Four-year international student visa limit reversed

09 July 2021
Students walk past circle of international flags on campus
Posted by Study Group

U.S. Government sends a welcoming signal to international students

International students considering study in the USA received a further indication of the country’s welcome as President Joe Biden committed to cancelling a proposal to limit international student visas to four years.

The measure was warmly welcomed by international students and universities who had long lobbied for welcoming policies for study and who opposed the previous administration’s proposal to impose rigid limitations to international students’ study terms.

Study Group praised the policy decision, which demonstrates a commitment to welcoming international students to the USA at the highest level of government.

“We are pleased to see that the Biden administration recognises what Study Group and our North American partner universities already know – international students make invaluable contributions to higher education in the U.S. and they are welcome on every campus,” said Joshua Rubin, Study Group’s Executive Vice President for Higher Education in North America.

“We look forward to the start of the 2021-2022 academic year this fall and are eager to support international students in their journey to studying in the U.S. International students have long been warmly welcomed in America and we are thrilled to see this more welcoming instinct informing American policy.”

Reversing an unpopular policy

The Department of Homeland Security received more than 32,000 public comments in response to earlier proposals to tighten student visas, and more than 99% of those comments opposed the changes put forth by the previous administration - an important measure of the widespread support for international students across all aspects of American society. Commenters included the American Council on Education, which urged lawmakers to eliminate the proposed rule, claiming restrictive proposals were “unworkable and especially inappropriate.”

Dr. Esther D. Brimmer, Executive Director and CEO of NAFSA: Association of International Educators endorsed this view, welcoming the latest announcement and pressing for even further opportunities for students from around the world. “We urge the administration to continue its efforts to make the United States a more welcoming place for international students,” she said.

Learn more about Study Group’s work and university partnerships in the United States.

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