US student F1 visa limited stay policy opposed by Harvard

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Comments by Sanwar Ali:

Yet more litigation relating to US visas.  Much of the time the Trump administration loses court battles over immigration legislation, but not always.  One of the big issues is that Presidents have difficulty passing US visa legislation through both Houses of Congress.  Presidents including Obama find other ways of trying to change policies on visas.

In July, the Trump administration attempted to revoke US visas for international students who would be taking online only courses. Following a lawsuit filed by the USA’s oldest university, Harvard, and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), the US government backtracked on the plans.

However, the Trump administration has now targeted the amount of time international students can remain in the country on a US visa. The administration’s latest plan is to limit US visa validity to four years or less and once again, Harvard University – along with other higher education institutions - is making a stand against the government.

In a letter by Harvard President, Lawrence Bacow, to the acting regulatory unit chief of US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Sharon Hageman, he said: “The plan is an inappropriate intrusion into academic matters. The proposed rule would create negative and cascading consequences for US research, scholarship and training.”

Proposals open to comment

The proposal is currently open to comments, with further comments being accepted up until the deadline of October 26. According to a report published by Bloomberg, the proposal has already received more than 20,000 comments.

The Trump administration claims that the new proposal will help to reduce fraud, while enhancing national security. It was presented by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in September. However, several US higher education leaders have argued that the policy will plunge colleges and universities into further financial hardship.

Many higher education institutions in the US have been hit hard by the coronavirus, which led Trump to introduce a US visa ban, deterring many international students from coming to America ahead of the next academic year.

Universities across the US have suffered fewer enrollment numbers, especially among international students, resulting in less revenue as foreign students often pay full price course fees.

Expelling US students

In July, Harvard and MIT successfully secured a court order that blocked the Trump administration from enforcing new US visa guidelines that would have expelled international students from the country if their place of study only offered online courses.

In announcing the new proposal, Acting Homeland Security Deputy Secretary Ken Cuccinelli, said: “Amending the relevant regulations is critical in improving program oversight mechanisms; preventing foreign adversaries from exploiting the country’s education environment; and properly enforcing and strengthening US immigration laws.”

There’s speculation that this latest US visa policy targeting international students is actually aimed at reducing the number of Chinese nationals coming to the US. In recent months, there have been several cases of Chinese citizens being arrested and charged or deported from the US for apparent espionage.

China has the highest international student population in the US, with more than 360,000 currently enrolled on a course of study in America. In September, the Trump administration revoked the visas of approximately 1,000 students and researchers who were alleged to have connections with China’s People’s Liberation Army.

The US Department of State had reportedly been voiding visas since June 1 following orders from Trump to tackle intellectual property theft. can help with US employment-based visas

If you would like to apply for a US work visa – including L1 visasE2 visasO1 visas and H1B visas - can help. is a specialist visa services firm with over thirty years of experience dealing with visa applications. We can help with a wide range of visa applications to your country of choice. Contact us for further details.  You can also telephone 0344 991 9222.