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.
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.