USCIS recently announced it will no longer require F-1 students to bridge the gap. Previously USCIS had required students who filed a change of status application to F-1, to also file a second application in order to extend their current status. Therefore, someone who entered in B-2 and wished to change to F-1 was required to file two applications if the program start date on their I-20 was more than 30 days after the expiration of their B-2. One application to change their status and another application requesting an extension of their B-2.
Due to the massive delays in processing change of status applications, this also meant an applicant would potentially need to keep filing further extensions of their B-2 to ensure that the start date for the F-1, when approved, was not more than 30 days beyond the expiration of the B-2. Failure to bridge the gap resulted in a denial of the change of status to F-1.
Fortunately, USCIS has done way with this ridiculous policy and applicants are now only required to file one application, namely the application to change their status. To avoid a gap in status USCIS will now approve the change of status application the day that the I-539 is approved. If this date is more than 30 days before the program start date students just need to be careful to ensure that they do not violate their F-1 status.
Finally, common sense prevails!
If you have questions regarding a change of status application, please contact PLG Partner Chris Prescott at email@example.com.