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New DHS Rule Would Eliminate ‘Duration of Status’ for F-1 Students

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has published a new proposed regulation, 85 FR 60526, Friday, September 25, 2020, that would eliminate “duration of status” (“D/S”) admission to the U.S. for F students and their dependents, and establish fixed periods of admission to the U.S.

The proposed rule establishes a 30-day comment period, through October 26, 2020, during which Emerson College will have the opportunity to provide input to DHS regarding the impact of the proposed rule on our students. Comments received from constituents will be reviewed by DHS and may lead to modification before a final rule is published.

In summary, the proposed rule:

  • Eliminates admission to the U.S. for “D/S” (duration of status) for F students and dependents, as well as J exchange visitors and dependents, and I media representatives.
  • Establishes a fixed period of admission for two to four years for F students. Many international students would be admitted to the U.S. for up to the length of their I-20, not to exceed four years.
  • Requires students needing additional time to complete their degree to submit an application for extension of stay (EOS) to USCIS.
  • Shortens the “grace period” to remain in the U.S. after program completion from 60 days to 30 days.

The new rule would limit the legal flexibility international students are currently granted that allows them to remain in the U.S. for continued study if their academic plans shift. Emerson’s Office of International Student Affairs (OISA) is concerned that the elimination of D/S would put students in greater danger of falling out of legal status, with fewer provisions for Designated School Officials (DSOs) to authorize extended stay.

A Zoom Q&A session is scheduled for Monday, September 28, at 6:00 pm ET to address questions students may have about the proposed elimination of D/S. Register to attend on EmConnect.

Emerson College international students, alumni, and community members are invited to submit personal comments, concerns, or impact stories via this input form. Comments and stories should be submitted no later than Friday, October 9, in order to be reviewed by Emerson OISA for inclusion in our College response.

Emerson community members are also able to submit individual comments to DHS directly. Comments on the proposed rule must be identified by DHS Docket No. ICEB-2019-0006, and submitted only through the Federal eRulemaking Portal. A Comment Now! button appears in the upper right corner of the proposed rule on

We recognize that this new rule adds to the continued strain of immigration restrictions that international students have faced during this complex year. Be assured that our office will use the opportunity to comment to voice our concerns and advocate for more flexible immigration policies.

With our continued support,
Andrea Popa
Director, International Student Affairs

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