The United States Government has said foreign students whose schools will be offering only on-line classes when they resume in September will have to leave the country or face deportation.
A number of universities including Harvard have already said they will be offering only online classes at the start of a new semester in September due to the outbreak of COVID-19.
To avoid deportations, foreign students will have transfer to schools offering in-person classes according to a statement by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), an agency of the US Government.
The ICE in a statement on Monday said, “The Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) announced modifications Monday to temporary exemptions for nonimmigrant students taking online classes due to the pandemic for the fall 2020 semester.
“The U.S. Department of Homeland Security plans to publish the procedures and responsibilities in the Federal Register as a Temporary Final Rule.”
According to the statement, “Nonimmigrant F-1 and M-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 to remain in lawful status. If not, they may face immigration consequences including, but not limited to, the initiation of removal proceedings.”
The ICE said added, “Nonimmigrant students within the United States are not permitted to take a full course of study through online classes. If students find themselves in this situation, they must leave the country or take alternative steps to maintain their nonimmigrant status such as a reduced course load or appropriate medical leave.”