On April 13, 2011, NAFSA submitted comments to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) regarding DHS' review of its existing regulations. DHS had given the public 30 days to submit comments, as part of its implementation of Executive Order 13563, "Improving Regulation and Regulatory Review,'' issued by the President on January 18, 2011. The purpose of the review "is to make DHS' regulatory program more effective and less burdensome in achieving its regulatory objectives."

NAFSA commented on:

  • The Paradigm Shift in Global Mobility
  • Realizing DHS’s Full Potential
  • Integrating and Maximizing the Use of Technology and Databases
  • Creating Immigration Processing Efficiencies
  • Focusing Enforcement Resources Effectively

Specific NAFSA recommendations included:


  1. Revise the regulations to allow for modern higher education models.
  2. Revise the regulations to accommodate students with disabilities and long-term medical conditions.
  3. Eliminate the requirement that F-2 spouses must engage in only “avocational or recreational” study.
  4. Eliminate the prohibition on F-2 employment. 
  5. Revise the reinstatement eligibility requirement pertaining to unauthorized employment.
  6. Revise the reinstatement eligibility provision to include reinstatement for Optional Practical Training (OPT).
  7. Update the M-1 regulations.
  8. Publish regulations to implement the statutory F-3 and M-3 border commuter student categories.
  9. Revise the regulations so that enrolled F-1 students who engage in an educational activity abroad do not lose eligibility for practical training. 
  10. Revise the regulations to recognize visa validity for returning students.
  11. Eliminate the E-Verify requirement for employers of students applying for STEM OPT extension.
  12. Revise the regulations concerning withdrawal of SEVIS certification and reconsideration/appeal process.


  1. Revise the regulations pertaining to change of status and extension of stay to recognize maintenance of nonimmigrant status if a timely-filed application for change or extension of status remains pending beyond the applicant’s period of admission.
  2. Revise the regulations to allow 90-day window for change of status to F, J, or M status.
  3. Revise the regulations to allow filing of an adjustment of status application for employment-based applicants facing immigrant visa backlogs.
  4. Revise the regulations pertaining to B-1/B-2 (and WT/WB) nonimmigrants to permit certain limited educational activities.
  5. Revise the regulations concerning “outstanding professor or researcher” petitions to allow additional kinds of evidence.
  6. Update the regulations concerning extension of work authorization to include E-3s and H-1B1s.
  7. Revise the H-1B regulations to eliminate unnecessary credential evaluations.