Image of a woman applying for an F-1 student visa.

F-1 Student Visa Trends 2021

In the United States, an average of over 300,000 student visas are issued to non-US citizens. If you’re thinking about entering the U.S. on a student visa—commonly referred to as an F-1 visa—two recent factors have greatly impacted the number of F-1 visas issued. 

The first change that has impacted student visa issuances is the result of a new Presidential administration. 

The immigration system was altered drastically Under the administration of former President Donald Trump, including rules limiting student visas. 

According to Harvard University, the number of non-immigrant F-1 visas issued to students looking to study in the US declined by more than 23 percent between 2016 and 2018. Despite the stricter rules governing F-1 visas, in 2019, US colleges and universities enrolled more than one million international students, according to Voice of America

The second factor that has impacted the ability of non-American citizens to enter the U.S. on a student visa has been the coronavirus pandemic. 

In October 2020, the Trump administration announced plans to protect American workers, including limiting the number of H-1B visas, which are issued to skilled workers such as engineers. Many people who are issued F-1 visas apply for H1-B visas as a path to remain in the United States and be gainfully employed. 

Under the current administration of President Joseph Biden, some rules for international students have relaxed. For instance, the Biden administration formally withdrew a Trump administration proposed rule that would have required foreign students to reapply for a student visa after a fixed term of up to four years. 

Prior to the Trump presidency, international students issued F-1 visas could remain in the U.S, provided they remained enrolled in college and were otherwise in compliance with the requirements governing their visa status.

Despite the seemingly gentler tone of the Biden Administration to international students, the pandemic has made the logistics of issuing student visas challenging. 

“With regional Covid-19 bans still in place and many U.S. consulates either not operating or working in a limited capacity, visa backlogs … will continue to mount until the State Department commits to new policies,” said a Forbes article from June 2021. 

The logistical challenges of applying for an F-1 visa because of the pandemic notwithstanding, Forbes cites research by the National Foundation for American Policy,  which found that under the Biden Administration, an international student may be 54% more likely to be issued an H-1B petition than under the Trump Administration. Under the Trump Administration, regulations were proposed that would have ended the lottery system for skilled workers. 

If you are thinking about applying for a student visa and want help navigating the overwhelming U.S. immigration system, the best thing to do is contact an immigration attorney at Attorney At Law

At AAL, our network of skilled immigration attorneys will help guide you through the confusing process of applying for an F-1 visa and discuss all the rules pertaining to student visa compliance. 

Some international students make the costly mistake of overstaying their visa while others may be misinformed that being granted an F-1 visa is the same thing as a green card. Securing the help of an AAL immigration attorney means you will understand every rule, including the most recent changes to student visa immigration law. 

Don’t wait. Contact AAL today for a free, no obligation consultation and begin your journey to citizenship.

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