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US Won’t Allow Entry Of New International Students For Online-only Classes

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WASHINGTON: The United States’ Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) said the entry of new international students for the upcoming fall semester will not be allowed in the country if their courses are entirely online.

“In accordance with March 2020 guidance, nonimmigrant students in new or initial status after March 9 will not be able to enter the U.S. to enroll in a U.S. school as a nonimmigrant student for the fall term to pursue a full course of study that is 100 percent online,” said the ICE in a release on Friday.

Additionally, designated school officials should not issue a Form I-20 to a nonimmigrant student in new or initial status, who is outside of the U.S. and plans to take classes at an SEVP-certified educational institution fully online, said the ICE.

A guidance issued on March 9, 2020 by the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) has allowed schools and students to engage in distance learning in excess of regulatory limits due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The ICE said on Friday that the guidance applies to continuing F and M non-immigrant students, who were in valid F-1 or M-1 nonimmigrant status on 9th March 92020, including those previously enrolled in entirely online classes who are outside of the United States and seeking to re-enter the country this fall.

As the coronavirus pandemic continues to surge in the US, many universities have announced plans to hold most or all classes online this fall to protect the health and safety of their students and faculty.

SEVP monitors more than one million nonimmigrant students pursuing academic or vocational studies (F and M visa holders) in the U.S. and their dependents. It also certifies schools and programs that enroll these students. The U.S. Department of State monitors exchange visitors (J visa holders) and their dependents and oversees exchange visitor programs.

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