Campus Life

Unlawful Presence Policy

USCIS Policy Creates Much Stricter Penalties for Violations of U.S. Immigration Regulations

This current revision of the "unlawful presence" policy signals a major change to the enforcement of visa regulations for F-1 students. If you fail to follow compliance procedures and other required reporting, and violate the terms of your immigration status as a result, you can face deportation and a lengthy bar on returning to the U.S. under the new enforcement guidelines.

Effective Date: August 9, 2018

What is the policy?

  • When an international F-1 student (or their dependent) violates immigration regulations, the number of days from the time you violate your status will be counted, called "unlawful presence."
  • If you accumulate 180 days of "unlawful presence," you can be barred from the U.S. for 3 years.
  • If you accumulate 1 year of "unlawful presence," you can be barred from the U.S. for 10 years.

When will the days start to be counted?

  • The days will start to be counted from August 9, 2018 if it is a newly discovered violation that started in the past.
  • The days will start on the date the violation starts if it is on or after August 9, 2018. 
  • If it was a previously discovered violation and you were previously accruing unlawful presence, that accrual will continue.

How can I avoid violating my immigration status?

  • Follow all of the regulations that pertain to your immigration status (see list below).
  • Pay attention to all of the emails sent out by the Office of International Services on immigration reminders and updates.
  • When you graduate and start using F-1 OPT, BE SURE to update your email address and physical address in MyLasell Self-Service AND the SEVIS portal so that we have accurate information.
  • Submit required information, reports, updates that are requested of you by the deadlines noted.

What should I do if I think I may have violated my immigration status?

  • Contact the Office of International Services and speak to an immigration advisor.
  • There are many things we can do to help you navigate a status violation once we are aware it has happened; however, there are problems we will not be able to solve if you accrue too much "unlawful presence" time and are subject to enforcement.

Is this policy a change from previous policy?

  • Yes. Congress enacted the unlawful presence provisions more than 20 years ago, but until now F-1 students would only start accruing days of "unlawful presence" in very limited circumstances (upon notice of deportation or denial of a benefit that resulted in no longer holding valid status in the U.S.).
  • Under the new policy, as described above, F-1 students are subject to the revised start dates of accruing unlawful presence, and increased monitoring of possible violations of the immigration regulations.

Link to the USCIS policy:  USCIS Policy published August 9, 2018

F-1 Student Regulations: 
To maintain legal status in the U.S., F-1 students must follow these federal regulations, state regulations, and Lasell policies:

  • Complete the international student immigration check-in with the Office of International Services at International Orientation or by appointment at the start of your academic program.
  • Always enroll FULL-TIME (undergraduates at least 12 credit hours; graduates at least 9 credit hours).
  • If you drop below full time or take a leave of absence, get authorization from the Office of International Services BEFORE you drop below full time or take a leave of absence.
  • Update your LOCAL RESIDENTIAL ADDRESS within 10 days of moving by updating your profile in MyLasell Self-Service. You can follow these instructions on How to Update your Address
  • BEFORE the end date on your I-20, apply for an extension at the Office of International Services if you need more time. 
  • Keep your PASSPORT VALID. Contact your embassy to renew your passport well BEFORE the expiration date.
  • Contact the Office of International Services BEFORE you finish at Lasell if you plan to TRANSFER to another school, go on to another degree program at Lasell, or at another school in order to complete the appropriate immigration procedures BEFORE the end of your grace period (60 days for F1 students).
  • NEVER work on campus for more than 20 hours per week while you are registered.
  • NEVER work off-campus without PRIOR authorization. Always discuss off-campus work authorization at the Office of International Services before you start working off-campus, even if that employment is unpaid.
  • Comply with all other U.S. federal and state laws, such as never driving while intoxicated and never carrying a weapon.
  • Comply with all other Lasell academic and conduct policies.
  • Be sure to carry your required documents when traveling and re-entering the U.S. as well as when you travel inside the U.S.
  • When you graduate and are on F1 OPT or F1 STEM OPT, be sure to complete ALL the required reporting ON TIME-we send email reminders but you should also take responsibility for the proper reporting.