© 2024 Western New York Public Broadcasting Association

140 Lower Terrace
Buffalo, NY 14202

Mailing Address:
Horizons Plaza P.O. Box 1263
Buffalo, NY 14240-1263

Buffalo Toronto Public Media | Phone 716-845-7000
WBFO Newsroom | Phone: 716-845-7040
Your NPR Station
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

New INS Requirement Affects UB International Students

By Eileen Buckley

Buffalo, NY – The Immigration and Naturalization Service is continuing its effort to enhance homeland security. A new INS ruling says foreign students wishing to study in America must apply for a student visa before starting classes.

At the University at Buffalo's International Admissions office, assistant director, Elizabeth White, helps foreign students apply to UB. There are about 2,800 international students, and almost all have F-1 student visas. White says in the past students could enroll while on a "tourist visa." But now that will change. White says the INS wants students on F-1 status when enrolling.

"But now we, in the admissions end, are going to have to advise students differently, and prepare them up front for the fact they might not have that window where they could start taking classes first and then change their visa status," White explained. "Now it is going to have to happen all before hand."

At UB's International Student Services, director Ellen Dousord says they are seeing changes on a weekly basis of what international students in the US can and cannot do.

Dousord says a significant change is for individuals on a non-immigrant visa. In the past, they would be allowed to travel to "continuous territories" like Canada, and return with an expired visa. But now the INS ruled that non-immigrates from seven counties that the US considers sponsors of terrorism can no longer travel to Canada and return unless a visa is valid. Dousord says that directly effects UB international students.

"Students at UB who are from, for example, Syria, Iran or Iraq can no longer travel to Toronto and come back unless their visa is valid," Dousord said.

Dousord says almost all international students apply for F-1 visas before coming to the US.