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UNITED STATES | Non-immigrant students taking only online courses in September must exit the US

Featured UNITED  STATES | Non-immigrant students taking only online courses in September must exit the US
WASHINGTON – July 6, 2020 - Students from the Caribbean who study in the United States could be affected by  today’s announcement by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement that international students “may not take a full online course load and remain in the United States” during the fall 2020 semester, as schools and universities across the country consider how to reopen amid the coronavirus pandemic.

According to the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) it has made temporary exemptions for non-immigrant students taking online classes due to the pandemic for the fall 2020 semester.

Temporary exemptions for the fall 2020 semester include:

  • Non-immigrant F-1 and M-1 students attending schools operating entirely online may not take a full online course load and remain in the United States. 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.
  • Active students currently in the United States enrolled in such programs must depart the country or take other measures, such as transferring to a school with in-person instruction to remain in lawful status. If not, they may face immigration consequences including, but not limited to, the initiation of removal proceedings.
  • Non-immigrant F-1 students attending schools operating under normal in-person classes are bound by existing federal regulations. Eligible F students may take a maximum of one class or three credit hours online.
  • Non-immigrant F-1 students attending schools adopting a hybrid model—that is, a mixture of online and in person classes—will be allowed to take more than one class or three credit hours online.
  • These schools must certify to SEVP, through the Form I-20, “Certificate of Eligibility for Non-immigrant Student Status,” certifying that the program is not entirely online, that the student is not taking an entirely online course load this semester, and that the student is taking the minimum number of online classes required to make normal progress in their degree program.
  • The above exemptions do not apply to F-1 students in English language training programs or M-1 students pursing vocational degrees, who are not permitted to enroll in any online courses.
  • Schools should update their information in the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) within 10 days of the change if they begin the fall semester with in-person classes but are later required to switch to only online classes, or a non-immigrant student changes their course selections, and as a result, ends up taking an entirely online course load.
  • Non-immigrant students within the United States are not permitted to take a full course of study through online classes. If students find themselves in this situation, they must leave the country or take alternative steps to maintain their non-immigrant status such as a reduced course load or appropriate medical leave.

Due to COVID-19, SEVP instituted a temporary exemption regarding online courses for the spring and summer semesters. This policy permitted non-immigrant students to take more online courses than normally permitted by federal regulation to maintain their non-immigrant status during the COVID-19 emergency.

F-1 non-immigrant students pursue academic coursework and M-1 non-immigrant students pursue vocational coursework while studying in the United States.

According to the Institute of International Education and U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, the number of international students the U.S. during the 2018-2019 academic year totalled 1,095,299.

This is part of the Trump administration’s lockdown on immigration, and immigrants benefitting from either work or education in the United States, this includes halting new green cards from being issued for most immigrants and suspending H-1B and other work visas through the end of the year.

The Trump administration has not only been pushing to reopen the economy in many states. They have also been adamant that despite the ongoing pandemic schools should also reopen with   Donald Trump tweeting  Monday, “SCHOOLS MUST OPEN IN THE FALL!!!”

Last modified onMonday, 06 July 2020 21:20
  • Countries: United_States
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