International student visas now subject to stricter scrutiny by US Customs agents

May 6, 2013

Last week the US Homeland Security Department ordered border agents to verify that every international student who arrives in the country has a valid student visa. The new procedure is the government’s first security change directly related to the Boston bombings. The order was circulated last Thursday, one day after the Obama administration acknowledged that a student from Kazakhstan accused of hiding evidence for one of the Boston bombing suspects was allowed to return to the US in January without a valid student visa. Under the new procedures, border agents will verify a student's visa status before the person arrives in the US using information provided in flight manifests. If that information is not available, border agents will check the visa status manually with the agency's national targeting data center. While it is still unclear what impact the new procedures will have on wait times at airports and borders, a spokesperson for the Canadian Federation of Students said they aren’t expected to impact Canadians studying in the US as those students can still enter the country by showing their passport. Associated Press | CTV News