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The US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has proposed a new rule that will impact international student fees and enrollment in the United States.
The new proposed rule seeks to establish a maximum period of authorized stay for students, exchange visitors, and media representatives traveling to the United States.
The new proposed rule will modify the visitor’s period of authorized stay by replacing the option for “duration of status” and instead specifies a maximum period of authorized stay. Options for extensions of stay will also be specified for each of the applicable visa categories.
How International Students are Impacted
The new proposed guideline will impact the time period for which an immigrant student may stay in the United States, without regard to the duration of their studies. It will also require students to obtain new permission each time there is some change in academic plans.
“If the academic career of a student takes longer than anticipated, they would also have to undergo the same process as new students who are moving from undergrad to graduate programs, said Chiranth Nataraj, founder and CEO of Visitor Guard®. “We predict students in the following visa categories F2, F2, M1, and M2 will be negatively impacted most by this rule.”
ICE Rationale Behind the Proposed Rule
Nataraj explains that ICE expects that the new proposed rule is expected to reduce visa overstays by immigrants in certain categories. The US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has asked people to refer to the rule’s “Statement of Need” in order to understand the government’s rationale behind this rule.
The Statement informs: “This rule is intended to decrease the incidence of non-immigrant student overstays and improve the integrity of the non-immigrant student visa.”
Potential Increase in Student Visa Costs
The proposal shows that ICE is “in the process of assessing the costs and benefits that would be incurred by regulated entities and individuals, as well as the costs and benefits to the public at large.”
Nataraj warns of the cost repercussions, “people in the affected visa categories, including individuals, organizations, and institutions should be prepared for increased visa fees.” Under the existing (previous) rule, F visas were valid as long as the student status of the visa-holder was maintained, and there was no specific time limit, but with the new rule, visa renewal would be subject to new fees.
International Talent Looking Outside the U.S.
International data from VisitorGuard.com shows that there has been a recent surge in foreign students enrolling at universities in Canada and Australia. Some analysts believe that if the proposed new rule becomes the law, many foreign students may perceive it to be riskier to pursue their higher education in the US.
In the long run, this could create an adverse impact on the research activities of the US universities that encourage talented graduates and doctoral students to enroll at their institutions.
Uncertainty With the Visa Renewal Process
Many students aspiring to visit the US for higher studies are concerned that they may have to return to their home country and go through the visa process all over again if they wish to come back to the US for another program. As of now, the rule is still under review and there is no clarity on this issue from the government. According to the DHS spokesperson, “At this point, we do not know what the final rule will include.”
In an environment of regulatory uncertainty, it is even more important for visitors planning to travel to the United States to minimize their risks and obtain maximum visitors’ insurance coverage. Call or email us with your questions on how this new ruling may impact you, and compare competitive and reliable visitors insurance providers that are in compliance with government requirements.