On August 9, 2018, USCIS again changed the way that unlawful presence is calculated for F, M and J students but for the better! See the new memo here.
For purposes of counting unlawful presence, a timely reinstatement application for F or M status is one where the student has not been out of status for more than five months at the time of filing. Under the revised final policy memorandum, the accrual of unlawful presence is suspended when the F or M non-immigrant files a reinstatement application within the five month window and while the application is pending with USCIS.
Further, and most importantly, USCIS has removed the retroactive application of unlawful presence for student who fail to maintain status after August 9, 2018. Meaning that for all future cases, unlawful presence does not start accruing until the day after it has been found that the student has failed to maintain status.
HLG applauds this move by USCIS to help students stay in the U.S. lawfully.