U.S. tightens visa rules to minimize overstay by foreign students

Marco Green
May 15, 2018

The new guidance, which was issued in furtherance of President Trump's executive order, Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States, is meant to target and reduce the number of visa overstays now in the country. You might struggle to do so in the future as the U.S. is set to tighten visa rules to minimise those who overstay.

The Trump administration issued a draft policy that makes the calculation of the visa overstay by foreign students more strict. Those under the age of 18 do not accrue unlawful presence. "F [student], J [summer workers], and M [vocational-school student] nonimmigrants are admitted to the United States for a specific goal, and when that objective has ended, we expect them to depart, or to obtain another, lawful immigration status", according to the agency's director, L. Francis Cissna.

Now, however, "the day after" the student is no longer enrolled on their course they will be unlawfully in the United States and if they violate this law they could be unable to enter the country in the future.

For instance, 180 days of overstay during one visa tenure can result in a bar on entry to the U.S. for three to 10 years.

The new policy states the unlawful presence days begin "the day after the F, J, or M non-immigrant no longer pursues the course of study or the authorized activity or the day after he or she engages in an unauthorized activity".

Under the former policy, individuals who entered the United States for the duration of their studies and applicable training periods (Duration of Status or D/S) did not automatically begin to accrue unlawful presence if they overstayed or violated their nonimmigrant status.

For example, students on an F-1 visa, after completion of their study, are allowed to stay for a grace period of 60 days to change their student visa status to a work visa or else they should leave the US.

But this is not a small-scale problem.

According to official data by the Department of Homeland Security for the fiscal year 2016 (ending 30th September 2016), 98,970 Indian, and 360,334 Chinese students were expected to depart the US.

After the Chinese, Indians are the largest group of foreign students in the US.

The policy, which is now open for public comments, will come into effect from August 9.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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