Immigration & Customs Enforcement Rescinds Last Weeks Order : Online Classes during the Covid Crisis for F1 and M1 students will continue!
Dev B. Viswanath, Esq.
The Trump Administration and US ICE have made an immediate reversal on the order that they put forth last week saying that students would not be able to continue with online classes in the fall of 2020, if they were on F1 or M1 students visas. After a barrage of law suits that immediately followed, the agency has determined that their current covid crisis policy of allowing Students who are in F1 or M1 Student status and enrolled at a school which is now conducting strictly online courses, will continue.
Due to COVID-19, SEVP instituted a temporary exemption regarding online courses for the spring and summer semesters. This policy permitted nonimmigrant students to take more online courses than normally permitted by federal regulation to maintain their nonimmigrant status during the COVID-19 emergency. The previous position put into place as exemptions from the general rule that students could not attend full time online classes and maintain status during the Covid pandemic.
Normally a typical F-1 student who was enrolled in a proper full time academic in person school could take up to one class or three credit hours online. That methodology has been suspended during the crisis.
Nonimmigrant F-1 and M-1 student will be able to continue with their schools who have continued to implement online or alternative courses. As long as the School notified SEVP of this change within 10 days of implementation, ICE will allow for the adjustment and the student will be considered in status.
If a student left the United States during the crises and has been maintaining the classes through online courses, they will be allowed to reenter the US on their F1 student visas. The School would have been obligated to make sure that SEVP was notified of the continued classes within 10 days of implementation.
If you or a loved one are in a predicament of finding your school is doing online only classes, please discuss your options with a trained and knowledgeable Immigration Attorney.