F-1 Students Barred From Remaining In, Entering US If University Moves Online For Fall Semester, Says ICE
F-1 students at universities holding classes online this coming semester will be forced to leave the United States according to an announcement by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Those not currently in the country will not be allowed reentry. Students may stay in the country if they transfer to a school that is providing in-person and online courses (i.e. a hybrid-model), but with many universities announcing their intent to move fully online this fall, that strategy may be much more difficult to achieve.
The guidance does not impact students who have completed their degrees and working pursuant to F-1 OPT or F-1 STEM OPT. F-1 students currently still enrolled in school but in F-1 CPT should reach out to their DSO. They may be impacted by the new guidance, if the school is moving entirely online.
If the school is operating in a hybrid model, F-1 student can take more than 1 class online. School will need to issue new I-20, and certify:
- 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.
If you are in F-1 status, reach out to your DSO about the fall semester.