COVID-19: US to withdraw visas for foreign students whose classes move online Â
Washington: Amid COVID-19 crisis, the United States government on Monday said it would not allow foreign students to remain in the country in case their classes have been shifted online.
"Nonimmigrant 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 US Immigration and Custom Enforcement said in a statement.
"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," the US Immigration and Custom Enforcement said in a statement.
"If not, they may face immigration consequences including, but not limited to, the initiation of removal proceedings," it said.
Nonimmigrant 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.
"Nonimmigrant 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," read the statement.
"These schools must certify to SEVP, through the Form I-20, 'Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant 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," read the statement.
"Nonimmigrant 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 nonimmigrant status such as a reduced course load or appropriate medical leave," read the statement further.