On Friday, Sept. 25, the Department of Homeland Security published a notice of proposed rulemaking in the Federal Register that would replace the current duration of status rule. If implemented, the most significant change would require international students to apply for an extension through the federal government after fixed terms of no more than four years. Some students would have to apply after two years depending on their country of origin. The rulemaking process includes a 30-day public comment period. DHS then considers comments before making a final decision on the policy.
This presents potential administrative obstacles, inconvenience and expense to our international students. Under the current duration of status rule, international students may maintain their lawful, nonimmigrant student status by pursuing a full course of study without a specific departure date requirement. This permits greater flexibility and ease of administration by schools, allowing students, with the approval of international student advisers, to extend their academic programs and matriculate to higher educational levels (e.g., from bachelor’s to master’s).
Our office is currently reviewing the 73-page proposed rule and is consulting with campus leadership and international education organizations to coordinate a response. We will keep you updated as we learn more.