UNITED States immigrant officials recently announced that new foreign students will not be allowed to obtain visas to the United States if their courses are completely online this coming fall semester.
The clarification on Friday, July 24 from the Student and Exchange Visitor Program comes after the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) previously retracted from its previous memo restricting all international students from staying or coming back to the country if their universities moved to all virtual classes.
If an international student was not enrolled in a U.S. educational institution as of March 9 and are intending to pursue courses online, he or she “will likely not be able to obtain” a visa to study in the country.
Further, a student on a visa who has been enrolled as of that March date but left the country “likely remains eligible for a visa since the March 2020 guidance permitted a full online course of study from inside the United States or from abroad.”
The memo also said that students seeking a visa if their school is offering a hybrid program — meaning a mix of online and in-person course — will be subject to approval from the U.S. Department of State.
“However, per the March 2020 guidance, nonimmigrant students seeking to enroll in a program of study that includes in-person and online components beyond the limitations…are able to maintain F-1 or M-1 nonimmigrant status if pursuing such programs during the fall 2020 school term,” it read.
Several colleges and universities, as well as technology companies and 20 state attorneys, previously filed lawsuits after ICE announced non-immigrant international students would have to leave the U.S. or take “other measures” like transferring to a university with in-person instruction.
More than 1 million university students in the U.S. come from overseas, according to the Institute of International Education (IIE).
Data released by Open Doors last December revealed that 3,320 international students enrolled in the U.S. in 2019 were Filipino. (AJPress)