The following message was sent to F-1 students and J-1 exchange visitors on Friday, September 25.
On Friday, September 25, 2020, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) published a proposed rule to eliminate duration of status (D/S) for F-1 students, J-1 Exchange Visitors, and their dependents. Under current regulations, F and J visa holders are admitted to the U.S. for “duration of status,” or the duration of their program as indicated by the expiration date on their Form I-20 or DS-2019. While in F and J status, individuals can be granted extensions of their I-20 or DS-2019 by the F-1 Designated School Official (DSO) or J-1 Alternate or Responsible Officer (ARO/RO) at their university, which increases the period of authorized stay in the U.S. (at JHU, all DSOs and ARO/ROs are located in OIS). The proposed rule seeks to eliminate duration of status and would replace it with a fixed period of admission for F and J visa holders. Some key proposed provisions of the draft rule are:
- Individuals admitted in F or J status would be issued a Form I-94 with a fixed expiration date (we do not yet know exactly how this will work in practice)
- Students and scholars who need additional time beyond the I-94 expiration date to complete their program objectives must file an Extension of Stay (EOS) request with USCIS using form I-539 (under current rules, extensions are handled by a university’s DSO or ARO/RO)
- The F-1/F-2 grace period provided at the end of the student’s program would be shortened from 60 days to 30 days; the J-1/J-2 grace period will remain 30 days
Once again, this is a proposed rule, so no official changes have occurred yet. There is a 30-day public comment period on the proposal after which comments are reviewed by the government and a final rule is expected to be published. After taking into consideration the public’s comments on the proposal, it is possible that a final rule could incorporate changes and look quite different than what is currently being proposed. As always, we will apprise you of specific impacts if and when the final rule is issued. At this time, OIS will not change any current practices or processes for I-20 or DS-2019 document issuance based on these proposed regulations.
We are deeply concerned with the draft and are carefully reviewing its details. We anticipate submitting official comments for consideration by the government, and will continue to work with universities and associations throughout the U.S. to formally register serious concerns with this proposed rule on behalf of our international students and scholars.
The Office of International Services