On Monday evening, the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) issued a statement saying that non-immigrant F-1 and M-1 students attending fully online schools cannot take a full course load in line and stay in the United States.
The United States will also not issue visas to students whose colleges offer full online courses from the end of this year.
What the rulebook says:
- Non-immigrant F-1 and M-1 students attending schools that operate entirely online may not take a full load of online courses and remain in the United States. Visas will not be issued to students enrolled in fully online schools and / or programs for the fall semester and the United States will not allow such students to enter the country.
- Students currently active in the United States enrolled in such programs must leave the country or take other steps, such as transfer to a school with in-person instructions to maintain their legal status. Otherwise, they may face immigration consequences including, but not limited to, the initiation of removal proceedings.
- Non-immigrant F-1 students attending schools operating as regular in-person classes are bound by applicable federal regulations. Eligible F students can take a maximum of one course or three credit hours online.
- Non-immigrant F-1 students attending schools that adopt a hybrid model – a mix of online and in-person courses – will be allowed to take more than one course or three credit hours online. These schools must certify to SEVP, via form I-20, “Certificate of eligibility for non-immigrant student status”, certifying that the program is not fully online, that the student is not taking a charge. of fully online courses this semester, and that the student takes the minimum number of online courses required to progress normally in their study program.
- The above exemptions do not apply to F-1 students in English-language training programs or to M-1 students pursuing professional degrees, who are not permitted to enroll in online courses.
- Schools must update their information in the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) within 10 days of the change if they start the fall semester with in-person classes, but are then held switch only to online courses or to a non-immigrant student. changes their course selections and, as a result, ends up taking a fully online course load.
- Non-immigrant students in the United States are not permitted to complete a full degree program through online courses. If students find themselves in this situation, they should either leave the country or take alternative measures to maintain their non-immigrant status, such as reduced course load or appropriate sick leave.
Harvard is one of the first universities to completely shift to online education until a vaccine is found to fight the coronavirus. Students, even those on campus, will need to take distance learning courses.
Foreigners make up about 5.5% of students enrolled in U.S. colleges and contributed over $ 41 billion to the U.S. in fiscal year 2019. India sent over 2 lakh students to the U.S. United in fiscal 2019, the largest after China.
ICE has threatened that students who do not comply with the new search rules for a college offering in-person education could be expelled from the country.