USA Introducing New Student Visa Policy

Trump Admin Is Expected To Set Fixed 4 or Limited 2 Year Tenure

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International students in the USA or those planning to go there for study are likely to face a new hurdle as the Trump administration is expected to introduce a new policy regarding the duration of student visas.

The proposed policy will cap the tenure of student visas to a fixed 4 year and a limited 2 year in some cases of exceptions.

The administration has just released the proposed rule after it’s been reviewed by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) upon a request by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

The review, an important step in the process, of the policy has been published in the federal register on September 25.

Now it will be kept open for public comments for up to October 26 before being approved. Then the new visa policy will come into force upon approval from the president.

The new policy titled ‘Establishing a fixed time period of admission and extension of stay procedure for non-immigrant academic students, exchange visitors and representatives of foreign information Media’, was submitted to the OMB back on June 3 this year by the department.

Now international students can stay in the US as long as they are engaged in academic activities under the term which is referred to as ‘Admission for Duration of Status’.

The administration is weighing to basically change the technical term to ‘Duration to Stay’ with a fixed period of student visa validity.

Under the new policy, F or J non-immigrants (which cover students undertaking academic courses, research scholars and their dependents) will be accepted for entry to the US for a period of maximum four years.

In certain cases, the legal period of stay for foreign students can even be capped to just two years.

The two-year tenure, as the proposed rule reads, applies to international students who were born in or are citizens of countries which are on the terrorist list and from the countries which have a visa overstay rate of more than 10%.

Besides, the two-year limit also applies to the students who are participating or will take part in language training programs only.

Here to note, with the new rules, international students will have options to apply for visa extensions, though as per experts the way to do so is being viewed as complicated and unfriendly.

But further details on or what exactly the new policy contains will be available in the days ahead.

According to the latest report from the DHS, of the total number of 19.49 lakh international students (Excluding those from Mexico and Canada), who were scheduled to complete their studies on September 30, 2019, nearly 60,000 students or 3.09% overstayed in the USA.

In making the report, DHS has taken into consideration F visa holders (those pursuing academic studies) and also vocational students and research scholars, holding M and J visas respectively.

Furthermore, DHS in its proposed policy states that students pursuing a bachelor’s or master’s degree make up 80% of the non-immigrant students in the US. A majority of them is expected to finish their studies within a four-year period without having to seek visa extension. Source : Times of India

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