US Immigration News

F-1 and M-1 Changes for International Students to Help During the Pandemic

2 minute read
"After prestigious universities like Harvard and MIT filed lawsuits against the Trump administration, on July 14, 2020, it was announced that international students would no longer be required to attend in-person classes to maintain their status in the country. The Department of State (DHS) and the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) allowed this exception due to the Covid-19 pandemic."
Written by My Visa Source Team
Published on:  Jul 4, 2021
young students with different ethnicities posing behind an us flag my visa source
Begin your immigration journey now
Click and fill out a free online assessment to see how we can help you. It takes less than 1 minute to fill out.
Free Assessment
Call and speak to our team, so that they can book a time with a licensed immigration professional who will answer all your questions.
Call Us Now
Recommended For You
Author info:

After prestigious universities like Harvard and MIT filed lawsuits against the Trump administration, on July 14, 2020, it was announced that international students would no longer be required to attend in-person classes to maintain their status in the country. The Department of State (DHS) and the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) allowed this exception due to the Covid-19 pandemic. 

These temporary exemptions were announced in the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) for nonimmigrant students on F-1 and M-1 visas

What do these Temporary Exemptions Include for Nonimmigrant Students?

These exemptions will be valid for the fall semester of 2020. The exemption will not require students to attend in-person classes or full-time classes. The following conditions will also be temporarily exempted for the fall semester in 2020:

  1. F-1 and M-1 students attending schools operating all courses online must not be issued a visa or allowed to enter. If they are active students already in the US then they must depart the country or take other measures such as transferring to another program, or they may be subjected to immigration consequences.
  2. Nonimmigrant F-1 students are bound by federal regulations to attend normal in-person classes and can only take a maximum of 1 to 3 credit hours online.
  3. If a person is adopting both online and offline methods of attending classes, then they can attend more than 1 to 3 credit hours online. They will be required to obtain a “Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status” from their university that states that their study program is not 100% online and they are taking the minimum number of credit hours online.

These above-mentioned exemptions do not apply to: F-1 students in language training programs or M-1 students pursuing vocational degrees who are not allowed to enroll in online courses.

Universities and learning institutions are required to update their information in the Students and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) within 10 days if they plan to start with online courses and then later switch to in-person courses or vice versa.

This is to ensure that the nonimmigrant student does not complete 100% of their course online. These exemptions will normally allow students to take more online classes than they normally do. However, if such a situation arises that they are required to take their full course online, then they must take alternative steps to maintain their status in the US. 

Questions About Immigration? My Visa Source Has Answers.
My Visa Source stays updated on all immigration news and announcements across Canada and the United States, including sudden changes in government law. Our legal solutions help individuals, families, businesses and investors from North America and around the globe.
Get The Personalized Help That You Need and Deserve!
Securing personalized legal help is quick and simple. Begin with our one-minute online immigration assessment form or call us toll-free at 1-888-509-1987. Book a personal consultation to speak with an award-winning immigration lawyer either in person, over the telephone, or through a video conference. We're open 6am-9pm PST & EST, 7 days a week and are ready for in person, phone, and video consultations.
US Flag
Latest Articles from Immigration Magazine