POLITICS

No worries for Canadian students in US international study visa crackdown: group

05/03/2013 05:27 EDT | Updated 07/03/2013 05:12 EDT
OTTAWA - A major student group says the U.S. government's move to tighten border checks of international study visas is not expected to impact Canadians studying south of the border.

U.S. Homeland Security Department has ordered border agents to verify that every international student who arrives in the U.S. has a valid student visa.

The new rule comes days after U.S. authorities acknowledged that a student from Kazakhstan accused of hiding evidence for one of the Boston bombing suspects was allowed to return to the U.S. in January without a valid student visa.

Jessica McCormick with the Canadian Federation of Students says though an international student visa is needed for Canadians studying in the U.S., they can still get into the country by showing their passport.

Under the new procedures, border agents will verify a student's visa status before the person arrives in the U.S. using information provided in flight manifests.

If that information is unavailable, border agents will check the visa status manually with the agency's national targeting data centre.

It is unclear what impact the new procedure will have on wait times at U.S. airports and borders.

But a Buffalo, N.Y., college has advised student-visa holders from Canada to add two hours to their daily commute. In an email sent to D'Youville College students, staff and faculty, International Student Office Director Laryssa S. Petryshyn said the security change "is causing and will cause numerous delays for all international students entering the United States."

With files from The Associated Press