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In a win for international students, the Biden administration this week formally withdrew a proposed rule by the Trump administration that would have limited the amount of time international students could stay in the U.S. Cited as a need to increase oversight and combat fraud and visa overstays, the rule would have eliminated the “duration of status” policy, allowing international students to stay as long as they are enrolled in school, and instead require them to reapply for an extension after fixed terms of no more than four years. 

The controversial rule, which was not officially enacted before former President Trump left office, would have placed limits on the initial visa term for some students to just two years based on their country of origin. Students who came from countries with higher visa overstay rates, such as Africa and Asia, would have been limited to a two-year initial visa term as part of the proposal. 

According to the Federal Register, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) said it had received over 32,000 public comments, 99 percent of which were in opposition of the rule, arguing that it “discriminates against certain groups of people based on their nationality.” Other comments stated that the rule “would significantly burden the foreign students, exchange scholars, foreign media representatives, and U.S. employers by requiring extension of stays in order to continue with their programs of study or work.”

After their review of public comments, the DHS stated it “believes some of the comments may be justified and is concerned that the changes proposed unnecessarily impede access to immigration benefits.”

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If you are an international student looking for more information about prospective colleges, the admissions process, student visas, and other resources, check out Peterson’s International Student Resource Page