Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., and Rep. Lori Trahan, D-Mass., have introduced a bill that would allow international college athletes to market their Name, Image and Likeness without losing their F-1 student visa status.

Key Points:

  • Most international student athletes are in the United States on F-1 student visas, which permit work only in limited circumstances, with “work” generally equated with earning money from a U.S. source.
  • Current regulations do not address the difficulty foreign students have in using their NIL to earn money; there are some workarounds, such as conducting NIL activities outside of the U.S. or applying for a different visa type, but they can be logistically difficult and costly.
  • Murphy and Trahan’s legislation aims to ensure that international student athletes can market their NIL in the same manner as their U.S. peers without losing their F-1 status, including in the case that athletes become employees of their schools and/or athletic associations.

Additional Information: In 2021, the National Collegiate Athletics Association adopted an NIL policy that allows student athletes to engage in NIL activities — such as product endorsements, personal appearances, autographs or social media posts — consistent with the laws in their schools’ states. Murphy and Trahan have introduced NIL legislation before, but this is the first time it has included provisions for foreign student athletes. The push for rules that would allow foreign student athletes to take advantage of this NIL policy in the same manner as U.S. athletes has gained some traction, but so far Congress has not passed meaningful legislation on the issue.

This alert has been provided by the BAL U.S. Practice Group. For additional information, please contact

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