DHS Proposes to Change Terms of Stay for F, J and I Nonimmigrants

Not surprisingly, the initiative to change the terms of stay of international students and journalists is coming from Senior Official Performing the Duties of the Deputy Secretary, Ken Cuccinelli, who has always opposed the flow of immigrants to the United States.
The proposed rule would change the existing regulations in 30 days after publication, which means in a matter of days from now.
All individuals currently holding status F, J, or I would be affected, as would be future applicants.
Ø The new regulation provides for a fixed period of admission of students (not to exceed 4 years);
Ø Language training students can stay no longer than 24-months, including breaks and an annual vacation;
Ø For current students, having a D/S note in their I-94, their stay would automatically be limited by the duration stated in their DS-2019 form;
Ø There would be a limit on the number of times that F-1 nonimmigrants can change educational levels while in F-1 status;
Ø It is not clear what restrictions would be placed on changing the fields of studies if the student wants to pursue an education in a different field, while not necessarily changing the educational level (which is now restricted);
Ø The period to depart the country would decrease from 60 to 30 days;
Ø When applying for an extension of stay, new biometrics would be collected with each application;
Ø Only F nonimmigrants who have timely filed an EOS application and whose EOS application is still pending will receive an automatic extension of their F nonimmigrant status, while the application is pending. Their on-campus employment authorization, off-campus employment authorization due to severe economic hardship, or Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics Optional Practical Training (STEM OPT) employment authorization would be extended up to 180 days. Apparently, the DHS is not intending to cover for longer than 180 days if the application for authorization got stuck in the query due to no fault of the student;
Ø It is not clear that the real intension of DHS is to exclude I-visa journalists from the benefits of temporary automatic status coverage when they have filed for an extension of status. This would be placing journalists in a much worse position than before. Most likely by language “only F” DHS wanted to exclude only J-visa holders from these benefits;
Ø It appears that DHS intends to provide for automatic EOS for individuals who have applied for H-1B visas under 8 CFR 214.2(f)(5)(vi), but it is yet to be seen how it would be addressed.
Ø For journalists their stay cannot last longer than 240 days, upon expiration of such stay, they can apply for an extension, which application should allow them to remain in the United States.
Ø It means that all individuals affected by this regulation would have spent legal and filing fees with each new application and argue their need to remain longer.

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