NAICU Washington Update

DHS Proposes New Rules for Visa Holders

September 25, 2020

Citing both the value of international students and the need to address the significant increases in the foreign student population in the U.S. over the past few decades, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking indicating that new rules are necessary for it to both properly monitor status, renewals, and duration of visa holders and prevent fraud in the process.  Specifically, the agency is reviewing the time period of admission and extension of stay procedures for nonimmigrant academic students, exchange visitors, and other foreign representatives, known as the “Duration of Status.” 
The proposed rule would establish a fixed time of allowable stay for F, J, and I visas.  F-1 and J-1 visas are for nonimmigrant students, research assistants, teachers, professors and au pairs, while I visas are for representatives of foreign media. 
For F visas, the proposed rule would base admission and extension periods on the specific academic program but would not exceed 2 or 4 years.  According to DHS, this would make the time period visas are active consistent with other visas and allow the agency to review compliance requirements. In addition, the proposed rule would limit the number of times an F-1 visa holder can change education levels, decrease from 60 to 30 days the period for F-1 nonimmigrants who have completed their studies, and limit nonimmigrant training to 24 months.
The higher education community will be submitting comments to DHS during the agency’s 30-day comment period, which begins once the notice is published in the Federal Register.  Any institution wishing to submit individual comments will find instructions in the link.

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