OPT (Optional Practical Training) ended Feb 2020. Left USA in September 2020 after 150 days of SEVIS (Student and Exchange Visitor Information System) completed due to covid restrictions and expensive flight.

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.

  • I've edited a little, but please expand the acronyms OPT and SEVIS in the new first paragraph (your old title) Commented Aug 8, 2023 at 20:59
  • @KateGregory Sure Kate. I just did.
    – wonderer
    Commented Aug 8, 2023 at 21:51
  • 1
    Yes it did. Thanks!
    – wonderer
    Commented Aug 10, 2023 at 1:07


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