According to new guidelines from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) released on June 6, 2020, the Trump administration will prohibit International students in F-1 and M-1 visa from taking all their classes online if (1) their college offers a mix of on-campus and remote classes, or (2) their college turns to online only.

Essentially, the rule requires that international students must attend all of their courses in person and are prevented from taking a majority of online classes in 1 semester while studying in the U.S.

Rules Different for F-1 vs M-1

M-1 Visa Students (Non-academic or Vocational/Technical Course) cannot take ANY class online, while F-1 visa students who are in Academic and Language training courses have special exceptions.

F-1 students in the U.S. cannot take a full online course load and remain in the U.S., so they must depart or face possible deportation.

F-1 students outside of the U.S who were planning for Fall semester and have been advised that the program will be online will be prohibited from entering because the U.S. Department of State will not issue visas to students enrolling in schools that are fully online for Fall. In addition,

U.S. Customs and Border will also not permit these students to enter the U.S

Change from Spring Guidelines

This is a complete reversal from the spring semester where international students were allowed to remain in the U.S. to attend online-only classes due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Well the pandemic is still ongoing, with the U.S. having the highest peak, so how is this acceptable?

What about the loss of tuition and other revenue from international students who typically pay full price?

According to Bloomberg news these new U.S. visa rules threaten to Deport 369,000 Chinese Students, especially for students who were planning to attend Harvard or University of Southern Cal which have already said they are going to online only.

In 2019, the total number of international students, was over 1 million and increasing each year and made up 5.5 percent of the total U.S. higher education population. Source: The Institute of International Study.

The U.S. Department of Commerce has shown that international students contributed $44.7 billion to the U.S. economy in 2018, an increase of 5.5 percent from the previous year.

Unfortunately, this is all going to change now and why? Part of the Trump administration’s ongoing attempt to restrict legal and illegal immigration into the U.S.

Who is Affected?

So now, if you are an international student in the U.S., you will have to leave the United States if your college or university switches to online-only classes in the fall because of the coronavirus pandemic or you may face possible deportation.

If you are an international student currently enrolling for fall semester at a college or university that is offering only online courses this fall, you will be barred from entering the U.S.