An ‘international student’ is anyone who chooses to continue his/her education outside his/her country of citizenship. If you are planning to study abroad, then you will be called an ‘international student’ once you get into a program. According to the International Institute of Education’s Project Atlas 2017 survey, out of major 16 host nations, the United States is the first choice for international students. However, under Trump’s administration, things were extremely difficult for international students who arrived in the US. Students who arrive from countries that do not have positive relations with the US are the ones to suffer the most. Apart from spending a lot of money, they often get questioned and are victims of xenophobia. Hence, it is essential for you, as an international student, to know your rights.
Rights of international students in the US
The US constitution allows immigrants’ rights, such as international students, to the citizens. However, there are specific additional immigrant laws that you need to follow as an international student. Here are some rights that you need to know as an international student:
- As an international student, you have the absolute right to inquire about their educational service provider’s affiliations and identity.
- You have the right to inquire about the documentation and the application process at the foreign university you are planning to apply to.
- The educational institution you will be studying in as an international student is liable to provide you with a thorough description of the course offerings and the period you have to complete them.
- As an international student, your educational institution should inform you about the total amount you need to pay for an academic year or the entire education program’s cost.
- International students have a right to know why information is being collected from them, whether used by someone who has the right to know and how they can correct errors in these reports.
- The applications and prior learning experiences of an international student should only be evaluated by people who are qualified to do so.
- International students have a right to know whether their course work can be transferred from their host institution to their home institution. The home institution is also liable to inform how much coursework is transferrable, if possible.
- International students have the right to information for services that will cater to their individual needs. These include counseling regarding immigration laws, information about insurance and taxes, and orientation for cultural adjustment to their host institution.
- International students can have their language abilities assessed to assess whether they can understand what is being taught in their host institution.
- International students have a right to know about legal information regarding their enrolment in a foreign university. They are also liable to understand how to maintain their student status.
- All international students have rights over their published works unless they withdraw these rights or are subject to the publishing organization’s policies.
- As an international student, you have the same rights to freedom of speech as an American citizen. Apart from that, you are also subjected to similar limitations when it comes to freedom of action.
- Your immigration status is not dependant on the violation of any law. In case you get convicted or are accused of a crime, you have a right to explain yourself. Your visa is not suspended at that moment itself. Conviction of a single misdemeanor will not result in a student visa suspension unless it is a severe crime.
- As long as you have your student visa, you are legally allowed to stay in the US.
Rules for international students in the US if they want to work
Most of the international students who arrive in the US are on F1 visa. Hence, you can work on a part-time basis in the country. However, you need to follow the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). On-campus employment is the ideal option for you, an international student. You need to maintain your F1 visa and work up to 20 hours per week while your course is going on. However, you can work as a full-time employee during vacations or holidays, as long as you are enrolled for the next academic year.
In case you want to look for off-campus employment opportunities, you need to wait for at least a year after getting enrolled in a program. Moreover, you will need your Employment Authorisation Document (EAD). To receive that, you need to apply to USCIS. It might take up to 90 days for the application to get processed. There are separate rules for students who have completed their course and are still pursuing it.
Is it still worth it to study at a foreign university?
As long as you know your rights, no one can stop you. Everyone has a right to education. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, there has been a slight change in the Trump administration rules. International students are to join for the Spring 2021 semester in person by 1st March 2021. If you arrive after the deadline, you will need to issue an exception from your department or academic institution. You have to follow a two-week quarantine policy to limit your contact to immediate people or due to fundamental reasons.
With the pandemic still going on, circumstances might become more challenging for an international student. However, under Biden’s Administration, people are expecting relaxation in the existing rules. For now, one can only wait and watch. According to the US Department of Commerce, international students contribute around $45 billion to the US economy. If you are paying full tuition and a working visa, you have a right to be in the country.