On September 25, 2020, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) published a proposed regulation that would establish fixed end dates on student and exchange visitor visas, and many other changes. Currently, international students and scholars may stay in the United States for the duration of their program, with some PhD programs having a standard length of 7 years. Under this proposal, individuals applying to either F or J status would be limited to a 4 year stay.
Additionally, some international students and scholars would be limited to 2 years based on certain factors, including birth or citizenship in specific countries. Students and scholars of the targeted countries are almost exclusively persons of color and are disproportionately nationals of African countries.
If individuals were to need additional time to complete their program, including requests for legal work authorization after graduation, or would like to start a new degree or academic program, they would have to pay a fee and apply for an extension of stay to the USCIS and the application could be accepted or rejected. This proposed rule creates an unwelcoming and uncertain environment for international students and scholars.
This proposed rule is open for public comments until October 26, 2020. After the DHS considers the comments, it would draft a final rule and submit that to the Office of Management and Budget for review. Only after that could a final rule be published. Litigation could temporarily or permanently stop the final rule from taking effect.
Please consider submitting a comment. It prolongs the process and also shows the international community that people support their being in the United States.