Today, Monday July 6, 2020 SEVP (student exchange visitor program) announced its modifying its requirements for foreign F and M students to study in the USA for the fall semester.
Previously, SEVP instituted a temporary exemption regarding the online study policy for the spring and summer semesters due to Covid-19. This policy permitted F and M students to take more online courses than normally allowed for purposes of maintaining a full course of study to maintain their F-1 and M-1 nonimmigrant status during the COVID-19.
1) Students attending schools operating entirely online may not take a full online course load and remain in the United States. The U.S. Department of State will not issue visas to students enrolled in schools and/or programs that are fully online for the fall semester nor will U.S. Customs and Border Protection permit these students to enter the United States.
Active students currently in the United States enrolled in such programs must depart the country or take other measures, such as transferring to a school with in-person instruction, take a leave of absence for no more than 5 months or request a reduced course load to remain in lawful status or potentially face immigration consequences including, but not limited to, the initiation of removal proceedings.
2) Students attending schools operating under normal in-person classes are bound by existing federal regulations. Eligible F students may take a maximum of one class or three credit hours online (see 8 CFR 214.2(f)(6)(i)(G)).
3) Students attending schools adopting a hybrid model—that is, a mixture of online and in person classes—will be allowed to take more than one class or three credit hours online. These schools must certify to SEVP, through the Form I-20, “Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status,” that the program is not entirely online, that the student is not taking an entirely online course load for the fall 2020 semester, and that the student is taking the minimum number of online classes required to make normal progress in their degree program.
The above exemptions do not apply to F-1 students in English language training programs or M-1 students, who are not permitted to enroll in any online courses (see 8 CFR 214.2(f)(6)(i)(G) and 8 CFR 214.2(m)(9)(v))
For all students attending schools in the United States this fall 2020, designated school officials (DSOs) must issue new Forms I-20 to each student certifying that the school is not operating entirely online, that the student is not taking an entirely online course load for the fall 2020 semester, and that the student is taking the minimum number of online classes required to make normal progress in their degree program.
DSOs must indicate this information in the Form I-20 Remarks field in the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS).
We will update you as more information becomes available.
Pollak PLLC specializes in helping the best and brightest individuals work in the US though through immigrant and non-immigrant visas. To learn more about Pollak PLLC, please visit www.pollakimmigration.com.