 I-20 截止之后有 15 天宽限期(不是 60 天)。

假如未获得 DSO 许可,自作主张退学、不来上课,DSO 会在 SEVIS 里注明你的情形是「Terminated for Unauthorized Early Withdrawal」,那么你不但没有任何宽限期,而且这还会影响你将来申请新的移民福利(比如说重新申请学生签证、或者重新来美国),参见 DHS 的介绍:Authorized Early Withdrawals and the 15-Day Grace Period

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