Written by: Martha Turner, International Student & Scholar Associate Director
The Office for International Students and Scholars emailed international students about a proposed change to the F-1 and J-1 regulations on Friday, September 25, 2020, the day that the change was announced by the Department of Homeland Security.
In short, the proposed regulations would change the policy of a students’ visa status expiring based on the end date of the I-20, DS-2019 or authorized period of OPT, often referred to as Duration of Status (i.e. D/S). Under the new proposed regulations students would be given either a four year or two year period of stay after which they would have to apply for and be granted an extension by USCIS. As you know, currently, the regulations authorize OISS to extend a student’s period of stay under certain conditions. Among the additional changes in the proposed regulations, there would be a change in the length of the grace period for F-1s, a shift in the application window to apply for OPT, and imposed changes for J-1 scholars, affecting research and patient care.
Washington University has been active in opposing this policy, and advocating on your behalf by engaging in the following:
1. As part of the regulatory comment process, we have submitted an extensive letter, describing the reasons to not pursue this policy.
2. We have made members of Congress from Missouri and Illinois aware of our opposition to the proposal and groups of Representatives and Senators have expressed their concerns with the administration.
3. We have joined other universities and our professional associations in taking steps to oppose this policy.
We do not know when the rule will be finalized especially given the impending installation of a new administration. We know it continues to be a stressful time for international students and that these proposed changes only add to the anxiety our students are facing. Please be reassured the university shares your concerns and will continue to advocate on your behalf.
Washington University in St. Louis values the intellectual and cultural contributions that international students and scholars bring to our community. We pledge to keep you informed about changes in the regulations and we will assist you in whatever way possible to reach your academic and personal goals.