Sun | Aug 9, 2020

ICE tells students on visas they must leave US if schools go online-only

Published:Monday | July 6, 2020 | 4:52 PM

International students pursuing degrees in the United States will have to leave the country or risk deportation if their universities switch to online-only courses.

This was announced by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) on Monday.

The move may affect thousands of foreign students who come to the United States to attend universities or participate in training programs, as well as non-academic or vocational studies.

Many universities have already began making decisions to transition to online courses as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

At Harvard, 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.

In a release posted to its website, ICE stated that international students on nonimmigrant F-1 and M-1 visas "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 nor will U.S. Customs and Border Protection permit these students to enter the United States."

It suggested that students currently enrolled in the US consider other measures, like transferring to schools with in-person instruction.

'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."

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