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OIS NEWS - 9/25/2020

DHS Proposes Rule Change Eliminating F and J Duration of Status

On Sept. 25 the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) published a proposed rule change which would establish a fixed time period of admission and extension of stay procedures for nonimmigrant students, exchange visitors, and representatives of foreign information media. Individuals are invited to read the proposed rule change in full on the U.S. Federal Register and submit public comment by Oct. 26, 2020.

Currently, nonimmigrant students are admitted to the U.S. in F or J status for a period of time called "duration of status" or D/S. In practice, the student remains in status so long as they are continuing to meet the enrollment requirements of their specified program of study and are not otherwise violating any regulations of their visa category. If a student needs more time to complete their program of study than what is currently listed on their I-20 or DS-2019, they apply for an extension directly with their Designated School Official (DSO) using supporting documentation from their academic department. At UIC, OIS Advisors serve as DSOs.

Under the proposed rule change, nonimmigrant students would be admitted to the U.S. in F or J status for a fixed period of time not to exceed four years. Additionally, a student could be admitted for a period of less than four years if they pose a potential immigration or national security threat. If a student needed more time to complete their program of study, they would apply for an extension of stay (EOS) with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Additionally, the proposed rule change would decrease from 60 to 30 days the allowed period for F nonimmigrants to depart the U.S. after the completion of studies or a period of authorized practical training.

Individuals, including nonimmigrants currently in the U.S. in F and J status who will be directly impacted by this rule change, may participate in the rulemaking process by submitting written comments in response to the proposed changes. Written comments can be submitted via the Federal eRulemaking Portal or alternative methods outlined in the proposed rule. Comments must be submitted by Oct. 26, 2020 and include reference to DHS Docket No. ICEB-2019-0006. Additionally, please note that comments become part of the public record, including any personal or biographical information included therein.

The Office of International Services will be following this significant proposed rule change closely and will notify the UIC international community and department administrators with updates as they become available. In early October, OIS will hold virtual town halls for international students and administrators to discuss the proposed rule change and address questions our community may have. Email invitations for these town halls will be sent in the coming days. In the meantime, feel free to send any questions or concerns about this announcement to us at ois@uic.edu or +1 (312) 996-3121.