Members of Oregon delegation oppose rule putting status of international student visas at risk

On October 6, 2020, members of the Oregon delegation joined with more than one hundred U.S. House of Representative colleagues in asking the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to rescind a proposed rule change altering the “duration of status” of international student visas. The request was led by U.S. Representatives Debbie Dingell (D-MI) and Mark Pocan (D-WI).

The letter, signed by U.S. Representatives Peter DeFazio (D-OR) and Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), criticized the proposed rule changes, stated “these changes in policy place additional burdens on students and universities, further disincentivizing prospective international students from attending U.S. institutions of higher education. International students are a critical part of colleges and universities across the country, and this proposed rule would undermine our nation’s leadership in higher education and research.”

Under the current rule, students with F1 and J1 visas are admitted to the U.S. with no fixed termination date as long as students maintain full-time enrollment. This is known as “duration of status” admission to the U.S. The proposed rule change would admit students with F1 and J1 visas for a fixed length of time with the possibility of applying for an extension, although criteria for such extensions have not yet been published. The current approach recognizes that academic programs vary in duration and the length of time needed to complete a program may vary. Tying the visa to a limited period of time creates administrative burden and the likelihood that international students may inadvertently fall out of legal status.

Because this is a proposal for a rule change, it is not yet final, and must proceed through the normal public notice process and 30-day comment period before any final rule is published. 

The Division of Global Engagement sent an email to all international students regarding the proposed change. The email stated “the UO is working actively with higher education associations and other partners to oppose this rule change, which creates unnecessary barriers for students, increases administrative burden for the university, and sends the wrong message by failing to welcome international students.” 

Find additional international news, updates, and FAQs from the Division of Global Engagement here.