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Jul 27, 2020

The Student and Exchange Visitor Program Announces that New Foreign Students Can Not Take Online-Only Courses and Reside in the United States

Emily M. Cohen

On Friday July, 24 the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) once again made an announcement regarding the temporary exemptions for nonimmigrant students taking online courses during the Fall 2020 semester. The March guidelines remain in place for nonimmigrant students who were actively enrolled at a U.S. school on or prior to March 9, 2020. However, nonimmigrant students in new or initial status after March 9th will not be able to enter the United States or enroll in a U.S. school for the fall term if the full course of study is 100% online.

  • School officials may not issue Form I-20 to an international student in new or initial status who is outside of the U.S. and plans to take a fully online course load.
  • Students enrolled in programs that are 100% online may take classes from their home country
  • In an FAQ document ICE states that newly enrolled international students who are already in the U.S. may stay in the countryand follow the guidelines for F and M students set forth by their school.
  • Deferment is as an alternative for new students who cannot travel to the U.S. due to modified school operations.

The Chronicle for Higher Education states that about 12% of the 1,250 colleges they are tracking are planning for online-only classes compared to 50% planning to operate in person. While we hope that the impact of this latest news is minimal on international students looking to come the United States for their education, we understand that this is a very stressful and confusing time. Should you have any questions or concerns about this latest announcement please do not hesitate toreach out to our Office for further guidance and support.

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