New students can enter US 4 months before classes.
In a major relief in the visa regime for students, the US on Wednesday ruled students can enter the country 120 days before the start of their classes.
So far, students were issued US visas 90 days before the start of classes. The State Department said the new rules apply to students applying for the initial-entry F-1 (academic student), F-2 (spouse or child of F-1), M-1 (vocational training) and M-2 (spouse or child of M-1) visas. J-1 and J-2 visitors may be issued visas at any time before the beginning of their programmes.
Continuing students may apply for new F or M visas at any time, as long as they have maintained their student status and their Student and Exchange Visitor Information (SEVIS) records are current, it said.
The measure is part of the Rice-Chertoff joint vision for secure borders and open doors in the information age, a plan to welcome visitors to the US without compromising security.