INS Issues New Interim and Proposed Regulations for Visitors and Students

On April 12, 2002, the Immigration and Naturalization Service issued an interim regulation and a proposed regulation regarding students and visitors.  The interim regulation students is effective as of the date of publication, April 12, 2002, and the proposed regulation regarding visitors will be subject to notice and comment rulemaking prior to becoming a final rule.

Interim Regulation Requiring Change of Status from Visitor (B-1/B-2) to Student (F-1 or M-1) Prior to Pursuing Course of Study.  The interim regulation eliminated a rule allowing a visitor for business or pleasure to begin attending school prior to INS approving a change of status to student.  Effective as of April 12, 2002:

  • B-1/B-2 visitors must first apply for and obtain INS approval of a request to change status to an F or M student prior to attending school.

  • B-1/B-2 visitors admitted or who extend their stay after April 12, 2002 are prohibited from enrolling in a course of study after April 12, unless they have notified the INS upon their initial entry of their intent to begin a course of study in the U.S.  The INS officer will make a notation regarding the visitorís intent to study on the visitorís I-94 (arrival/departure record).

  • The rule does not apply to individuals admitted to the U.S. prior to April 12, 2002, except that the rule does apply to individuals who arrived prior to April 12, 2002 and change their status to B-1/B-2 after that date. Thus, B-1/B-2 visitors who are currently studying and who arrived prior to April 12, 2002 do not have to stop taking classes while the INS processes their request for change of status to F or M student status.

  • The rule applies to B visitors who apply for an extension of their B nonimmigrant status on or after April 12, 2002

  •  Proposed Regulation Limiting the Period of Admission for B Nonimmigrant Aliens

The INS has also proposed to amend its regulations concerning visitors, as follows:

  • INS proposes to eliminate the minimum admission period of B-2 visitors for pleasure.  Thus, visitors for pleasure will no longer presumptively qualify for a six-month stay upon admission to the U.S.

  • INS officers at the port of entry will determine the minimum length of stay based on what is fair and reasonable for the completion of the purpose of the visit.  Thus, INS officers will utilize their discretion in determining the period of authorized stay in the U.S.

  • The burden rests with the arriving visitor to explain the precise nature and purpose of the visit.  Thus, people from other countries will need to have sufficient communication skills to make their purpose known to the inspecting INS officer.

  • The preamble to the proposed rule states that it is reasonable to expect that most

  • B-1/B-2 visitors will depart the U.S. within 30 days.  When an INS officer is unable to determine a fair and reasonable period of admission, INS will grant a 30-day period of admission.

  • INS proposes to reduce the maximum admission period of B-1 (business visitors) and B-2 (visitors for pleasure) from one year to six months.  Thus B-1/B-2 visitors will have a harder time extending their stay in the U.S.

  • The proposed rule restates current policy providing that an individual requesting an extension of stay bears the burden of proving adequate financial resources to continue the stay and maintenance of a residence of abroad.

Those interested may submit comments to the INS regarding the proposed regulation.  Comments are due by May 13, 2002.  Send comments to Director, Regulations and Forms Services Division, Immigration and Naturalization Service, 425 I Street, N.W., Room 4034, Washington, D.C. 20536.  Reference INS No. 2176-01 on your correspondence.  INS will review the comments and publish a final rule at a later date.


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