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I found that From 2020, international students do not begin accruing unlawful presence until an immigration judge finds a status violation in an immigration proceeding, or an immigration officer finds a violation of status in the course of an application for an immigration benefit.

But I found a contradictory regulation here http://hrlibrary.umn.edu/immigrationlaw/chapter8.html, I found that: "Violators of F-1 status are inadmissible until they have been outside the U.S. for a continuous period of 5 years after the date of violation". INA § 212(a)(6)(D),(E),(G). And also on the same chapter, "Now, a non-citizen who has been unlawfully present in the U.S. for a period of more than 180 days but less than one year and voluntarily leaves before removal proceedings are initiated is inadmissible for three years. INA § 212(a)(9)(B)(i)(I)."

My question is, will I be considered as F1 violator since I overstayed? ? Or since I left voluntarily before 180 days, and with the unlawful presence memo of 2009, I haven't actually accrued any unlawful presence? And do I need to mention it while answering Have you ever been unlawfully present, overstayed the amount of time granted by an immigration official or otherwise violated the terms of a U.S. visa?? in DS160 for masters later. If so, how should I explain? Or just say No.

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will I be considered as F1 violator since I overstayed?

No. Student visa abuser specifically refers to people who enter the US to study at a private school and then switches to public K-12 school. See 9 FAM 302.9-9

Or since I left voluntarily before 180 days, and with the unlawful presence memo of 2009, I haven't actually accrued any unlawful presence?

You have not accrued any unlawful presence. This would have been true even if you had stayed in the US for years after the end of your program.

And do I need to mention it while answering Have you ever been unlawfully present, overstayed the amount of time granted by an immigration official or otherwise violated the terms of a U.S. visa?

You need to answer Yes, because you violated the terms of your F1 status by staying past the end of the grace period, without applying for a change of status.

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  • Thanks so much for your answer. Clearly understood the first two points. So I violated the F1 status because I didn't leave after the SEVIS was completed, in other words grace period ended. But since it was due to covid, how could I change the status from F1? I had already planned to go back home before covid came. And was just waiting for the restrictions to be lift and flexible flights. I am just trying to find the best possible course of action.
    – wonderer
    Aug 8, 2023 at 21:47
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    @wonderer: You could have filed I-539 for Change of Status to B2 visitor status
    – user102008
    Aug 8, 2023 at 22:45
  • Thanks. Sure. I actually didn't know that as an F1 student, I could change to visitor status. And also was very much overwhelmed with all the things happening related to covid around us. Even though I didn't get any ban as you said I didn't accrue any unlawful presence, its been three years anyways. So how should I explain it when I say Yes in DS 160? Is there any chance to get rejected?
    – wonderer
    Aug 10, 2023 at 1:04

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