“The U.S. Department of State will not issue visas to students enrolled in schools and/or programs that are fully online for the fall semester nor will U.S. Customs and Border Protection permit these students to enter the United States.”
US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)
(CMR) International students studying in the United States will be subjected to a deportation order if their university switches to on-line only courses during the COVID-19 pandemic the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced Monday.
And for students enrolled in schools that have already announced plans to operate fully online, there is no choice. Under the new rules, the State Department will not issue them visas, and U.S. Customs and Border Protection will not allow them to enter the country.
In a news release Monday,
ICE said that students who fall under certain visas “may not take a full online course load and remain in the United States. The agency has suggested international students switch to schools that offer in-person classes.
The agency said affected students on F-1 and M-1 visas in the US could transfer to a school offering in-person classes to maintain their legal status. Otherwise, they risk being put in deportation proceedings.
Under existing federal regulations, students on F-1 visas may take a maximum of one class or three credit hours online. F-1 students in English-language training programs and those on M-1 visas, used for those in vocational programs, are not allowed to enroll in any online classes.
The above exemptions do not apply to F-1 students in English language training programs or M-1 students, who are not permitted to enroll in any online courses.
The Department of Homeland Security's Student and Exchange Visitor Program previously instituted a temporary exception for online classes in the spring and summer semesters in response to schools going online because of COVID-19.
However, many American universities are moving entirely to online platforms as the management of COVID-19 continues to falter and the country reaches new record infections daily.
The agency suggested that students currently enrolled in the US consider other measures, like transferring to schools with in-person instruction. There's an exception for universities using a hybrid model, such as a mix of online and in-person classes.
At Harvard, for example, all course instruction will be delivered online, including for students living on campus. For international students, that opens the door to them having to leave the US. Some students are from countries with closed borders and no options to travel back home.
There's an exception for universities using a hybrid model, such as a mix of online and in-person classes.
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