Stanford statement on proposed visa-duration rule

Stanford will strongly oppose a proposed federal rule issued Friday by the Department of Homeland Security, which would have wide-ranging effects on international students and scholars who hold F or J visas.

Currently, international students and scholars are allowed to remain in the United States for the full length of their program. If the proposed rule is made final, it would mean that the U.S. no longer commits to allowing them to stay for the full duration of their studies.

"While we understand the national security issues referenced in this proposal, this is another in a series of policies that make the U.S. less welcome to our international community - to the detriment of our international students and scholars, our universities, and our country’s scientific leadership and long-term economic competitiveness," said Stanford President Marc Tessier-Lavigne. "The proposed rule creates additional stress and uncertainty for international students, scholars and their families, and for all who dream of pursuing their education in the United States, now and in the future."

The proposed rule would allow F and J visa holders to remain in the United States for four years, with the possibility of extension. Several groups would be limited to two years only, including non-immigrant students who were born in or are citizens of countries on the State Sponsor of Terrorism List, those coming from a country with a high "overstay" rate, and those affected by a U.S. National Interest trigger, which may include national security concerns or risks of fraud or abuse. Students and scholars would need to apply for an extension of status in order to complete their program, if it extended beyond the allotted time.

At Stanford, PhD students and postdocs would be the populations most impacted if the proposed rule is made final in its current form. The proposed rule will not impact current F or J visa holders who were admitted for "Duration of Status" for the next four years after the effective date of the final rule. It will not impact members of the community already subject to date-specific admission.

"These proposed changes are deeply troubling," Tessier-Lavigne said. "Stanford will strongly advocate against this policy before the Executive Branch and Congress, in partnership with our national associations and peer institutions. We will also do everything we can to support our students in navigating this policy, should the proposed rule become final."


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