The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has announced a proposal which could limit the duration of immigration status of international students (including Gambian students), exchange visitors and information media representatives to only two years.
Currently, students’ visas are valid for as long as they are enrolled in their course of study. Under the proposed rule, F or J nonimmigrants would be admitted into the U.S. for a period up to the end date of their program, limited to four years, unless DHS determines that the nonimmigrant is subject to a shorter period of authorized stay limited to two years, according to a DHS release. (List of countries affected at the bottom).
The Department of Homeland Security said that those coming from countries associated with high visa overstay rates, high being more than 10% for student and exchange visitors, will be limited to up to a two-year fixed period of stay.
One of the major differences of the proposal is it gives those under the F visa only 30 days to leave the U.S. after completing their programs, instead of the previous 60 days. Chittawan said the application for visas itself won’t be too different under the proposal.
This isn’t the first potential hit at international students this year. In July, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement released a regulation that required nonimmigrant students attending a fully online university to leave the U.S., the regulation was removed the following week.
In late July they passed another regulation that required first-year international students to have at least one in-person class to maintain their immigration status.
As of now, this remains a proposal and has no immediate effect on international students. The proposed rule is open for public comment until Oct. 25. Comments can be submitted through the Federal eRulemaking Portal found at http://www.regulations.gov.
List of countries affected by the DHS proposal
– Burkina Faso
– Central African Republic
– Congo (DRC)
– Congo (ROC)
– Cote d’Ivoire
– Equatorial Guinea
– The Gambia
– Sierra Leone
– South Sudan
– North Korea
– Papua New Guinea