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Report: Thousands of International Students Overstay Their US Visas

About 40,000 student and exchange visitors overstayed their visas last year, the largest group of visitors who failed to leave the U.S. on time, according to a Department of Homeland Security report.

The Entry/Exit Overstay Report tallies individuals from around the world who were supposed to leave between Oct. 1, 2015 and Sept. 30, 2016. It found that 629,000 visitors out of 50 million visitors did not leave by the time their visas expired.

Among the countries with the highest percentages of student and exchange visitor overstays were Eritrea (75 percent), Burkina Faso (47 percent), Chad (37 percent), Congo-Kinshasa (37 percent), and Djibouti (33 percent).

Those countries with the largest numbers of student and exchange visitors who failed to leave at the end of their programs, however, were China (18,075), South Korea (5,111), Saudi Arabia (6,828), India (4,575), and Brazil (2,881).

DHS relies on biographic information from passenger manifests to document departures, but it has begun pilot programs to collect biometric data, like fingerprints, as people leave the country.

Most students in the U.S. are issued an F, M or J visa. They allow for academic or vocational study, or in the case of the J visa, four months of summer work and travel.

The data was released a day ahead of a Congressional committee hearing on visa overstays, scheduled for Tuesday, May 23.