The Trump administration is proposing a new rule to limit student visas to two years for citizens of 59 countries, potentially complicating the path to an American college degree for tens of thousands of foreign students.
Student visas are currently valid for as long as students are enrolled in their course of study. But the proposed rule, published by the Department of Homeland Security, would limit the validity period to two years for certain immigrants under the theory that it will be easier to identify security threats and monitor compliance.
The countries targeted are those that are designated as state sponsors of terrorism and those with a high rate of people who come to the US and overstay their visas.
Under the proposed regulation, anyone wishing to stay longer would have to either seek an extension or reapply for a new visa.
The proposal would affect citizens and people born in countries on the State Department’s State Sponsors List and also apply to citizens of countries with a more than 10 percent rate of visa overstays, including all but a few African countries.
Foreign students who are not from any of the affected countries but are enrolled in schools that are unaccredited or do not participate in the federal employment eligibility verification program E-Verify would also only be eligible for a two-year visa.
The proposed rule will apply to students from the following countries:
Afghanistan – Benin – Bhutan – Burkina Faso – Burundi – Cameroon -Central African Republic – Chad – Congo (DRC) – Congo (ROC) – Côted’Ivoire – Djibouti – Equatorial Guinea – Eritrea – Ethiopia – Gabon – Gambia – Ghana – Guinea – Guinea-Bissau – Guyana – Haiti – Iran -Iraq – Kenya – Kosovo – Kyrgyzstan – Liberia – Libya – Malawi – Mali -Mauritania – Moldova – Mongolia – Nepal – Niger – Nigeria – North Korea – Papua New Guinea – Philippines – Rwanda – Samoa- Senegal -Sierra Leone – Somalia – South Sudan – Sudan – Syria – Tajikistan -Tanzania – Togo – Tonga – Turmenistan – Tuvalu – Uganda – Uzbekistan -Vietnam – Yemen – Zambia.