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Trump Administration Announces New Restrictions on International Students in the U.S.

The Trump Administration has announced new plans to limit the amount of time that international students can spend studying in the U.S. The new guidelines provide for a maximum period of authorized stay, so students now must obtain additional authorization to remain in the U.S. whenever their plans change. If a student does not graduate when expected, for instance, that student must undergo a reevaluation process, just as if the student were transitioning from college to graduate school.

The new rules would impact international students in the U.S. on student visas F1, F2, M1, and M2. Under current regulations, students can remain in the U.S. as long as they are enrolled in school and maintain their nonimmigrant status.

Trump Administration Announces New Restrictions on International Students in the U.S.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) claims that the change is necessary to prevent the incidence of visa overstays by international students. However, critics of the proposed rule change point out that U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is already processing immigration applications at an exceedingly slow rate. Adding more applications and forms for individuals who already hold student visas are likely to add to the backlog of applications.

As participation by international students in U.S. educational programs has already declined precipitously amidst the Trump Administration’s crackdown on immigration laws, these changes could result in a further reduction in the number of international students coming to the U.S. for education. According to figures from the U.S. State Department, almost 1.1 million international students were studying in the U.S. during the 2018-2019 school year. This number constitutes about 5.5% of all students enrolled in American colleges and universities.  

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