On September 25, 2020, the Department of Homeland Security published a proposed rule titled Establishing a Fixed Time Period of Admission and an Extension of Stay Procedure for Nonimmigrant Academic Students, Exchange Visitors, and Representatives of Foreign Information Media.
This rule if finalized would eliminate the current Duration of Status (D/S) for F and J visa holders. Instead of D/S on the I-94 Arrival/Departure record, an F or J visa holder would be admitted for a fixed period of time plus a 30 day grace period. To extend past this date would require USCIS approval by filing the I-539 Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status. There are other aspects to this proposed rule depending on your country of birth/citizenship.
The proposed rule if finalized would apply to new F and J visa holders entering the United States. The rule would transition students and exchange visitors currently in the United States on a duration of status admission to a new fixed period of admission corresponding to the “program end date” listed on their I-20 (student) or DS-2019 (exchange visitor) form, even if that was longer than four years in the future. However, individuals who left the United States would lose that transitional status and be subject to the new rule.
At this time, this is only a proposed rule. It is not yet a final rule. The 30 day comment period ended on October 26, 2020. The University of California, Office of the President (UCOP) submitted a statement that jointly reflected the comments from all ten of our UC campuses. The Department of Homeland (DHS) is required by law to consider all of the comments and resond to the concerns. After DHS has reviewed the comments and taken them into consideration, the rule will be published as a final rule or it may be withdrawn.
The Office of International Affairs will keep you apprised of any new developments.