The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has proposed limiting the amount of time international students can stay in the U.S. by eliminating the "duration of status" or "D/S" policy and replacing it with a maximum period of authorized stay, among other harmful provisions.
Why Duration of Status is Important
For decades, international students and scholars have been granted immigration status known as “duration of status,” or “D/S” that lasts for the period of time they are engaging in their studies and practical training. They are carefully screened, vetted, and monitored through the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS). Maintaining the D/S policy is necessary because the time for study or research can fluctuate given the changing goals and actions of the student or scholar. The U.S. is in a global competition for talent, and this change will only hurt our standing in attracting international students to our campuses and communities.
The Importance of Advocacy
The public comment period ended on October 26, 2020, with more than 31,000 comments submitted, including from individuals and from institutions. The international education community rallied in a significant way, as almost 3,000 messages were sent by NAFSA advocates to their members of Congress, urging them to speak out against ending the duration of status policy. Several letters were sent to DHS by members of Congress in opposition to the proposed rule, including one led by Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-WA-03) for House Republicans, which garnered 20 signatures, and another led by Senators Patty Murray (D-WA), Christopher Murphy (D-CT) and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), which carried 28 total signatures.
It remains to be seen if the current administration will finalize this proposed rule in the weeks ahead. To ensure you receive all updates on this issue, be sure to sign up for NAFSA's advocacy emails at www.ConnectingOurWorld.org.