The Administration Seeks to Restrict Student Visas to a Strict Two or Four Year Timeframe

(Excerpts from an American Council on Education Article)

  • In the latest move targeting international student and exchange visas, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) on Friday published the long-awaited proposed rule on “duration of status,” which would create a fixed amount of time of authorized stay for students on F and J visas and members of the international media on I visas.
  • Currently, F-1 student visas are granted for the duration of a student’s studies, as long as the student is enrolled in a full-time course of study. The proposed rule would set the authorized admission and extension periods for F visas and J-1 exchange visas not to exceed two or four years, based on the specific program of study.
  • The time period could also be limited to two years based on overstay rates of the visa holder’s country of origin or because of national security concerns. Students from countries designated as state sponsors of terrorism—including Iran, North Korea, Sudan, and Syria—or with visa overstay rates over 10 percent would only be eligible for two-year visas, although they could apply for an extension.
  • “If you’ve decided to invest in a four-year degree and for some reason you switch your major … or do something else that slows down your progress to degree, how certain are you … [that DHS] is going to grant the extension for you to finish,” Sarah Spreitzer, director of government relations for ACE, told Education Dive.
  • ACE will be working with the higher education community to draft and submit comments. As of Sept. 28, over 10,000 comments had already been uploaded to the Federal Register.